Mapledurham Mill

Music Black Sabbath Black Sabbath (album - 1970)
A woman with long black hair and a pale complexion stares from the shores of a lake, not far from a building, also not particularly reassuring. One of the most terrifying record covers in music history. A visual forever associated with the emergence of heavy metal.
Mapledurham Mill
"Mapledurham House" by felix_winkelnkemper is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Sabbath were a hippy band. We were into peace.”

Ozzy Osbourne, singer of Black Sabbath

This is the story of a chance encounter. Three musicians from the suburbs of Birmingham and a striking singer known as Ozzy, who was initially recruited because he was one of the few to have his own microphone and amp. His unusual voice immediately won over his fellow students. The band formed and initially decided to call themselves Earth before changing their minds when they realized how much the public loved horror movies. It then becomes Black Sabbath and quickly, its look evolves towards something more twilight, even occult. Tony Iommi’s guitar sound, impacted by the accident in which he lost two of his fingertips, Geezer Butler’s bass and Bill Ward’s punching power, coupled with Ozzy Osbourne’s unique voice and charisma shape modern heavy metal, taking inspiration from the Beatles and bands like Blue Cheer. Recorded at lightning speed, the first disc includes a photo session near Mapledurham Mill to illustrate the cover. Keith MacMillan’s frightening photograph is a memorable one. It is claimed that the woman in the foreground only appeared when the photo was being developed. Rock and roll is made up of these kinds of legends. Of course, this is not the case. The woman in question is a model named Louisa Livingstone. She is only 18 years old at the time of the session. The mill is not at its best but the effect is even more effective.


The members of Black Sabbath took only one day to record their first studio effort.

Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath – Crédit photo :

Mapledurham House

Visited by many Black Sabbath fans, the Mapledurham Mill is still in use today.

Built on the Thames in Oxfordshire in the 15th century, this watermill was subsequently extended several times. Grade II listed and still in working order, it now houses a micro hydroelectric power station capable of supplying 140 homes. Made famous by Ozzy Os... Learn more about Mapledurham House

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By Gilles Rolland

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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