From my record vault

Black Sabbath – Never Say Die

For Black Sabbath, 1978 marked a period of transition. Singer Ozzy Osbourne would be sacked from the band soon after the release of Never Say Die, the Sabs eighth release in their original lineup. It is no secret that all members were burned out from the grueling job of recording and touring and all the demons that accompany being a famous hard rock band. I purchased this LP at a garage sale and was a bit skeptical of its contents, but I liked the cover and after all it was Black Sabbath. This album is in my opinion one of the most underrated Sabbath albums released. There are many great tracks on Never Say Die but Johnny Blade is a real gem. From the synth intro that sounds a little cheesey but grows on the listener to the crunching guitar riffs by Tony Iommi and the always rock solid rhythm section of Drummer Bill Ward and Bassist Geezer Butler. And of course there is Ozzy howling at peak level. What really makes this song dynamic and a pleasure to listen to are the changes and grooves that have a song within a song feel to it. At the time of this release Disco, Punk and Easy Listening ruled. Hard Rock was out of style and many bands were on the ropes. However, Johnny Blade and most of Never Say Die sound fresh and unique. After Osbourne departed Ronnie James Dio would replace Osbourne as singer and many lineup changes would ensue for Black Sabbath. Ozzy Osbourne would go on to have a hugely successful solo career. In the end, Black Sabbath did throw one of their last punches on Johnny Blade, an epitaph from a great band that would never be the same.

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