A half-century of “Changes”: Black Sabbath’s ‘Vol. 4’ turns 50

Black Sabbath‘s been going through “Changes” for a half-century.

The metal pioneers’ fourth album, Vol. 4, was released September 25, 1972, 50 years ago this Sunday.

Following in the footsteps of 1970’s one-two punch of Black Sabbath and Paranoid and 1971’s foundational sludge metal opus Master of Reality, Vol. 4 continued to bring the heavy with songs including “Snowblind,” a not-so-subtle reference to the band members’ drug habit.

In between Tony Iommi‘s signature chugging riffs and Ozzy Osbourne‘s demonic wail came a surprise in the form of “Changes,” a tender, introspective piano ballad. Speaking previously to ABC Audio, Iommi shared that he and his Sabbath bandmates were unconcerned with how “Changes” might be perceived.

“The first thing that it had to please was us,” Iommi sad. “We’d always done that with Sabbath music.”

“It wasn’t, ‘Is anybody gonna like it?"” he added. “We have to … start off with us first, because we’re presenting ourselves. So if we like it, then we just hope that everybody else liked it.”

Vol. 4 is now certified Platinum by the RIAA. Black Sabbath reissued the album in 2021 with 20 unreleased recordings, including outtakes, live tracks, instrumentals and alternate versions.

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