The Eternal Idol

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Eternal Idol
Black Sabbath The Eternal Idol.jpg
Studio album by
Released1 November 1987 (UK)[1] 8 December 1987 (USA)
RecordedOctober 1986–March 1987
StudioAir Studios, Montserrat
Air Studios and Battery Studios, London, England
GenreHeavy metal
Warner Bros. (US/Canada)
ProducerJeff Glixman, Vic Coppersmith-Heaven, Chris Tsangarides
Black Sabbath chronology
Seventh Star
The Eternal Idol
Headless Cross
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[3]
Classic Rock4/10[4]
Martin Popoff10/10[5]

The Eternal Idol is the 13th studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released on November 1, 1987(UK) and December 8, 1987(USA). It is the first Black Sabbath album to feature vocalist Tony Martin. It spent six weeks on the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at 168.[6] It was also the last full album of new material by Black Sabbath to be released by Warner Bros. Records (in North America), and the final album through their original label Vertigo Records until the release of 13 in 2013.

Album information[edit]

The album cover features two models in bronze paint re-enacting Auguste Rodin's 1889 sculpture "The Eternal Idol". Due to the paint's toxicity, the models were hospitalized after the shoot. A photograph of the original sculpture was intended as the cover art, but permission could not be secured.[7]

The sleeve credits Dave Spitz as bass player, but all bass parts were by Bob Daisley. Eric Singer played the drums; the percussion credit for Bev Bevan relates to a few cymbal overdubs on "Scarlet Pimpernel".[8]

The album was originally to be recorded with Spitz and vocalist Ray Gillen. The former was replaced by bassist/lyricist Bob Daisley during initial sessions on Montserrat with producer Jeff Glixman. Gillen had struggled with recording the vocal parts according to Bob, Dave, and Geoff and management wasn't paying him.[9] Gillen quit shortly after their return to England.[10] He later joined the band Badlands.[10] Nightmare was initially written for the third Nightmare on Elm Street movie. Stolz, Nolan (2017). Experiencing Black Sabbath. Rowman & Littlefield.

Tony Martin was hired and reconstructed the vocals under the guidance of Chris Tsangarides at Battery Studios shortly before production ended.[10] Most tracks were written by Tony Iommi and Bob Daisley (the vinyl version states that all songs were written by Iommi) although some lyrics were modified by Geoff Nicholls. 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."[11]

Drummer Bevan and original Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler were hired for a 1987 tour in support of the album, which would have reunited three-quarters of the Born Again tour line-up (with Martin singing rather than Ian Gillan). However, Butler backed out on learning that Sabbath had booked dates in South Africa. Nicholls played bass for a few shows before Jo Burt was hired. Bevan was subsequently replaced by former Clash drummer Terry Chimes, who appears in the music video for "The Shining". ("The bass player in the 'Shining' video," recalled Martin, was some guy that we dragged off the street. I can't remember his name but he looked the part. He said that he was a guitarist. I remember he was always talking about how he was a Red Indian, thus all the turquoise he wore! We never saw him again."[12])

"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'…"[13]

A three-minute and fifteen second studio outtake titled "Some Kind of Woman", written by Tony Martin shortly after joining the band, appeared as a b-side of the "The Shining" single. An early version of "Black Moon" – a song destined for Headless Cross – was released as a b-side of the "Eternal Idol" single.

The album was rereleased on 1 November 2010 in Europe as a two-disc expanded set. Bonus content includes the aforementioned b-sides "Some Kind of Woman" and "Black Moon" on disc 1. Disc 2 contains the session for the album recorded with Ray Gillen on vocals.[14][15]

Track listing[edit]

Music by Tony Iommi; lyrics by Bob Daisley and Ray Gillen. "Black Moon" and "Some Kind of Woman" lyrics by Tony Martin and Geoff Nicholls.

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
5."Born to Lose"3:43
7."Scarlet Pimpernel" (instrumental)2:05
8."Lost Forever"4:03
9."Eternal Idol"6:33

2010 Deluxe Edition Disc 2[edit]

The 2010 Deluxe Edition Disc 2 consists of the earlier recording sessions, with Ray Gillen performing vocals.

1."Glory Ride"5:21
2."Born to Lose"3:41
3."Lost Forever"4:18
4."Eternal Idol"6:48
5."The Shining"6:30
6."Hard Life to Love"5:20
8."Ancient Warrior"4:54


Black Sabbath

Additional musicians

  • Bev Bevan – percussion (cymbal overdubs on "Scarlet Pimpernel" and "Eternal Idol")

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

Charts performance[edit]

Year Chart Position
1987 United Kingdom 66
United States 168


  1. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "The Eternal Idol". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  2. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "The Eternal Idol – Black Sabbath". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Black Sabbath: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  4. ^ Elliott, Paul (January 2011). "Black Sabbath – Reissues". Classic Rock. 153. London, UK: Future plc. p. 112.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "The Eternal Idol album info". Billboard. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
  7. ^ Iommi, Tony. Black Sabbath: My Journey through Heaven and Hell.
  8. ^ Sharpe-Young, Garry (1 September 2003). "10". Black Sabbath: Never Say Die! 1979–1997. London, UK: Cherry Red Books. ISBN 978-1901447163.
  9. ^ Stolz, Nolan (2017). Experiencing Black Sabbath: A Listener's Companion. Lanham, MD 20706: Rowman and Littlefield. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-4422-5691-0.
  10. ^ a b c Hugh, Gilmour (1996). The Eternal Idol (CD Booklet). Black Sabbath. England: Castle Communications ESM CD 336. p. 9.
  11. ^ Southern Cross No.10, May 1993
  12. ^ Bauwens, Thierry (February 1993). "Interview: Tony Martin". Thank God It's Sabbath (French Sabbath fanzine). Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |magazine= (help)
  13. ^ Southern Cross, No.19, March 1997
  14. ^ "Black Sabbath News". Archived from the original on 14 January 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  15. ^ Siegler, Joe (15 September 2010). ", Ray Gillen Eternal Idol to be released – FOR REAL!". Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011.

External links[edit]