July 21st, 1971 Black Sabbath released their third album, Master of Reality. They recorded this one at Island Studios in London, UK. Some great memories from the studio, thanks to Loudwire:
It was the cough that inspired legions. While Black Sabbath were in Island Studios in London working on their third album, Ozzy Osbourne handed guitarist Tony Iommi marijuana joint. Since Iommi was recording an acoustic passage he was perched over a microphone and the potent cannabis made him cough. Producer Rodger Bain looped the recording of the cough, added delay and used it as the intro to “Sweet Leaf,” a song about the inspirational qualities of weed and the cornerstone of Master of Reality, which was released on July 21, 1971.
What about the darker, deeper sound? Black Sabbath stuck to three semi-tones on this record thanks to Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler:
To make his guitar easier to play with the severed tips of his left fingers, Iommi downtuned his guitar three-semi-tones and Geezer Butler tuned down to match. The side effect was a deeper, darker tone that sounded more sinister than Sabbath’s earlier work when distorted and played through amplification. Master of Reality was the first album Black Sabbath spent more than a week recording. The band’s debut was recorded in a single 12-hour day. The follow-up, Paranoid, took less six days. For Master of Reality, the band had a luxurious three months.
It was Black Sabbath’s last album to debut in the Top 10 until their reunion album 13, which debuted at No. 1 in 2013. In July 2001, Master of Reality was certified double platinum.
Although nobody complained about the length of the album, by today’s standards Master of Reality’s 32-minute running length would be considered a bit concise, especially since two of the songs are instrumentals that clock in at two minutes combined and there were only eight songs on the original pressing. For listeners at the time, however, that was more than enough bludgeoning. And if you were too stoned to flip the record over when it was done and you hadn’t had enough, you were probably ready for bed, anyway.