Black Sabbath Spent More On Cocaine Than Music In 1972

By McCarton Ackerman 10/23/15

The band almost named their seminal album Vol. 4 after the drug.

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Black Sabbath didn’t exactly have their budgeting priorities in place during their heyday. A recent report revealed that the classic rock group spent a staggering $75,000 on cocaine in 1972.

To put that number into perspective, the group spent more on cocaine than the album they recorded that year, Vol. 4, which cost $60,000 to make. With inflation, their cocaine bill to record the album in 2015 would have been nearly $427,000.

Black Sabbath were so cocaine-obsessed at the time, that they were going to name the LP Snowblind until the idea was thwarted by their record company. However, they did thank “the great COKE-Cola company of Los Angeles” in the liner notes and a cocaine-influenced song of the same name made it onto the album.

“We were young blokes, doing what young blokes do,” said guitarist Tony Iommi to The Guardian in 2013. “Nobody could control anyone else. I was doing coke left, right and center, and Quaaludes, and God knows what else. We used to have [cocaine] flown in by private plane."

Realizing how out of control they had become, bassist Geezer Butler gave up drugs completely soon after. Almost all of the band started cutting down soon after as well, of course, with the exception of Ozzy Osbourne.

"You can't write or play songs if you're out of your brains," said Butler. "But because [Osbourne] didn't have to play an instrument, while we were writing he'd be in the bar getting legless or doing all kinds of things."

Osbourne has infamously been in-and-out of rehab on numerous occasions, but appears to finally be winning his battle with sobriety. After being given an ultimatum in 2013 by his wife, Sharon, he entered treatment again and has reportedly been off drugs and alcohol since.

"We are back together and it is all down to him. He is on the 12 steps and he is clean and sober,” she said. “He stopped because he knows what he was going to lose, not just me but everything.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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