46 Years Ago: Black Sabbath Unleashes Their Drug-Fueled Journey 'Vol. 4'

September 25, 2018

Black Sabbath was three albums into their career and they were on top of the world. Meaning that on September 25th, 1972, they had to change things up a bit with the release of Vol. 4.

Already with a large fanbase in the U.S., Black Sabbath ventured to Los Angeles to record Vol. 4 at the Record Plant while staying at the home of Du Pont heir John Du Pont, who would later be convicted for murder.

With six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, movie theater, and swimming pool, the mansion had plenty of room for the band to rehearse, write and do lots and lots of drugs.

Ozzy recalls taking cocaine every day just to keep his heart beat regular. They had done so much coke that he admits in his autobiography I Am Ozzy that sometimes they had to have it be delivered to the house twice a day.

Aside from drugs, the mansion became a home for every vice Black Sabbath had at the time where they fed their insatiable appetite for food, alcohol, groupies, and anything else for endless hours of partying. Ozzy even taught himself to play the piano over the course of six weeks. Also, they had to record an album too. So rather than work with a producer again, the band decided to produce Vol. 4 themselves.

The album was a mixture of classic Black Sabbath dark groove songs like "Wheels of Confusion" and "Corncucopia," experimental tracks like "FX," and the heartfelt ballad "Changes."

It was obvious that cocaine played a strong role in the development of Vol. 4. Butler estimated that it only cost them $60,000 to make the record, with $75,000 being spend on cocaine.  Even their song "Snowblind" was inspired by the absurd amounts of cocaine they put into their bodies at the time.

However. Black Sabbath's record label refused to name the album "Snowblind" to avoid unwanted attention, but they did poke fun at their drug-fueled journey in the inside sleeve of Vol. 4 saying, "We wish to thank the great COKE-Cola Company of Los Angeles."

Although Vol. 4 did not see as much success as Black Sabbath's previous albums, it was the band's final effort before infighting and drug addiction would drive the members apart.