on this day way back in 1970, Black Sabbath released their debut self-titled studio album on Vertigo records in the UK. The album happened to come out on a Friday which is a spooky fact. Peaking at No.8 on the charts which is something of a commercial success to be fair to the four lads from working-class backgrounds in Birmingham.
Recognised as the first heavy metal record. It seems like so long ago and be thankful that it was this album and these people. I’m not sure we should blame the four for giving us the likes of Danger Danger, Steel Panther and Manowar but if they were the first then they should take some collective responsibility because had this record never have been made would we have had judas priest? Who knows. If only they’d added a keytar instead of Iommi’s Les Paul things might have ended so differently. Oh well. To think that back in 1970 the band released not one but two albums because later that year ‘Paranoid’ hit the streets and was responsible for that riff. Amazing work ethic and turn over that my friends wouldn’t happen today.
On February 13th1980, Police raided the home of former Sex Pistols John Lydon who greeted them waving a ceremonial sword, the only illegal item they found was a canister of tear gas, claimed to be for defence against intruders. Imagine that, musical outsider having their homes invaded by the fuzz for what under what crime prevention? Makes you wonder why the bugger off to live in other countries. Of the incident, Lydon said, “I used to have these wooden slat blinds. They break, so up went an Italian flag. “But somebody thought that meant it was an IRA house, so… police raid!” Lydon had long since left the Pistols and PIL were a going concern the incident was between ‘Metal Box’ and ‘Flowers Of Romance’ Lydon was basking in the afterglow of ‘Metal Box’ which had come out only four months earlier.
Amazingly The title of the album refers to its original packaging, which consisted of a metal 16mm film canister embossed with the band’s logo and containing three records. It was designed by Dennis Morris and was innovative and inexpensive, costing little more to the label than the cost of standard printed sleeves for equivalent 12″ releases (although Virgin did ask for a refund of 1/3 of the band’s advance due to the cost). Before the metal tin was finalised, there was discussion of the album being released in a sandpaper package that would effectively ruin the sleeve art of any records shelved next to it. That idea would later be realised by the Durutti Column
Deleted in November 1979 after an initial release of 60,000 sales, the album was re-issued on in February 1980 (funnily enough just after his house was raided) as a standard double LP in a more conventional gatefold. The sleeve art of ‘Second Edition’ consists of a distorted Keith Levene.
Also today in the mists of time (1982 to be precise) The Jam were at number 1 in the charts with double A-side single ‘A Town Called Malice’ and ‘Precious’ incidently the song is played at the local football ground before every second half gets underway (have that one fact fans). Sadly the three members of the Jam have never reformed and the only chance of them ever being in the same place together would be when they’ve been to court – shame that but not many bands get to perform on TOTP twice in the same night playing both sides of their single
Finally, in 2007 Rod Steward did a hard days graft and only got paid $1 million. A wealthy billionaire Steve Schwarzman paid the singer to perform an hour-long set for his 60th Birthday celebrations in New York, (nice work if you can get it). Other performers are available for a lot cheaper. but I guess well done Rod We’d all like a piece of that. It’s not the only time Stewart has performed for wealthy people for large sums of money. A long way from his busking days in Paris and Spain or on train platforms in West London Stewart hung up his rock n roll wildman boots long before ’07 to be fair. but still quite an achievement. I hope Mr Schwarzman got his moneys worth and told Rod what to play.