This has been a long time coming. Why didn’t I think of it earlier.
There are few bands you really can remember hearing for the very first time I think (you may think different). The first time I heard Black Sabbath I was 10 years of age. I had seen the patches on denim jackets and had already thought the ‘logo’ was fantastic.
A classmate at Junior School had the accessory I didn’t – an older brother. An older brother is almost the Internet before the Internet. Direct access to things so cool you have not worked them out yet. He taped some songs from his older brothers record collection and scrawled on the TDK cassette ‘Heavy Metal‘. That was almost enough as I played the tape at home in my bedroom. Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and the like passed my ears before a song came on that really added menacing electricity. The song was Sabbath Bloody Sabbath from the album of the same title. The song sounded like pretty much nothing I had ever heard before. It sounded actually evil, yet earnest and pure too.
Deeper into that C90 tape ‘Black Sabbath’ by Black Sabbath came on. This time it not only sounded evil and dangerous – it actually sounded scary too ( I was 10 remember). Of course I investigated the band further. I walked to my nearest record shop and flicked through albums I could not afford. Just looking at the sleeves was almost enough. Imagining how the songs that I had not heard would sound is lost on the Internet generation but it was essential musical education of the most natural inquisitive kind. One day I would hear these songs – one day – but not now.
The cover / sleeve to the first Black Sabbath album (Black Sabbath) mirrored the sound that almost frightened me as a child. It remains my favourite album cover / artwork by Black Sabbath. To covey sound in an image is a difficult task but, boy, did they pull it off in a style and fashion that is rarely equalled not matter what genre…