See Revealing, Lost Black Sabbath Items From UK Auction - Rolling Stone
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See Revealing, Lost Black Sabbath Items From UK Auction

Collection includes handwritten lyrics, postcards and photos from between 1968 and 1971 when band defined heavy metal

Black Sabbath Auction Gallery

See a gallery of rare, lost Black Sabbath items from the band's formative years that will be going to auction next month.

Chris Walter/Getty

UPDATE: Sheffield Auction Gallery has withdrawn their upcoming Black Sabbath auction after revealing that Osbourne's family has purchased the entire lot. "The items have been sold by Private Treaty, for an undisclosed sum, to the Osbourne family, ensuring that this important piece of 'hard rock' musical history remains intact," gallery auctioneer Stephen Flintoft said in a statement.

A collection of rare and curious Black Sabbath ephemera from the group's formative years will be going to auction next month. Handwritten lyrics, posters, photos and postcards written by Ozzy Osbourne (signed "John"), make up the majority of the lot, which Sheffield Auction Gallery will sell off beginning September 30th.

The items, which were rescued from a building in London's Docklands before the area was demolished and rebuilt in the Eighties, date back to between 1968 and 1972, the years in which Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward first came together as the Polka Tulk Blues Band, before changing their name to Earth and later Black Sabbath. 

The band released its first three, genre-defining albums – Black Sabbath, Paranoid and Master of Reality – in 1970 and 1971, containing songs the members had written at home in Birmingham, England and while playing abroad at residencies in Zürich and at Hamburg's Star Club, where the Beatles made the "BIG TIME" as Osbourne wrote in a postcard. Some of the items reflect the band's writing process at the time: the lyrics to the Master of Reality cut "Solitude" are attributed to the band name Earth, and those of "The Wizard" show the original song title as "Sign of the Sorcerer."

Sheffield Auction Gallery, which expects to make between US $2,606 and $3,909 for the items, has provided Rolling Stone with photos of items in the lot. The following items provide a closer look at the period in the band members' lives when they were just beginning to define the heavy-metal sound. 

The band launched the last leg of its final North American tour, dubbed "The End," Wednesday night. Black Sabbath will play their last-ever show in Birmingham in February.

Black Sabbath Auction Gallery

Courtesy of Sheffield Auction Gallery

“The Wizard” Lyrics

An early draft of the words to "The Wizard," a bluesy song on the group's 1970 self-titled debut, shows its original title was "Sign of the Sorcerer," before that was scratched out. The words are written on a log sheet for the recording studio where the band cut the LP. The final verse shows refigured lyrics and the top of the sheet contains a running order for the album's track list. Note that it refers to the second track as "D. Island." At the time, the group had recorded a song called "Devil's Island" for John Peel's Top Gear show; the song would later become "Sleeping Village," the song on the album before "Warning."

Black Sabbath Auction Gallery

Courtesy of Sheffield Auction Gallery

“N.I.B.” Lyrics

The lot also contains lyrics to "N.I.B.," a song on the group's self-titled debut. The lyrics are as they were recorded.

Black Sabbath Auction Gallery

Courtesy of Sheffield Auction Gallery

Ozzy Snorts Coke

The Black Sabbath singer, photographed in the early Seventies, foreshadows a pun in the liner notes of the band's 1972 LP Vol. 4: "We wish to thank the great COKE-Cola Company of Los Angeles."

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