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BLACK SABBATH BIOGRAPHY

Black Sabbath was one of the originators of heavy metal and were an influential part and defining force in the development of the form. The group took the blues-rock sound of late '60s, and took that tradition in a new direction, giving birth to a musical style that has continued to attract millions of fans decades later. Even the "grunge" movement of the '90s can be seen as a hybridization of Metal with the "alternative" sound of the '80s.

Black Sabbath was formed in the mid '60s by four teenagers from Aston, England: Anthony "Tony" Iommi (b. Feb 19, 1948), guitar; William "Bill" Ward (b. May 5, 1948), drums; John "Ozzy" Osbourne (b. Dec 3, 1948), vocals; and Terence "Geezer" Butler (b. Jul 17, 1949), bass. They originally called their band Polka Tulk, then later, Earth. In early 1969 they found that they were being mistaken for another group called Earth and decided yet another name change was in order. Butler had written a song that took its title from a novel by occult writer Dennis Wheatley, Black Sabbath, and the group adopted it as their name as well. As they toured, they attracted the attention of several record labels. They were signed to Phillips Records in 1969. In January 1970, the Phillips subsidiary Fontana released their debut single, "Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me)" which did not chart. The following month, a different Phillips subsidiary, Vertigo, released Black Sabbath's self-titled debut album, which reached the U.K. Top Ten. In the U.S. -- where the band's recordings were licensed to Warner Bros. Records -- the LP broke into the American charts in August, 1970 reaching the Top 40, and remaining in the charts over a year. It sold a million copies.

Throught the 1970's and 1980's, Black Sabbath recorded many LPs and the band's line up changed several times. Details on these changes and recordings can be found by visiting some of the links below. Here, we will focus primarily on the band's output while signed to I.R.S. RECORDS.

By the time Black Sabbath signed with I.R.S., the band consisted of Tony Iommi (guitar), Tony Martin (vocals), Cozy Powell (drums) and Laurence Cottle (bass). Their first I.R.S. release was HEADLESS CROSS. Shortly after its release, Cottle was replaced by Neil Murray. With on again/off again keyboardist Geoff Nichols rejoining, they recorded TYR, which charted in the U.K. but not in the U.S.

For the third I.R.S. release, DEHUMANIZER, Iommi was able to reunite the 1979-1983 lineup of the band - himself, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio, and Vinnie Appice (the US version was on Reprise Records, due to Ronnie James Dio's contractual requirements). On November 15, 1992, Iommi, Butler, and Appice backed Ozzy Osbourne as part of what was billed as Ozzy's final live appearance. Then it was announced that Osbourne would be rejoining Black Sabbath...

But that didn't happen. Instead, Dio and Appice left again, and Iommi brought back Tony Martin and added drummer Bob Rondinelli. The resulting album was CROSS PURPOSES, a modest seller. With a nearly continuous rotation of former band members, the next album, FORBIDDEN featured the returning Cozy Powell, Geoff Nichols, and Neil Murray, along with Iommi and Martin. The disc was a poor seller. On that note, Iommi decided (like The Eagles or Fleetwood Mac) to put the most popular lineup of the band back together for a live album with a couple of new studio tracks on it. The two-CD set, not on I.R.S., was entitled REUNION, and featured all four of Black Sabbath's original members: Iommi, Osbourne, Butler, and Ward. REUNION charted very well in the US and even went platinum. The track "Iron Man" won Black Sabbath its first Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

The band toured through the end of 1999. In the fall of 2000, Black Sabbath was nominated for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the fourth consecutive year. The nomination was condemned by Ozzy Osbourne, who called it a joke and denounced the hall as "a supposed elite" of industry types, rather than fans.

Mr Bill would like to thank Jacob Sadavoy for scans and band information on this page.


BLACK SABBATH I.R.S. DISCOGRAPHY

This discography will cover only BLACK SABBATH's recordings for I.R.S. Records. Recordings for other labels, other recordings, solo recordings and guest appearances, may be mentioned in the biography or discography, but details can be found by visiting some of the cool links for BLACK SABBATH, below...

Albums & EPs

Headless Cross cover HEADLESS CROSS
IRS 13002 (Released Jun 1989)

Vinyl, CD & Cassette
Produced by Tony Iommi & Cozy Powell
Engineered & Mixed by Sean Lynch
Recorded at Soundmill, Woodcray and Amazon Studios





Musicians:
Tony Martin: Lead Vocals
Tony Iommi: Guitar
Lawrence Cottle: Bass
Geoff Nicholls: Keyboards
Cozy Powell: Drums

Track Listing:

  1. The Gates Of Hell (Powell/Martin/Nicholls/Iommi) 1:06
  2. Headless Cross (Martin/Powell/Iommi) 6:29
  3. Devil & Daughter (Powell/Martin/Iommi) 4:44
  4. When Death Calls (Martin/Powell/Nicholls/Iommi) 6:56
  5. Kill In The Spirit World (Martin/Powell/Nicholls/Iommi) 5:12
  6. Call Of The Wild (Iommi/Martin/Nicholls/Powell) 5:19
  7. Black Moon (Martin/Nicholls/Iommi) 4:06
  8. Nightwing (Iommi/Martin/Powell) 6:35
REVIEW COMING SOON!

Tyr cover TYR
IRS 13049 (Released Sept 1990)

CD & Cassette
Produced by Tony Iommi & Cozy Powell
Engineered by Sean Lynch
Mixed by Leif Mases
Recorded at Rockfield and Woodcray Studios





Musicians:
Tony Martin: Lead Vocals
Tony Iommi: Guitar
Neil Murray: Bass
Geoff Nicholls: Keyboards
Cozy Powell: Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Anno Mundi (Murray/Iommi/Nicholls/Martin/Powell) 6:12
  2. The Law Maker (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 3:55
  3. Jerusalem (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 4:00
  4. The Sabbath Stones (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 6:48
  5. The Battle Of Tyr (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 1:09
  6. Odin's Court (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 2:42
  7. Valhalla (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 4:43
  8. Feels Good To Me (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 5:45
  9. Heaven In Black (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Cozy Powell) 4:05
REVIEW COMING SOON!



Dehumanizer cover DEHUMANIZER
IRS 13155 (Released July 1992)

CD & Cassette
US Release was on REPRISE RECORDS
Produced by Mack (Cut #11 Produced byBlack Sabbath)
Engineered & Mixed by Mack
Recorded at Rockfield Studios, Wales
Mixed at Musicland, Munich, Germany




Musicians:
Ronnie James Dio: Lead Vocals
Tony Iommi: Guitar
Terry "Geezer" Butler: Bass
Geoff Nicholls: Keyboards
Vinnie Appice: Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Computer God (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 6:15
  2. After All (The Dead) (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 5:41
  3. TV Crimes (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 4:03
  4. Letters From Earth (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 4:17
  5. Master Of Insanity (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 5:56
  6. Time Machine (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 4:15
  7. Sins Of The Father (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 4:47
  8. Too Late (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 6:55
  9. I (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 5:14
  10. Buried Alive (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 4:53
  11. Time Machine (Wayne's World Version) (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 4:18
REVIEW COMING SOON!




Cross Purposes cover CROSS PURPOSES
IRS 13222 (Released 01 Jan 1994)

CD & Cassette
Produced by Leif Mases & Black Sabbath
Engineered by Leif Mases
Assistant Engineer Darren Galer
Recorded at Monnow Valley Studios, Wales
Mixed by Leif Mases
Mixed at The Wool Hall, Somerset, England
Assistant Mixing Engineer Dave Somers
Mastered by Tony Cousins
Mastered at Metropolis Mastering, London, England
Design by Matt Curtis
Photography by Peter Mountain
"Angel" by Melodie Hampson

Musicians:
Tony Martin: Lead Vocals
Tony Iommi: Guitar
Terry "Geezer" Butler: Bass
Geoff Nicholls: Keyboards
Bobby Rondinelli: Drums

Track Listing:

  1. I Witness (Butler/Iommi/Martin) 4:58
  2. Cross Of Thorns (Iommi/Butler/Martin) 4:35
  3. Psychophobia (Butler/Iommi/Martin) 3:13
  4. Virtual Death (Martin/Iommi/Butler) 5:49
  5. Immaculate Deception (Butler/Iommi/Martin) 4:15
  6. Dying For Love (Butler/Iommi/Martin) 5:54
  7. Back To Eden (Martin/Iommi/Butler) 3:57
  8. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (Martin/Iommi/Butler) 4:30
  9. Cardinal Sin (Butler/Iommi/Martin) 4:21
  10. Evil Eye (Martin/Iommi/Butler) 5:57
  11. What's The Use (bonus track on Japan CD only) (Butler/Iommi/Martin) 3:03
REVIEW COMING SOON!




Cross Purposes 'Live' cover CROSS PURPOSES "LIVE"
IRS 77806 (Released 01 March 1995)

CD, Cassette + Video
Produced by Black Sabbath
Recorded Live at The Hammersmith Apollo Theater, London, England, Summer of 1994
Art Concept & Design Matt Curtis





Musicians:
Tony Martin: Lead Vocals
Tony Iommi: Guitar
Terry "Geezer" Butler: Bass
Bobby Rondinelli: Drums

Track Listing:

  1. Time Machine (Butler/Iommi/Dio)
  2. Children Of The Grave
  3. I Witness (Butler/Iommi/Martin)
  4. Mob Rules
  5. Into The Void (Butler/Iommi/Martin)
  6. Anno Mundi (Murray/Iommi/Nicholls/Martin/Powell)
  7. Black Sabbath
  8. Neon Knights
  9. Psychophobia (Butler/Iommi/Martin)
  10. Wizard
  11. Cross Of Thorns (Iommi/Butler/Martin)
  12. Sympton Of The Universe
  13. Headless Cross (Martin/Powell/Iommi)
  14. Paranoid
  15. Iron Man
  16. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
The Video Track Listing will be featured on our forthcoming IRS Video page.

REVIEW COMING SOON!



Forbidden cover FORBIDDEN
IRS 30620 (Released Jun 1995)

CD & Cassette
Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Ernie C
Recording and Mixing Engineer Bobby Brooks
Recorded at Parr Street Studios, Liverpool, England
Assistant Engineer Andrea Wright
Additional Recording at Devonshire Studios, North Hollywood, California
Mixed at Ridge Farrm Studios, UK
Assistant Engineer Phill Luff
Mastered by Geoff Pesche
Mastered at The Townhouse, London, England

Musicians:
Tony Martin: Lead Vocals
Tony Iommi: Guitar
Neil Murray: Bass
Geoff Nicholls: Keyboards
Cozy Powell: Drums

Track Listing:

  1. The Illusion Of Power (Iommi/Martin/Butler/Marrow) 4:54
  2. Get A Grip (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 4:00
  3. Can't Get Close Enough (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 4:29
  4. Shaking Off The Chains (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 4:04
  5. I Won't Cry For You (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 4:48
  6. Guilty As Hell (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 3:29
  7. Sick And Tired (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 3:32
  8. Rusty Angels (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 5:01
  9. Forbidden (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 3:49
  10. Kiss Of Death (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 6:10
REVIEW COMING SOON!




Sabbath Stones cover SABBATH STONES
IRS 37532 (Released Jun 1996)

CD & Cassette
Tracks 1-7 Produced by Tony Iommi & Cozy Powell
Track 8 Produced by Mack
Tracks 9 & 10 Produced by Leif Mases & Black Sabbath
Tracks 11-13 Produced by Ernie C
Track 14 Produced by Robin Black
Track 15 Produced by Jeff Glixman & Chris Tsangerides
Track 16 Produced by Jeff Glixman & V. Cooper


Musicians:
Tony Martin: Lead Vocals (Ronnie James Dio, cut 8)
Tony Iommi: Guitar
Neil Murray: Bass (Lawrence Cottle, cuts 1-3; Terry "Geezer Butler, cuts 8-10
Geoff Nicholls: Keyboards
Cozy Powell: Drums (Vinnie Appice, cut 8; Bobby Rondinelli, cuts 9-10 )

Track Listing:

  1. Headless Cross (Martin/Powell/Iommi) 6:29
  2. When Death Calls (Martin/Powell/Nicholls/Iommi) 6:56
  3. Devil And Daughter (Powell/Martin/Iommi) 4:44
  4. The Sabbath Stones (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 6:48
  5. The Battle Of Tyr (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 1:09
  6. Odin's Court (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 2:42
  7. Valhalla (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 4:43
  8. TV Crimes (Butler/Iommi/Dio) 4:03
  9. Virtual Death (Martin/Iommi/Butler) 5:49
  10. Evil Eye (Martin/Iommi/Butler) 5:57
  11. Kiss Of Death (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 6:10
  12. Guilty As Hell (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 3:29
  13. Loser Gets It All (Iommi/Martin/Murray/Nicholls/Powell) 2:55 *
  14. Disturbing The Priest (Iommi/Ian Gillan/Bill Ward/Geezer Butler) 5:48 *
  15. Heart Like A Wheel (Iommi) 6:35 *
  16. The Shining (Iommi) 5:58 *
    (*=CD bonus tracks)
REVIEW COMING SOON!



BLACK SABBATH LINKS & OTHER COOL STUFF

The Official Black Sabbath Website is coming soon, but this link will take you there!
Black Sabbath OnLine is practically an official site and is very well put-together.
Tony Iommi's Official Website.
Germany's Official Black Sabbath Website (be warned: they disable your "back" button).
The Black Sabbath WebRing takes you to plenty of Sabbath links...
Musicians will find this guitar & bass Tab Site to their liking.
An album and concert review site. Of interest to the true fan!
A pretty decent fan website.
MTV's Black Sabbath page. Great for the latest news!
Diofan's Tribute page is a righteous fan site.
Gary's Black Sabbath page is also very good.
If all else fails, this list of Sabbath links will give you lots of options...


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