The mystery of the woman on the cover of Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut album Black Sabbath is no longer, as it has been revealed who was featured on that iconic album art, just as the album turns 50 years old.
For the longest time, the identity of the woman on the cover of the front of Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut album — which turns 50 today — had been unknown. Now, the “black figure” has finally been revealed to be Louisa Livingstone, who makes electronic music.
The album cover for Black Sabbath which has gone down in history as undeniably iconic, was shot by a young photographer named Keith Macmillan. In the liner notes, he is credited as “Keef”. It features a woman looking ominously at the camera, surrounded by smoke.
“To be honest, it was the first time I really enjoyed that kind of heavy rock,” he told Rolling Stone. “But that album made me a fan for life.”
Macmillan recruited an 18 or 19-year-old, five-foot model named Louisa Livingstone for the shoot, which took place at Mapledurham Watermill in the English county of Oxfordshire. She wore a black cloak with nothing underneath it, and they experimented with some shots that were “slightly more risqué,” according to the photographer.
“We decided none of that worked,” he said. “Any kind of sexuality took away from the more foreboding mood. But she was a terrific model. She had amazing courage and understanding of what I was trying to do.”
Livingstone commented on the shoot herself, recalling that it had been “freezing cold” when they were taking the photos. “I had to get up at about 4 o’clock in the morning. Keith was rushing around with dry ice, throwing it into the water. It didn’t seem to be working very well, so he ended up using a smoke machine,” she explained. “I’m sure he said it was for Black Sabbath, but I don’t know if that meant anything much to me at the time.”
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The model, who is now estimated to be around 68 or 69-years old, has released electronic music in the last few years under the name Indreba. Check out her Bandcamp here.
You can listen to ‘Hypnosis’ by Indreba below.