It is kind of hard to imagine that it's taken until 2020 for the identity of the woman on the cover of Black Sabbath's heavy metal masterpiece, Black Sabbath, to finally be known. The woman has been identified as Louisa Livingston. The image was shot by photographer and album designer, Keith "Keef" Macmillan.
The photographer opted for Oxfordshire's Mapledurham Watermill because it fit the band's sound in his opinion. Louisa told Rolling Stone:
"I remember it was freezing cold. I had to get up at about 4 o'clock in the morning. Keith was rushing around with dry ice, throwing it into the water. It didn't seem to be working very well, so he ended up using a smoke machine.
"It was just, 'Stand there and do that.' I'm sure he said it was for Black Sabbath, but I don't know if that meant anything much to me at the time."
As a teenage headbanger, I spent countless record-spinning hours poring over every inch of this haunting cover, completely enthralled by the creepy building and the beautiful green-skinned witch in front of it. It is probably a good thing that I (and every other pubescent teen listener) was ignorant of this fact:
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"She wasn't wearing any clothes under that cloak because we were doing things that were slightly more risqué, but we decided none of that worked.
"Any kind of sexuality took away from the more foreboding mood. But she was a terrific model. She had amazing courage and understanding of what I was trying to do."
It's hard to wrap one's head around the fact that, this year, Black Sabbath's eponymous debut album turns 50. It's also hard to wrap one's head around the seismic impact this record and this band would have on modern music.
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“We knew instantly that ‘Black Sabbath’ was very different to what was around at the time,” guitarist Tony Iommi says of the piece that gave the group its name.
“We always wanted to go heavier than any other band,” bassist Geezer Butler says.
“I thought the song would be a flop, but I also thought it was brilliant,” drummer Bill Ward says. “I still think it’s brilliant.”
“When we played that song for the first time, the crowd went nuts,” Butler says.
Half a century has passed since Black Sabbath first scared the bejesus out of rock fans with their eponymous anthem. The song opens with the sound of a powerful thunderstorm and ominous church chimes before crashing into its lumbering, iconic riff. The guitar chords lurch seismically, each one like a gut punch before quieting down just enough for Ozzy Osbourne to paint his own vivid portrait of fear — “What is this that stands before me/Figure in black which points at me?” It’s a scene so unnerving that he eventually pleads to the heavens, “Oh, no, NO, please God help me,” before the guitar riff and church bells come around again to strike him down. “Is this the end, my friend?” he wonders aloud. The six-minute horror vignette was spooky yet thrilling, and the song, “Black Sabbath,” would serve as the prototype for a genre poised to captivate the world.
That's Boris Karloff riding off on a mechanical horse.
This footage was shown at the end of Mario Bava's 1963 film Black Sabbath, but only in the Italian version. In the English version, they cut the scene out, according to coolasscinema.com:
But in the original Italian version, we close out with this ending monologue from Karloff decked out in his Wurdulak costume -- "So there it is. Didn't you see that end coming? There's no fooling around with ghosts, because they take revenge. Well, we've come to the end of our tales... so, sadly, I must leave you now. But watch out on the way home. Look around you, look behind you... careful when you open the door! And don't go in without turning on the light! Dream about me! We'll become friends!"
The camera then backs away revealing Karloff atop a fake horse as film technicians run around giving the illusion he's riding passed trees. This light-hearted, comedic moment was discarded from the US print, which closes without any final words from Karloff. Instead, it goes straight to the end credits backed by a lighter toned Baxter composition that sounds similar to the sort the man created for the Roger Corman-Poe pictures that were popular at the time.
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The music book we've all been waiting for: Black Sabbath For Ukulele
Youtuber seesocovers is pretty amazing!
Black Sabbath For Ukulele via Amazon
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This is an incredibly cool edit of the trippiest episodes of Spongebob Squarepants cut to accompany "Warpigs" by Black Sabbath.
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