The chaotic, utterly unbelievable story of Black Sabbath's Vol 4: only in the new Classic Rock

Classic Rock issue 305 packshot
(Image credit: Future)

Ozzy Osbourne. What an absolute legend. And on September 9 he releases a brand-new solo album. His timing is impeccable, as the month also marks the 50th anniversary of Black Sabbath’s stone-cold classic Vol 4 album – the very record that we were already planning to celebrate this issue. 

When our writer spoke to Ozzy about his star-studded new record, we asked him to ask the Prince Of Darkness what he remembers about the making of Vol 4 from the distance of half a century. 

“A lot of cocaine!” Ozzy said, laughing. “We lived together in a house in Los Angeles, rehearsed there, did loads of drugs and made an album: simple. Those were good times.” 

More like crazy, chaotic, utterly unbelievable, snowblind times, and Mick Wall tells the frankly bonkers story of its making in our new issue. It’s the kind of rock’n’roll tale that you just don’t hear about from bands these days. Probably very wisely. But in Sabbath’s case it all worked out for the best.

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Features

Black Sabbath
Exhausted and near breaking point following a US tour, Black Sabbath were hardly ready to start recording a new album. But with a driven Tony Iommi doing the heavy lifting and a mountain of narcotics fuelling the slog, they ended up with the classic Vol 4.

Ozzy Osbourne
It hasn’t had an easy journey, with illness among the hurdles that have come along and stood in its way, but Ozzy Osbourne’s star-studded new album, his thirteenth, is finally upon us. And he reckons it really is something special – so much so that he has an eye on the top spot of the chart.

Walter Trout
Walter Trout hasn’t had it easy. First it was a troubled childhood, which still haunts him. A few years ago he expected to be dead by now. Recently life’s been good, but the American bluesman’s new album still resonates with echoes of darker times.

Jethro Tull
After an unremarkable bluesy debut album, Ian Anderson decided that Jethro Tull needed to change tack. With follow-up Stand Up they set out on a new road, which led them to superstardom.

Bam Bam
The story of Seattle grunge forerunners Bam Bam, fronted by the incendiary Tina Bell, is one of the most compelling – and criminally overlooked – in rock’n’roll. Ten years after Bell’s tragic death, we find out where it all first went right – and then wrong.

Gary Moore
In June 1979, guitarist Gary Moore sensationally quit Thin Lizzy mid-tour. In our exclusive extract from Gary Moore: The Official Biography, we look back at his immediate post-Lizzy period and the formation of his new band G-Force.

Lemonheads
Out of nowhere, in 1992 The Lemonheads were suddenly stars and frontman Evan Dando was alt.rock’s new god. But in typical rock’n’roll fashion, that’s when things started to go wrong.

Classic Rock 305 cover

(Image credit: Future)

Regulars

The Story Behind The Song: Ministry
A troublesome track, Jesus Built My Hot Rod eventually finished off when a drunken Gibby Haynes staggered into the studio and babbled a load of nonsense.

Q&A: Luke Spiller
The Struts frontman on Taylor Hawkins, the “quirky” new Struts album, and the therapeutic appeal of playing bowls.

6 Things You Need To Know About... Thundermother
A football club has spurred them on, gig time is party time, and they’ve learned their trade from some of the best of the old masters.

The Hot List
We look at some of the essential new rock tracks you need to hear and the artists to have on your radar. This month they include Starcrawler, Bourbon House, The Blackwater Fever, The Virginmarys, Chagall Guevara and more.

Reviews
New albums from Ozzy Osbourne, Muse, Starcrawler, Megadeth, King’s X, Whiskey Myers, Walter Trout, Machine Head, Monster Truck, Hawkwind. Reissues from Jethro Tull, Kiss, Faust, Def Leppard, Manic Street Preachers, Dinosaur Jr, Roxy Music, Bill Nelson’s Red Noise. DVDs, films and books on Cheap Trick, Queen + Adam Lambert, Robert Fripp, Max Cavalera, GWAR. Live reviews of Pearl Jam, the Rolling Stones, Rival Sons, His Lordship, Kings Of Leon.

Buyers Guide: Post-rock
While arguments about what post-rock actually is continue, the genre has given us some adventurous and thrilling music.

The Soundtrack Of My Life: Jay Buchanan
The Rival Sons frontman picks his artists, records and gigs of lasting significance.

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Classic Rock is the online home of the world's best rock'n'roll magazine. We bring you breaking news, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes features, as well as unrivalled access to the biggest names in rock music; from Led Zeppelin to Deep Purple, Guns N’ Roses to the Rolling Stones, AC/DC to the Sex Pistols, and everything in between. Our expert writers bring you the very best on established and emerging bands plus everything you need to know about the mightiest new music releases.