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

The album’s lack of accessibility extended to the discs themselves. Packed tightly inside the canister and separated by paper sheets, they were difficult to remove and were prone to be scratched and dropped in the process. Due to the short run on each side of the records, the listener had to change sides to hear the complete album rather more often than normal (not like Lydon to be awkward).

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.

 

Dave Alexander original Stooges Bass Player (June 3, 1947 – February 10, 1975) in Ann Arbor where he met brothers Ron and Scott Asheton. “Zander” (as Alexander was known) dropped out after 45 minutes on the first day of his senior year in 1965 to win a bet. Later in 1965, Ron sold his motorbike and they left for England to see The Who and to “try and find The Beatles”.

Alexander and the Asheton brothers soon met Iggy Pop and formed The Stooges in 1967. Although Alexander was a total novice on his instrument, he was a quick learner and subsequently had a hand in arranging, composing and performing all of the songs that appeared on the band’s first two albums, ‘The Stooges’ and ‘Fun House’. He is often credited by Pop and was credited by the late Ron Asheton in interviews with being the primary composer of the music for the Stooges songs “We Will Fall”, “Little Doll” (both on The Stooges), “Dirt” and “1970” (Fun House).

Alexander died of pulmonary edema in 1975, at the age of 27 in Ann Arbor after being admitted to a hospital for pancreatitis, which was linked to his drinking. Sadly it was drinking that ultimatly got him sacked from the Stooges as its believed to have been the reason he was fired in August of 1970 after turning up drunk to a show and not being able to perform. Rest In Peace and thank you for those awesome tunes. ‘Funhouse’ has one of the greatest basslines ever in Rock n Roll music, full stop not even up for debate.   Gone but not forgotten. 

Buy The Stooges Here

On a happier note on this day in 1979, Rod Stewart started hit No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy’,  Also today Rod started a three-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Blondes Have More Fun.’ An absolute killer record in my humble opinion.  right up there with his earlier work.  It might not have been of the same quality as his work with The Faces but has stood the test of time as he demonstrates in this video for the title track.

Buy Blondes Have More Fun Here

Finally how about this for some news. On this very day in 1977, The Clash started recording their debut album at CBS studios in London,  The album was recorded over three weekends at CBS Studio 3 in the month of  February 1977. By the third of these sessions, the album was completed, CBS then sent it for production in the March.and then released in the April, It cost just £4000 to produce! Imagine that? Such an iconic album recorded so quickly and for 4K you’d be lucky to replicate that today it would take you three months in the queue at the pressing plant.