Mysterious Musicians #4: Louise (Black Sabbath…sort of)
Today’s entry isn’t necessarily a musician, but she fits just as well. “Louise” is allegedly the name of the woman on the front cover of Black Sabbath’s self-titled 1970 debut LP. The photograph features Louise dressed in a black cloak and standing in front of the centuries-old Mapledurham Watermill, and is often cited as being “unnerving” and having a “supernatural” atmosphere about it.
Why is she mysterious?
"Louise” left as quickly as she came; she disappeared almost immediately after the photoshoot and never contacted the band again. Guitarist Tony Iommi says that she was a model/actress who appeared backstage after a live performance and introduced herself to the band, who hired her for the day to appear on the cover. Iommi also claims that the band have all since forgotten her name, though multiple sources claim it was in fact Louise.
The mystery surrounding her is compounded by theories that she isn’t even the figure in the photograph, and that the tale of "Louise” may have been created for the sake of adding some mystique to the cover. Some claim that the woman is Bill Ward’s wife, while others even think it may be Ozzy Osbourne himself, but considering that neither Ward’s wife, Osbourne, nor any other Sabbath associates have come out with the “true” account after so long, I think it’s safe to say that Louise was real and is the woman on the cover. Osbourne’s hair definitely wasn’t that long at thetime, and while I DID attempt to look into more about Ward’s wife, I found nothing (no name, photos, age, etc.), which does kind of strike me as odd, but she’s likely just a private person.
What we know:
- Her name may have been Louise
- She appeared at a Sabbath show and was hired for the day
- She disappeared after the shoot and hasn’t spoken publicly about it even after the album’s tremendous success
What we don’t know:
- If her name was indeed Louise, or what her surname was
- Where she is now
- If the mystery figure is really her and not Ward’s Wife, Osbourne, etc.
Footnote: Some people have reported that Louise appears to be holding something in the picture. Reports on what the object is have ranged from a black cat, a stick/shovel, a dark sheet/cloth of some kind, or just part of the cloak she’s wearing. I think the last choice is the most likely, but I’d be sufficiently more creeped out if it was a cat or shovel.