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Review of the Album "Never Say Die!" By Black Sabbath

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

This slogan spelled out on white dice is similar to this album's title.

This slogan spelled out on white dice is similar to this album's title.

The Significance of the Album Never Say Die!

Never Say Die! is so much more than the 8th studio album by British heavy metal band released in September 1978. It is also the last album to feature the original lineup of members. It would also be the last album to have Ozzy Osbourne doing lead vocals until 2013. There are some people such as myself really listening to and analyzing the album in 2022 and this is an album that has rock, blues, and jazz influences in it, thus making it a diverse album from that perspective.

For the time period and the situation that was going on with the band members, this album is still a pretty darn good musical result. The production is certainly improved from earlier in the 1970s and this progression is usually a natural process that occurs with time as technology improves. “Shock Wave” features an excellent blues style solo from Tony Iommi. The album’s title was named as such in order to be a humorous kind of thing because Black Sabbath would obviously continue as a band after this album. This studio album may as well have been written at a time where it was “unique” for Black Sabbath. The band members were dealing with drug and alcohol issues and prior to the recording of the album, Ozzy Osbourne quit the band to be replaced by then Fleetwood Mac vocalist Dave Walker. Tony Iommi would explain to Guitar World in 1992 that the members didn’t want him to leave and Iommi thought that Ozzy wanted to come back but neither side would tell the other how they felt. So the natural thing to do would be for the band to bring in a new vocalist do that they could record the new material. It was also at this time that Osbourne’s father was dying so there was automatically another challenge for Osbourne to deal with. The rock and roll lifestyle combined with excess alcohol and drug use was common at the time but given what was happening, the 8th album is still quite good musically. Ozzy would eventually return to Black Sabbath but he refused to sing the song called “Swinging the Chain.”

Bill Ward Does Lead Vocals On One Song

Drummer Bill Ward would provide the lead vocals on this last song. The song has a mostly sort of blues and jazz influence as the song is lyrically about the negative effects of comparing ourselves to others and leaving the world in a sinful kind of state. Lyrically, the song is also trying to point out the sad state of affairs that the world was in at the time.


Bill Ward Shows What a Great Drummer He Is in This Album

There is a title track in this album and the band indeed had a never say die kind of attitude because they would continue to perform for almost another 40 years after this album came out. Ozzy Osbourne was fired and that dismissal turned out to be the best thing for Black Sabbath because they would get significantly better after he was fired. In spite of the internal struggles that the band was going through at the time, the one aspect that really shines in this album is the drumming of Bill Ward. He really shows that he can play drums very well and compete with other like-minded drummers that would come into the scene after him. This album is about a good two to three notches below 1980’s Heaven and Hell and that’s really saying something. “Junior’s Eyes” lyrically was re-written to be about the then recent death of Osbourne’s father. The song has a good bass line to it as it builds up to be a good blues style song.

© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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