Song Of The Day 2/18/2016: The Norman Haines Band – “Den of Inequity”

Songs From the Spreadsheet – Norman Haines wrote a song that was featured here not two weeks ago, "The Rebel" from Earth, an early incarnation of the band that would later become Black Sabbath. I reported back then that Haines was allegedly invited to join Black Sabbath after he left the group Locomotive, but demurred and formed his own eponymous unit. I'm now informed the situation might have been a little different. One site suggests that Haines had a very tangible but brief influence on Sabbath's eventual direction, and was getting started putting his blueprints into action when new management decided he was expendable.

If the second version of the story is true, I admit, management was probably right. Haines was a keyboardist. I'm trying to envision how heavy metal history would have been different if the band who basically invented the form had a keyboard in the lineup. I can see it (more classically-induced flights of medieval wrath) and I can't see it ("War Pigs" with an organ? "Paranoid" with a Moog? Nah). Judging from "The Rebel," the excellent Locomotive song "Mr. Armageddon" (produced by Gus Dudgeon of Elton John fame) and today's piece, Haines the songwriter had some melodic tendencies that, while they worked quite well, would have had to be wedged into Sabbath's stuff, which was powerful because it was so stripped down. Haines had a solid ear and a gift for some form of corrosive subject matter, but there's too much hope in the footnotes for a band of Sabbath's M.O. Buried deep, but still there.

If you have an empty docket on your schedule anything from Haines, especially the only Locomotive album We Are Everything You See, is well worth seeking out. As of 2013 Haines had gotten into the construction business and started a small band that plays weddings and local events. So you could move to England and contract a house or get married, and run into him that way.

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