Of all of Black Sabbath’s Ozzy era albums, ‘Technical Ecstasy’ is arguably the LP that splits fan opinion the most. It doesn’t contain any hits. It doesn’t even feature anything that could be considered classic. It often gets overlooked, sandwiched between 1976’s ‘Sabotage’ – a release with some very vocal champions – and 1979’s ‘Never Say Die’, an inventive work that really saw the band beginning to stretch out.
‘Technical Ecstasy’ has always deserved a place in the world purely for the brilliant ‘Back Street Kids’ and the live favourite ‘Dirty Women’ (or as Ozzy was heard to say on the ‘Reunion’ live disc, “Doooorty Wimmin”!). It’s an album that’s overdue a reappraisal.
Tommy Clufetos became a well known name after appearing with Black Sabbath on their farewell tours. By that time, though, he’d already put in some seriously hard yards, having already played both live and on record with Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie and Ted Nugent. In terms of becoming a seasoned pro, you could say he’d played with some of the greats. …And Ted Nugent.
In a perfect world, Black Sabbath’s relationship with Ronnie James Dio wouldn’t have soured quite so quickly and the band would have followed their excellent ‘Mob Rules’ album with a world-conquering classic. Then again, in that alternate universe, Dio wouldn’t have released ‘Holy Diver’ – one of the most perfect metal albums ever – so, maybe, things worked out for the best.
That was certainly the case for Dio. Black Sabbath’s immediate fortunes were less perfect. Their 1983 release, recorded with Ian Gillan, was a hit and miss affair that came housed in one of the poorest album sleeves you could ever (not) hope to see. Their Reading Festival headline slot later that year bordered on a car crash, culminating in a terrible rendition of ‘Smoke On The Water’, further cementing fan feelings that the short lived musical union between Tony Iommi and ex-Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan probably shouldn’t have happened.
After living through something that’s felt like a perpetual groundhog day, it’s felt like a long year, to say the very least. In other ways, it really doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since the scramble for David Bowie related items during one of the Record Store Day events of 2020.
This year, the RSD shenannigans are held across two days – 12th June and 17th July – with a varied selection of items available during each event. As always, we can’t tell you where your desired goodies will be stocked or how many copies will be floating around, or give you a definite price (anything quoted below is an educated guess), but we can offer an opinion on what we feel are the year’s coolest collection fillers.
These are our top picks for the June event (RSD Drop 1).
It’s only been a couple of months since Black Sabbath released a 4CD box set of their classic ‘Vol 4’ album, but in June 2021, they’ll be giving fans another vastly expanded reissue when a 4CD version of their sixth studio LP ‘Sabotage’ hits the shelves.