The Eternal Idol

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This article is about the Black Sabbath Album. For other uses, see The Eternal Idol (disambiguation).
The Eternal Idol
Studio album by Black Sabbath
Released 1 November 1987
Recorded Air Studios, Montserrat,
Air Studios and Battery Studios, London, England, October 1986 – March 1987
Genre Heavy metal
Length 42:42
Label Vertigo
Warner Bros. (US/Canada)
Producer Jeff Glixman, Vic Coppersmith-Heaven, Chris Tsangarides
Black Sabbath chronology
Seventh Star
(1986)
The Eternal Idol
(1987)
Headless Cross
(1989)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[2]
Classic Rock 4/10 stars[3]
Martin Popoff 10/10 stars[4]

The Eternal Idol is the thirteenth studio album by Black Sabbath, released in December 1987. It is the first Black Sabbath album to feature vocalist Tony Martin. It spent six weeks on the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at 168.[5] It was also the last full album of new material by Black Sabbath to be released by Warner Bros. Records (in North America).

Album information[edit]

The album cover was intended to feature a picture of an Auguste Rodin sculpture from 1889 – also called "The Eternal Idol"; however, the album cover actually features two naked models covered in paint and positioned to resemble the piece of art because permission to photograph the actual sculpture could not be secured. Despite the sleeve credits, which cites Dave Spitz as bass player, all bass parts were completed by Bob Daisley, and Eric Singer completed all drum parts. The percussion credit to Bev Bevan relates to a few cymbal overdubs on "Scarlet Pimpernel".[6]

The album was originally to be recorded with Spitz and vocalist Ray Gillen. The first was replaced by bassist/lyricist Bob Daisley during the initial sessions on Montserrat with producer Jeff Glixman, and the second quit shortly after their return in England.[7] He later joined the band Blue Murder.[7] Tony Martin was hired and reconstructed the vocals under the guidance of Chris Tsangarides at Battery Studios shortly before production ended.[7] Most tracks were written by Tony Iommi and Bob Daisley (the vinyl version states that all songs were written by Iommi[8]), although some lyrics were subsequently modified by Geoff Nicholls. Tony Martin said he "only sang on, and had no part in writing" The Eternal Idol, but nonetheless "thought [it] was one of the better albums of the band."[9]

Drummer Bev Bevan and original Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler were hired to return for the 1987 tour in support of the album, effectively reinstating the Born Again tour line-up (with Martin in the vocalist spot rather than Ian Gillan). Butler backed out, however, upon learning that Sabbath had dates booked in South Africa, forcing Nicholls to bass for a few shows and eventually leading to the hiring of Jo Burt. Bevan would subsequently depart as well, replaced by former The Clash drummer Terry Chimes, who appears in the music video for "The Shining".

"I'd like to have seen some of the stuff off The Eternal Idol be a bit more credited," Iommi reflected to Sabbath fanzine Southern Cross, "because I think there's some good tracks on that album – 'Ancient Warrior'…"[10]

There is a 3-minute and fifteen second studio outtake titled "Some Kind of Woman", which was written by Tony Martin shortly after joining the band. It was offered as a B-side to "The Shining" single and an early version of "Black Moon", which was released on Headless Cross, was released as a B-Side to the "Eternal Idol" single.

The album was re-released on 1 November 2010 in Europe in a 2-disc expanded set. Bonus content includes the aforementioned B-sides "Some Kind of Woman" and "Black Moon" on disc 1, while disc 2 contains the session for the album recorded with Ray Gillen on vocals.[11][12]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
  1. "The Shining" – 6:00
  2. "Ancient Warrior" – 5:28
  3. "Hard Life to Love" – 5:00
  4. "Glory Ride" – 4:49
Side two
  1. "Born to Lose" – 3:43
  2. "Nightmare" – 5:19
  3. "Scarlet Pimpernel" (Instrumental) – 2:05
  4. "Lost Forever" – 4:03
  5. "Eternal Idol" – 6:33
2010 Deluxe Edition Disc 1 bonus tracks
  1. "Black Moon" (Single B-side)
  2. "Some Kind of Woman" (Single B-side)

2010 Deluxe Edition Disc 2[edit]

This is the album session recorded with Ray Gillen performing vocals for the songs

  1. "Glory Ride"
  2. "Born to Lose"
  3. "Lost Forever"
  4. "Eternal Idol"
  5. "The Shining"
  6. "Hard Life to Love"
  7. "Nightmare"
  8. "Ancient Warrior"

Personnel[edit]

Black Sabbath

Additional musicians

  • Bev Bevan – percussion (cymbal overdubs on "Scarlet Pimpernel" and "Eternal Idol")
  • Ray Gillen – lead vocals (only on 2010 Deluxe Edition Disc 2)
Production

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
United Kingdom 1 November 1987 Vertigo Records
United States 8 December 1987 Warner Bros. Records
Canada 1987 Warner Bros. Records
United Kingdom April 1996 Castle Communications
United Kingdom 25 October 2004 Sanctuary Records
United Kingdom 16 November 2010 (2 CD) Sanctuary Records/Universal Music Group

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "The Eternal Idol – Black Sabbath". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Black Sabbath: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Elliott, Paul (January 2011). "Black Sabbath – Reissues". Classic Rock 153. London, UK: Future plc. p. 112. 
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5. 
  5. ^ "The Eternal Idol album info". Billboard. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Sharpe-Young, Garry (1 September 2003). "10". Black Sabbath: Never Say Die! 1979–1997. London, UK: Cherry Red Books. ISBN 978-1901447163. 
  7. ^ a b c Hugh, Gilmour (1996). The Eternal Idol (CD Booklet). Black Sabbath. England: Castle Communications ESM CD 336. p. 9. 
  8. ^ "Discogs link". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Southern Cross No.10, May 1993
  10. ^ Southern Cross, No.19, March 1997
  11. ^ "Black Sabbath News". Black-sabbath.com. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  12. ^ Siegler, Joe (15 September 2010). "Black-Sabbath.com, Ray Gillen Eternal Idol to be released – FOR REAL!". Black-sabbath.com. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 

External links[edit]