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Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (1970)

Stories on the length of time required to create this stark and portentous debut vary: some say Black Sabbath recorded it in eight hours, others in three days. In reality it was probably both. They were making use of cheap studio downtime and the short sessions were spread over a few days. They really didn’t need any longer because as a statement of intent, ‘Black Sabbath’ is very nearly perfect.

Having nicked the name from a Boris Karloff movie poster and found that they could freak out audiences with their horror-rock, Sabbath simply laid down much of their live set and jazzed it up with a few sound effects. A bell opens the wonderfully gothic title track, accompanied by sweeping rain. Sabbath quickly grasped the power of imagination. The songs suggested devilry – ‘NIB’ was said to stand for ‘Nativity In Black’, but was actually named after Bill Ward’s oddly shaped facial hair – and they wrapped them in an atmospheric gatefold cover that came with a mordent poem inside.

Brilliantly succinct and brutally bluesy, ‘Black Sabbath’ launched a legend.

Black Sabbath / The Wizard / Behind the Wall of Sleep / N.I.B. / Wicked World / Sleeping Village / The Warning

  • In the review for Rolling Stone Magazine, music critic Lester Bangs described Black Sabbath's debut as "just like Cream! But worse."
  • The album art was a depiction of Mapledurham Watermill, situated on the River Thames in Oxfordshire


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