Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sabbath after Ozzy

Ozzy briefly left Sabbath in late 77 and into early 78. He was briefly replaced by David Walker. He returned in early 1978, recorded Never say die and did the tour. By 1979 Black Sabbath had reached a point where something needed to change. So Ozzy was let loose and the band needed a replacement. They brought in Ronnie James Dio who had left Rainbow. Dio had a much different voice than Ozzy, but it allowed Sabbath to take a new approach and he added a much needed charge to the band. So they did two studio albums and a double live album over the next three years with Dio. Then problems arose again and Dio left to go solo taking drummer Vinnie Appice with him. Then they brought in former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan and original drummer Bill Ward returned. Gillan is a great singer and he was in 3/4 of the original line-up. This seemed like a good move yet Born Again was a very listless and dull album. Gillian left after the tour to go do the Deep Purple reunion. After some searching the other members decided to break up Sabbath in 1984. Iommi retained a record deal and started doing an album in 1985. He wanted it to be a solo album, but when it came time to press, Warner Brothers insisted he use the Black Sabbath name but he could put featuring Tony Iommi under it. So the Seventh Star came out in early 1986 with Iommi as the only original member and Glenn Hughes was the vocalist. Hughes lasted just a couple of dates before being fired and the band brought in Ray Gillen to do the rest of the tour. The band reportedly struggled to bring in crowds as they tried to do an arena tour (at the same time Ozzy was packing people in on the Ultimate sin tour). Then the band changed singers and Tony Martin came in. He was a very strong singer and The Eternal Idol was a solid release in 1987. To me the next two albums were just okay and they were the Headless Cross in 1989 and TYR in 1990, both with Martin singing. Black Sabbath were struggling to sell albums by this point so they decided to bring back the Dio line-up. So the line-up of Dio, Iommi, Butler and Appice released Dehunanizer in 1992. It was really just a decent album at best. Although the line-up would soon break up and Tony Martin was back in for Cross Purposes(1994) and Forbidden (1995). That was it studio lp's from Black Sabbath, but the original line-up did a number of reunion tours starting in the late 1990's.

Okay, that's the history, but the issues that are often talked about are what is real Sabbath? Some purists think Black Sabbath is only Sabbath if Ozzy is in it. I am not in that camp as I like the Dio era Sabbath and consider it to be real Sabbath. I also consider Born Again to be real Sabbath even though I don't think much of it. My reasoning is that it ahs three original members. However, I think Seventh Star was the start of the Tony Iommi solo albums because it's more him than it is Sabbath. Now we get into the terrortory of whether using a band name is more than just having the legal right to do so. Dehumanizer was a reunion album and it is Sabbath, but to me all of the other albums from Seventh Star on are more Iommi solo albums. That's just me though.

***I hope I got all the history right. Ron Keel claims he was very briefly the singer for Sabbath, but I only ever heard him say that. His story was that he was hired, but wanted too much money and was let go. I think this may have been after Gillan left in late 1983 or early 1984.

Anyway, Black Sabbath week marches on with a review of a non-Ozzy album. On Friday I will review The Mob Rules

10 Comments:

Blogger Metal Mark said...

I meant to have this topic out earlier, but Blogger was having trouble so it took me a while.
Sorry about that.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Sgt Fluffy said...

THe Original lineup is the best. There were so many great songs released during those years it is really hard to compare the rest. THe Mob Rules was a good album for them with Dio and Born Again had a great sound, but, have you ever asked the question of what song or Album first pops into your head? Mine would be Vol 4 and Snowblind. I think the big difference between the Sabbaths is sound. With Ozzy, they had a developing futuristic sound. With all the other Sabbaths, they made a sound.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Rhodeislandrock said...

The only guy I think you missed that mattered was Ray Gillen (Badlands) who replaced Glenn Hughes on tour for Seventh Star and started demos for The Eternal Idol. There are some great boots from this time. There were a couple of other guys that were brought in to try out/demo, including Ron Keel and Dave Donato.

As far as is it really Black Sabbath?

Is it really Deep Purple? The only original member left is Ian Paice. Is it really WASP? It's only Blackie Lawless. Was it KISS in the 80s/90s with only Gene and Paul? Or the Scorpions with Klaus and Rudy as the only founding members left?

Lineup changes happen often. When I look at a band, I look at the total career rather than their highest point creatively and/or successfully. If we measure a band's legitimacy by how many original members are left then Deep Purple ceased to exist with In Rock, even though its the "classic" lineup. Then AC/DC was a shell of a band in 1991 with the Young brothers as the only original members.

The Sabbath albums post-Dio were good, some excellent. Some of Iommi's best riffs came during the Tony Martin era. When Iommi pushed ahead with the Tony Martin fronted Sabbath, he added Cozy Powell and retained Geoff Nichols (Sabbath's 5th member) in an attempt to keep a cohesive band dynamic. He did revolve bassists though, including Geezer's return for Cross Purposes. Is the Cross Purposes lineup more Sabbath than the Headless Cross lineup? Geezer is an original member?

Sorry, I'm extremely passionate about Sabbath, especially post-Mob Rules. I think it is some of the most under-rated Heavy Metal of all time.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Rhodeislandrock said...

Let me just add this.....

In no way am I discounting the original Sabbath with Ozzy. The albums with Ozzy on vocals were absolutely brilliant and groundbreaking, shaping Heavy Metal as we know it today. The first 6 Sabbath albums would easily be in my Top 50 Metal Albums of all time.

I think the major problem is that Sabbath was so groundbreaking with Ozzy that some people only recognize this lineup. I think that the band evolved with Dio and expanded with Martin. The Gillan and Hughes experiments were quick fixes.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Sgt. Fluffy-The original line-up was the best.

Steve-Actually I did mention Ray Gillen right after Glen Hughes. I thin whether a band is or is not that band depends on the sound more than just a legal right to having the name.
I think Iommi wanted to go solo around 1985 and had his band, but Warner Brothers wanted him to use the name to sell more albums. I think Tony Martin is very good singer who doesn't get a lot of credit, but some of those albums were very good and some were very average.
It does frustrate me at times when people just swear by Sabbath with Ozzy because the last albums by the original line-up were poor, very poor. The two Dio era studio albums were very good indeed.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Rhodeislandrock said...

Yup, you mentioned Ray Gillen (R.I.P.), missed that....my bad.

By '85, Iommi had tried various lineups of a new Sabbath and I think he just wanted to do something new. According to interviews with Iommi and Hughes, it was a solo project but label pressure made it a Sabbath project.

I think that The Eternal Idol, Headless Cross, and TYR are excellent albums. Cross Purposes was average and Forbidden is.....well.....bad. What I like about Martin is that he can do all eras of Sabbath and still maintain his own identity. Iommi still came up with some killer riffs.

The Ozzy purists will always be there touting the original band, as well they should. I just think it's a crime to ignore the material created post-Ozzy and post-Dio, it's kind of like they are saying, "Iommi did nothing without Ozzy." Whereas I think Ozzy is lucky to have found Tony, Geezer, and Bill.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous fred charles said...

I like the first half of Born Again a lot but the second half drags.

As I stated earlier, I'm a big fan of the Dio era of Sabbath, even though the Ozzy era is clearly the classic line up.

12:54 PM  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

I'm one of those who associate Sabbath with Ozzy, not to say the others aren't good though - just an original type thing I guess, like Roth with VH, you know?

4:21 PM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

I've never enjoyed any Sabbath as much as the first six albums; even though I love RJD's voice, the band's music in those days just didn't capture me the way the early albums did.

Most of their singers, by the way, even the fill-ins, have had amazing voices. I never heard the tidbit about Ron Keel.

-- david

6:07 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Sorry, but I am firmly in the Ozzy camp on this one.

12:59 PM  

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