Black Sabbath

Yes, I’ve been neglecting the site updates and posts lately – been busy compiling all the info and writing the forthcoming Black Sabbath Rare Vinyl UK Discography book! In the meantime, the site has now exceeded 1 Million views, so thanks to everyone who’s found this site useful.

Here’s a teaser spread from the forthcoming book


If anyone can contribute a small amount (via the Paypal donation button on the right) it will help ensure I can keep this site online and up to date…it’s a big resource of information and hosting it isn’t cheap anymore (thanks to all the images and pages etc), so to quote a famous retailer…every little helps!

More updates coming soon. Promise.



(PS – after the Black Sabbath book, what book would you collectors find the most useful? Vertigo Swirl, Harvest? Both of these would be big volumes and would have to probably be done as two editions each…send me your thoughts and we’ll see which is the most popular request!)

I found this original 1978 black and white ad for Sabbath’s new album “Never Say Die”. I wondered what it would look like in colour so utilised the same kind of hand-coloured effect that original designers Hipgnosis used for their album sleeves. It’s now available for sale as an A3 print on heavy duty card and looks superb framed!

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It’s been retouched from the original ad, to remove creases and blotches and then hand-coloured (in Photoshop) to match the colours from the original album sleeve.

Price is £4.99 + shipping. Reply to this post with your email address and address and I’ll quote you for shipping. It will be mailed rolled in cardboard tube, UK shipping is £3.50

Here’s a large double page spread poster that advertised 6 dates in November 1971, to tour the “Master Of Reality” album in the UK. Unfortunately, Bill Ward was suffering from “physical and mental exhaustion following the band’s recent US tour”, and Tony Iommi was “confined to bed with ‘flu, under doctors’ orders”.



All the dates (including an earlier one on Tuesday 16th November at Southampton Guildhall) were cancelled and rearranged (with additional ones) for January and February 1972.

If you’re interested in band logos and how they were designed then there’s a cool site dedicated to logos and brands. It features a fair bit on AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, but has just posted a feature on Black Sabbath’s first 8 albums, including the four Vertigo Swirls as well as Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage, Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die.  Click here to go to WhatsThatFont…

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At the end of 2013, the site officially hit 250,000 views (since starting the website in February 2012, but really from around mid 2012 when the bulk of the content and structure really started taking place)…so a huge THANK YOU to everyone who’s found the website and hopefully found it useful!

Here’s some stats for the geeks (like me) who are fascinated with where the queries come from and what people are interested in:

1. Most views by country:

UK comes 1st with over 53,500 views, followed by Russia, USA, Germany, Ukraine, Italy, France, Sweden, Japan and Portugal is 10th with 7,500 views. Propping up the table with just 1 view each (mustn’t have that much in the way of record collections!) are the Cayman Islands, Aland Islands, Aruba, Nigeria, Panama, Tanzania, Qatar, Nepal, El Salvador and Guadeloupe.

2. Most popular pages:

The most popular record label viewed is Vertigo, followed by Harvest, Charisma, CBS, Purple and Island:

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3. Most popular albums:

Led Zeppelin’s albums are what you seem to want to know the most about with Led Zeppelin’s 2nd album (and all it’s variations no doubt!) leading the way – viewed over 3,100 times!

Here are the top 6 most frequently visited albums in order with only Black Sabbath’s 1970 debut breaking Led Zeppelin’s dominance:

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4. Most popular posts:

Led Zeppelin dominates once again! With a massive 5,277 views, the post on the multiple label variants for Led Zeppelin’s untitled 4th album easily tops the chart! The next nearest competitor is Led Zeppelin (again) and all the 6 sleeve variants for “In Through The Out Door”.

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So it seems that rare record collectors just can’t get enough of their Led Zeppelin! Thanks again to all who’ve used the site and left positive feedback, provided corrections and suggestions and even donated the odd photo of their obscure record rarities! Don’t forget the site is constantly evolving and being updated, so please keep coming back and help spread the word!

Many thanks


just come back from a weekend away and happened to call in at Mapledurham water mill…

water mill

but it looks so much more atmospheric if you give it Marcus Keef’s ‘false colour photography’ treatment, like this:

mapledurham false colour

Unfortunately the estate was closed at the time and I couldn’t get to the exact same location as Keef to shoot his album cover shot for Black Sabbath’s debut album. But it’s only about 40 feet away (the other side of the tree hanging down on the left) from where Keef was in early 1970…


Thanks to David from Co. Durham, we now have another label variation (of the second pressing large swirl label) to add to the existing known ones. This new one features slightly different positioning of the text, most notably the track listing for side 2 which features a different alignment for track 3…further to the left than the other labels…


1st pressing with ‘A PHILIPS RECORD PRODUCT’ above




3 versions of the 2nd pressing label above



3rd pressing label above

Black Sabbath were at their peak in 1972, despite their excessive cocaine and alcohol consumption! Their 4th studio album (originally to be called “Snowblind in L.A.” allegedly) was released to mediocre critical acclaim, but the fans bought it in huge numbers none-the-less. Sabbath were however, going through a fairly turbulent time. Despite the successful album sales (“Paranoid” had hit No.1 in the UK album charts 2 years earlier) and the successful worldwide touring, Sabbath had very little financial reserves to show for it (although vast quantities of drugs were being consumed, so most of it probably went up their noses to be fair!).

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Sabbath decided they wanted their own label and more control over the money that went with it. WWA Records was set up (although still manufactured and distributed by Vertigo) to handle the recording of their next album. Relatively short-lived, Sabbath would only release 1 studio album on this label (“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”) before further legal problems arising over disputes with their former manager Jim Simpson would force Sabbath to effectively curtail all touring and recording commitments for nearly 2 years (“The Writ” on Sabotage in 1975 tells the story of the frustrations etc).

Meanwhile, Vertigo was also going through some changes. The swirl label was dropped in 1973 and replaced with a Roger Dean designed ‘spaceship’ label.

As a net result of all the to-ing and fro-ing between labels, “Black Sabbath Vol.4” was released several times in an 18 month time span: twice on the swirl label, a quick reissue on the new spaceship label (which was swiftly halted) and then another reissue on the new WWA label (along with the previous 3 albums and the new 5th album).

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2 years later in 1975, all of their entire back catalogue (5 studio albums) was reissued yet again on Sabbath’s latest record company signing – NEMS, along with their 6th studio album “Sabotage”.