Black Sabbath were at their peak in 1972, despite their excessive cocaine and alcohol consumption! Their 4th studio album (originally to be called “Snowblind in L.A.” allegedly) was released to mediocre critical acclaim, but the fans bought it in huge numbers none-the-less. Sabbath were however, going through a fairly turbulent time. Despite the successful album sales (“Paranoid” had hit No.1 in the UK album charts 2 years earlier) and the successful worldwide touring, Sabbath had very little financial reserves to show for it (although vast quantities of drugs were being consumed, so most of it probably went up their noses to be fair!).
Sabbath decided they wanted their own label and more control over the money that went with it. WWA Records was set up (although still manufactured and distributed by Vertigo) to handle the recording of their next album. Relatively short-lived, Sabbath would only release 1 studio album on this label (“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”) before further legal problems arising over disputes with their former manager Jim Simpson would force Sabbath to effectively curtail all touring and recording commitments for nearly 2 years (“The Writ” on Sabotage in 1975 tells the story of the frustrations etc).
Meanwhile, Vertigo was also going through some changes. The swirl label was dropped in 1973 and replaced with a Roger Dean designed ‘spaceship’ label.
As a net result of all the to-ing and fro-ing between labels, “Black Sabbath Vol.4” was released several times in an 18 month time span: twice on the swirl label, a quick reissue on the new spaceship label (which was swiftly halted) and then another reissue on the new WWA label (along with the previous 3 albums and the new 5th album).
2 years later in 1975, all of their entire back catalogue (5 studio albums) was reissued yet again on Sabbath’s latest record company signing – NEMS, along with their 6th studio album “Sabotage”.