A Story And A Song – Never Say Die

Time for a story and a song again, or a song and a story, whatever order this goes in, I don’t know. This one is pretty simple and not much of a story, just something that came to mind the other day and I figured I’d chronicle it before I forget it again.

The song in question is the title track from Black Sabbath’s Never Say Die!, the 8th studio album from them and the last to feature lead singer Ozzy Osbourne for 35 years. The album itself is not generally looked upon as one of Black Sabbath’s best (we’ll get to that), but this song is actually pretty cool. It’s one of a few I don’t mind listening to from the album.

Before I get to the story itself, I’ll talk about the album for a minute since opinions on the album are important to the story. Never Say Die! is not a watershed moment in the Black Sabbath catalog. It is one of the least popular albums, both from the Ozzy years and the catalog as a whole. The album is all over the place, uninspired, and lacking for anything truly awesome stuff. My opinion is that of the consensus, which is that the album is not very good. There are dissenting opinions and strong defenders of Never Say Die!, which is where today’s story takes us.

The year was 2009. I was working an evening shift job, from roughly 4 PM to 12:30 AM or whatever it was. The shift was also Sunday through Thursday, meaning Friday and Saturday were my weekend. It was a cool Friday morning, probably around 9 AM when our story takes place. It was one of those nice fall mornings where having the windows open was ideal, I enjoy it being on the cooler side when I sleep and it was the perfect weather to let some air in. It seems the “open window” days are few and far between anymore, but hey that’s not the point.

So I had my window open on this nice Friday morning when I woke up, but wasn’t yet ready to get out of bed. I laid there for a bit when I could make out the voice of my neighbor talking. I lived (and still do live) in town, where houses are not very far apart from one another. The neighbor was a decent guy, I shot the shit with him a bit but we weren’t really friends or anything like that.

On this cool Friday morning, the proper start of my weekend and just a bit earlier than I normally woke up, I hear my neighbor going on about something and he was really into it. And that something?

Never Say Die!

He was going on and on about how great of an album it was and people were wrong about it and all of this and that. He was very passionately defending the honor of this album. It was in a zealous way, I’m sure many music fans have encountered someone with a contrarian viewpoint before and experienced how fervently and wordy these devotees can be about their cherished thing that a lot of people can’t stand.

This diatribe kept up for awhile. My first thought was actually “hey, good for him, I’m glad someone likes that pile of an album.” It is cool when a work means that much to somebody, especially when popular opinion is very against it. Then I got a little sick of hearing it, like “ok man, you’ve run the course with this album, but you keep going.”

I kept laying there, not wanting to get up but also sort of transfixed by this odd treatise on the virtues of Never Say Die! that I was not going to get back to sleep even if I wanted to. I went from sort of enjoying this odd thing to overhear on my nice weekend morning to getting sick of it. Open window days were not in big supply and this was starting to ruin my morning, even if I was initially cool with it. Also, even if I can appreciate someone’s dissenting take on something, I honestly don’t think Never Say Die! is a worthy recipient of such passionate defense. Whatever he or anyone else who is into the album wants to think, it pretty well sucks. Just ask the drugged out group who recorded it.

I was pretty close to going outside and jumping into the conversation. It was that combination of early morning weariness, having my open window time spoiled, and me truly not being on board with the opinion that due would not shut up about.

But I did not wind up going outside. I started up my day and went about business as normal. I never brought up what I overheard and the neighbor never asked me what I thought of his precious, crappy Black Sabbath album even though he knew I was big into music. A few months later I moved out of that house and never saw the guy again.

I almost became “that guy” would would start an argument over a music opinion. It wouldn’t have been anything huge, I knew the guy and I wasn’t going to really go off on him or anything. But it got annoying there for a minute, listening to this dude go on and on about an album I’m not really sure is even fit for human ears. In the end it all worked out – guy got to brag on an album he stands with against the grain, and I didn’t start an argument over something I think sucks. I just wish a guy could leave his damn windows open around here without hearing everything under the sun now and again.

5 thoughts on “A Story And A Song – Never Say Die

  1. In ancient times, I wrote a post about this album and went back to reread it. I said it wasn’t as bad as its been made out to be but I didn’t gush over it like your neighbour did. It’s not that good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like it as it has some cool stuff on it but for sure its hard to beat that earlier stuff. Amazing how much DIO rejuvenated them but the next album.
    Great read Sir….next time if u ever see your neighbour holler out “Never Say Die” lol

    Liked by 1 person

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