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man black sabbath sure had a lot of line up changes

Old 08-13-03, 02:15 PM
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man black sabbath sure had a lot of line up changes

I went with a friend of mine to the Iron Maiden show a few weeks ago at the PNC Bank Arena. The second opening act was Dio, which we both thought was great and lead in to a conversation about Black Sabbath. My buddy sent over this chronology of Black Sabbath. Thought it might be interesting, man did they have a lot of line up changes......

Black Sabbath started in 1967 in Birminghamm, England
as a heavy blues band called Earth. Guitarist Tony
Iommi hooked up with od high school buddy Bill Ward on
drums. Meanwhile John "Ozzy" Osbourne, had tried and
failed in a career as a thief, and after spending a
few weeks in jail, decided to become a singer. Ward
and Iommi were looking for band members, and Ward
suggested this guy he knew in high school who had just
gotten into singing. Osbourne showed up and Iommi
recognized him as one of the kids he used to beat up
in high school. They weren't incredibly impressed with
his singing, but he owned his own mic and PA system,
so he was in the band, along with yet another high
school classmate, bassist Geezer Butler. They
gradually moved away from blues covers into hard rock,
and in the 1970, they released their first album.

01. BLACK SABBATH - 1970
This was recorded almost live in 6 hours of studio
time (which is what the band could afford), and is
still widely recognized as the first "heavy metal"
album ever.

02. PARANOID - 1970
Their second album came out later that same year, and
it's the one which has sold the most copies over the
years, and contains the songs "Paranoid", "Iron Man"
and "War Pigs", which are still occassionally played
on rock radio stations. They could actually afford
like 2 days of studio time for this album.

They got into some psychedelic 70's stuff on this
album, but it also had some of their heaviest stuff

04. VOLUME 4 - 1972
They got into some weird, jazzy stuff on this disc,
but it was also clear that Iommi's sense of melody was
becoming more advanced. Also, lyricist Butler started
exploring some bizarre topics, as opposed to the death
/ doom / evil themes he mostly concentrated on before.

The first album where the band actually had a lot of
money, and could **** around in the studio for a
couple months. They used some more advanced recording
techniques and had somme more sophisticated song
structures. Their drug use also started to get out of
control around this time.

06. SABOTAGE - 1975
Probably the heaviest Black Sabbath album up to this
point. Featured some of Iommi's most "epic" song
structures to date.

Lots of people consider this to be a big step down,
and feel that drug use had affected Iommi's
songwriting focus, causing him to churn out some
noodly guitar lines instead of laying down the
massive, heavy riffage of previous albums. Still
there's some classic tracks here. Oddly enough, it was
just about this time that the band realized they were
getting robbed by management and record producers, and
they (mostly Iommi) started taking control of their
own finances. Problems with Osbourne really started to
come to a head here, and he even refused to sing one
of the songs (drummer Ward sings on that one).
Osbourne actually left the band for a month after
touring for this album.

08. NEVER SAY DIE! - 1978
The band hooked up with some unknown singer for a
couple weeks, did 2 - 3 shows with him, but for
whatever reason, Ozzy rejoined in time to record this
album. This time Ward had to sing on 2 tracks. This is
a weird album... it starts out with some heavy,
straightforward metal songs, but delves into some
weird folky, jazzy stuff towards the end. This would
be the last album to feature the original lineup.
After this album, both Osbourne and Butler left
(Osbourne spiraling into a drug-fueled depression
which almost killed him). As chance would have it,
Black Sabbath would never again have the same lineup
for 2 consecutive albums.

09. HEAVEN AND HELL - 1980
The first album to feature former Rainbow vocalist
Ronnie James Dio. Still considered by many metal fans
to be the finest album of the band's career. The band
asked longtime touring keyboardist Geoff Nichols to
play bass, but Butler soon returned, which was lucky
for the band, because he turned in an incredible
performance on this disc. However, since Butler wasn't
around for most of the songwriting, the lyric writing
on this disc was handled by Dio... who indeed wrote
all of his lyrics while with Rainbow (as opposed to
Osbourne, who rarely wrote). Dio also worked with
Iommi on writing the music. This album also featured
the talents of producer and sound engineer Martin
Birch (widely regarded as the most influential
producer in the history of the metal genre), who
worked with Rainbow from 1975 - 1978 and would go on
to work with Iron Maiden from 1981 - 1992.

10. MOB RULES - 1981
Ward had some sort of liver or kidney problem, and
after Heaven And Hell, left the band. Drummer Vinny
Appice was brought in... the younger brother of
well-regarded progressive rock drummer Carmine Appice.
Iommi, Dio, and Butler collaborated on the writing of
this disc, and turned out some of the most massive,
memorable riffs around. Birch also turned in another
killer sound job. The band decided to record a live
album during the tour for this album. Everything went
fine on tour, but when they got back into the studio
with the master tapes to mix the live album, all hell
broke loose. Dio and Iommi started arguing about how
the live album should be mixed, and each of them
started accusing the other of sneaking into the studio
at night and altering the mix. Soon, Dio left to form
his own band, taking Appice with him.

11. BORN AGAIN - 1983
The loss of Dio's singing and songwriting talent was a
blow for the band, as was the loss of Martin Birch
(who from 1982 through his retirement in 1992, worked
exclusively with Iron Maiden). Especially considering
the unknown producer who signed on for this album (not
surprisingly, he turned in a disc of subpar sound
quality). Iommi's riff writing was in good form,
though, and on this album he experiments with some
faster, more rock-oriented riffs. In fact, the main
riff from Guns 'N' Roses 1988 song "Paradise City" was
taken directly from one of these tracks. Vocal duties
on this album were handled by former Deep Purple
vocalist Ian Gillan. Gillan was widely regarded as a
great rock vocalist, but many people questioned how
well he fit with Black Sabbath. Since Appice left with
Dio, Bill Ward returned to play drums on this album...
he wasn't well enough to tour, though, so that was
handled by former Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev

12. SEVENTH STAR - 1986
After touring for Born Again, Butler left to try and
form his own band, Gillan left to take part in a
renuion of the original Deep Purple lineup, and Black
Sabbath essentially broke up. The original lineup
actually reunited for a charity show in 1985, and
performed a few songs off the first few albums. Iommi
then decided to do a solo album with his buddy Glenn
Hughes, who oddly enough, had been the guy who
replaced Gillan in Deep Purple. Studio musician Dave
Spitz was hired to play bass, and journeyman drummer
Eric Singer signed on to play drums. Singer would
perform with lots of other bands, including a stint
with Kiss. This album was originally supposed to be an
Iommi solo album, but as the release date neared,
Warner Bros Records insisted (for financial reasons)
that it be titled a Black Sabbath album. Iommi wasn't
too pleased with this, as it was clearly not as heavy
as a Black Sabbath album, and was never intended as
such. This was also Iommi's first time ever writing
lyrics, and frankly some of them turned out rather
cheesy. But, Iommi proved that even in a more
laid-back, less-heavy setting, he could still write
great riffs. Hughes didn't stick around to tour for
this disc, he left to do his own solo album. He was
replaced by Ray Gillen, but they only wound up doing
like 10 - 15 live shows.

By this point, Iommi felt like writing some heavier
riffage again, so he decided to just keep using the
Black Sabbath name. Ray Gillen was fired during the
recording of this album because of his inability to
deal with a serious weight problem (which wound up
killing him in 1993). He was replaced by talented but
largely unknown vocalist Tony Martin. Spitz and Singer
returned to play in the studio but still hadn't
actually joined the band. Some of the studio bass and
drum work was also handled by drummer Bev Bevan and
former (and future) Ozzy Osbourne bassist Bob Daisley.
Unheard-of musicians Joe Burt and Terry Chimes played
bass and drums on tour.

The lineup slightly stabilized here. Laurence Cottle
was a studio bassist (and he was the guy who appeared
in that Wesley Snipes movie in the mid 90's), but he
was soon replaced by former Whitesnake bassist Neil
Murray. Iommi friend and former Rainbow drummer Cozy
Powell also joined the band, and even helped out with
a little of the songwriting. On this album, Martin
took over lyric writing duties. This album also
features a guest guitar solo by Queen guitarist Brian
May (the only time anyone other than Iommi ever played
even a note of guitar on a Sabbath album).

15. TYR - 1990
Martin decided to switch gears here and write lyrics
about Norse mythology. Iommi also cranks out some of
the most memorable melodies of his career on this
disc. It seemed like this lineup had actually started
to stabilize, but then...

16. DEHUMANIZER - 1992
Since 1982, Dio had been cruising along with his own
band. In late 1990, Geezer Butler (who did a 6 month
stint with Ozzy, and was currently doing nothing)
happened to go to a Dio live show. After the show,
Butler happened to make his way backstage, and he and
Dio sat around ********ting for several hours
afterward. They eventually reached the decision that
the Dio / Iommi / Butler version of Black Sabbath,
which had only released 2 albums, could have put out
some more great music if they hadn't gotten into that
big fight over the mixing of their 1982 live album.
Butler called up Iommi and talked to him for a while,
and eventually Dio, Butler, and Iommi decided to drop
their old problems and give Black Sabbath a shot
again. This incidentally left Martin and Murray
without a gig. Martin went on to do a solo album
(which nearly impossible to find a copy of today) and
Murray joined Brian May's post-Queen solo band. Back
in Sabbath, Dio was actually looking forward to again
working with his former Rainbow bandmate, drummer Cozy
Powell. However, Powell got injured in a motorcycle
accident in 1991, so he was out of the picture. So,
Vinny Appice, who had left Dio in 1988 and was doing
nothing at the time, signed up... thereby without
actually trying to, the lineup from Mob Rules was
reformed. This album turned out to be an excellent,
angry slab of crushing metal (actually it seems it was
*too* heavy for some old-time fans). One song from
this disc even appeared on the Wayne's World
soundtrack. During the tour for this album, however,
things fell apart again. Right around this time, Ozzy
Osbourne had released his supposedly final album, and
was on his supposedly final tour. it turned out that
Sabbath and Ozzy would be touring in California around
the same time. So someone came up with the idea that
they would do one show in Los Angeles with Black
Sabbath opening for Ozzy, and that at the end of the
show, Osbourne would come out onstage with Sabbath and
perform 4 songs from the first couple Sabbath discs.
Well, Dio, of course, had no intention of allowing
himself to be slapped in the face in this fashion, and
said he would have no part of this show. By the time
that show came around at the end of the tour, it
became obvious that Dio meant what he said, and he
wouldn't be a part of it. So he left the band.
Somehow, on a moment's notice, the band managed, for
that one show, to enlist the services of former Judas
Priest vocalist Rob Halford (Halford having just left
Judas Priest a month before). The show went ahead,
Osbourne retired, Dio reformed his band (again taking
Appice), and Iommi went back to the drawing board.

Tony Martin had finished the solo project he was
doing, and had nothing in particular on his plate, so
Iommi asked him to rejoin Sabbath. Their search for a
drummer led to Bobby Rondinelli, who had played with
Rainbow (after Dio's and Powell's tenures with them)
but was most widely known for his stint with Blue
Oyster Cult. This album, partially because of Martin's
influence, explored a more melodic side of the band as
opposed to the crushingly heavy Dehumanizer. This
wasn't to Butler's liking, and following some sort of
argument with Iommi, he left the band, vowing to never
return (he went on to play bass on Ozzy's 1995
comeback album Ozzmosis). Eddie Van Halen wrote a solo
for one of the songs on here, and was supposed to
perform it on the album but couldn't due to scheduling
conflicts, so Iommi did it himself. A live album was
also recorded while on tour for this album.

18. FORBIDDEN - 1995
Rondinelli left after Cross Purposes to do a solo
project. By this point, Cozy Powell had recovered from
his motorcycle accident and wanted to get into music
again. Meanwhile, Brian May ended his solo project, so
Neil Murray was again available to fill the vacancy
left by Butler... thus, Black Sabbath just happened to
reform the lineup from Tyr. Forbidden has a dry,
sharp-edged sound, and features a guest vocal
performance by Ice-T on one song.

The tour for this album ended in 1996. Just about that
time, Ozzy and his wife Sharon were planning the first
Ozzfest, which was to take place in 1997. Somehow
(largely because of the potential $$$ involved) all 4
original members of the band got together and decided
that at the end of the Ozzfest set, they would come
out and do a few songs. Iommi more or less dissolved
the previous Martin / Iommi / Murray / Powell
incarnation of Black Sabbath, Butler, who had played
bass on Ozzy's 1995 album Ozzmosis was doing a solo
project but had finished touring, and Ward, who was
now apparently in good health (and had even released 2
solo albums, one in 1990, another in 1995), all came
on board. This was a big financial success, enough so
that the band went on a headlining tour in 1998. After
that tour, they released a live album, which actually
featured 2 new studio tracks. Iommi and Butler then
actually moved into Osbourne's mansion for a few weeks
and they started writing material for a new Black
Sabbath studio album. After a month or two, though,
they decided to cancel the project. No real reason was
ever given. Iommi went on to make a self-titled solo
album in 2000 with a large variety of guest stars,
including Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, Serj Tankian, and
Billy Idol. Osbourne released another solo effort in
2001. Butler and Ward have more or less been doing
nothing the last couple years.

As for other members, Ronnie James Dio reformed his
band after leaving Sabbath the second time, and
continues on today. Vinny Appice was with Dio until
1999 then left to form his own band (which has yet to
materialize). Ian Gillan is still with Deep Purple.
Tony Martin did a few guest vocal appearances in the
late 1990's, then formed a band with Italian guitarist
Dario Mollo. Bobby Rondinelli just released a solo
album. Neil Murray went on to briefly rejoin Brian
May, then he played with Company Of Snakes until 2001,
and who knows what he's doing now. Eric Singer did
some side projects and rejoined Kiss in 2000 when the
reunion of their original lineup fell apart again.
Cozy Powell was in another traffic accident in 1998,
and this time he didn't survive.

Well, since I've already babbled on this long, let
give you a paragraph or 2 about Dio. Ronnie James Dio
was born in the mid 1940's (the exact date is the
source of some debate) and got into music as a kid in
the 1950's. in the late 1960's, he began to really get
into heavier rock 'n' roll like Deep Purple and Jimi
Hendrix. By 1971, he formed a rock band called Elf,
which released 1 little-known album. In 1974, Deep
Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore decided to leave
Deep Purple and form his own band. He asked Dio to
join, and Dio brought along several Elf members to
fill out the rest of the lineup in the new band,
Rainbow. Their first album was 1975's "Ritchie
Blackmore's Rainbow". 1976 saw another album, "Rainbow
Rising", with a couple lineup changes, including the
addition of Cozy Powell on drums. 1978 saw the album
"Long Live Rock 'N' Roll", followed by a live album.
After this, Blackmore decided he wanted to go in a
more pop-rock oriented direction. Dio had no interest
in that, and left the band. Rainbow would go on to
release a few more albums with a few more lineups,
then disbanded in 1987. Just around the time Dio left
Rainbow in 1979, Black Sabbath happened to be looking
for a new frontman. Dio jumped at the chance,
especially since it allowed him to explore some of the
darker, heavier themes that he had been wanting to
explore. They released "Heaven And Hell" in 1980 and
"Mob Rules" in 1981, and a live album in 1982, when
everything fell apart. So Dio took drummer Vinny
Appice from Sabbath, and formed his own band, along
with young British guitarist Vivian Campbell as well
as former Rainbow bandmate Jimmy Bain on bass. They
released "Holy Diver" in 1983, which continues to be
the biggest source of material during Dio live shows
to this day. In 1984, they released the classic album
"The Last In Line". 1985 saw a bit of a less-heavy
turn with the album "Sacred Heart". Campbell then left
to join Whitesnake for a couple years, then went on to
join Def Leppard (where he remains to this day)
following the alcohol-related 1989 death of longtime
Leppard guitarist Steve Clark. Here's a little factoid
for you... when guitarist Adrian Smith left Iron
Maiden in 1990, the first person Maiden auditioned,
Janick Gers, was a good fit... if he wasn't though,
Campbell probably would have been in the band. Even
weirder, the other guitarist in Def Leppard, Phil
Collen... back in 1981, when Adrian Smith was first
offered the Iron Maiden gig, if he didn't accept, it
would have gone to Phil Collen. Anyway, back to Dio,
Campbell was replaced with American journeyman
guitarist Craig Goldy. They released a live EP in 1986
called "Intermission", then released a full album in
1987 called "Dream Evil", whih featured some of the
band's most complex songwriting to date. Around 1988 -
1989, Goldy left to do something or other, Appice got
temporarily tired of being a musician, and Bain fell
out of sight due to a cocaine addiction. Dio put
together a new lineup. Drummer Simon Phillips, a
longtime friend, played with AC/DC for a year while
their drummer Phil Rudd was away dealing with an
alcohol problem. With Rudd back, Phillips was out of a
job, and jumped at the chance to join Dio. Ronnie also
found a 19 year-old guitar whiz named Rowan Robertson
to play on this album, as well as co-write some music.
Bass is handled by some unheard-of guy named Teddy
Cook. They released the album "Lock Up The Wolves" in
1990. After this album, Dio was sort of looking
forward to working more with Robertson, but then the
opportunity to rejoin Sabbath came about, so he
decided to do that, and shelved the band Dio. Sabbath
recorded "Dehumanizer" and went on tour. Once the
Sabbath thing fell apart again, he and Appice reformed
Dio, this time with heavy, thrash-oriented guitarist
Tracy G. Dio wanted to continue exploring the heavy
vibe he had been doing with Sabbath on "Dehumanizer".
He was also joined by Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson, who,
while still a member of Dokken, wanted to try playing
some heavier stuff too. the 1994 album "Strange
Highways" didn't go over as well with people as
"Dehumanizer" had, though it still had some great
metal songs. This lineup continued on, and 1996 saw an
even darker release, "Angry Machines". After that,
they released a live album, and Dio sort of went on
hiatus (Ronnie had some family issues, etc, to
resolve). Tracy G and Vinny Appice left with the
intention of forming their own band (which never
really happened). In 2000, Dio finally regrouped, with
former guitarist Craig Goldy returning along with
bassist Jimmy Bain (who had recovered from his drug
problem), and drummer Simon Phillips. Much to relief
of many old-time fans, who couldn't handle the heavier
stuff, Dio delved back into a more classic metal sound
on their 2000 release, "Magica". After touring for
that album, Goldy left again, because his position as
a manager with a successful limousine company was
apparently quite lucrative, but wasn't compatible with
being a full-time member of a rock band. So, Dio
hooked up with highly-regarded guitarist Doug Aldrich
and released "Killing The Dragon". They toured for
this album, and released a live DVD, then, for the
second time in his career, Dio lost a guitarist to
Whitesnake as Aldrich left to join David Coverdale's
reformed band. Then, when the offer came along to join
the Iron Maiden tour in 2003, Goldy said "what the
hell" and signed on for the tour. He may or may not
remain with the band at this point. Or, it's even
possible that Aldrich may return.
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Old 08-13-03, 02:45 PM
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Good stuff. And I'll be the first to go on record saying I thought the Born Again album with Gillan was phenomenal. It was an ambitious effort that gave the band a whole new sound, rather than try to duplicate the Ozzy era. I'm not slighting Dio's work because I love the Heaven and Hell album. I just think Born Again is greatly underappreciated...
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Old 08-14-03, 02:00 AM
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I'm a huge fan of the first 6 albums but after that it's pretty hit or miss, Ozzy or not.
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Old 08-14-03, 04:25 AM
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When it comes to bands like Sabbath (and KISS and others) some fans can't get past the original line up and refuse to enjoy anything else... a shame really, because they are really missing out on some great rock.

I own every Sabbath album on CD and find something I enjoy about all of them. Heaven and Hell is my favorite Sabbath album... yes even more than the Ozzy stuff, so shoot me. I thought the original few albums with Ozzy are classic and awesome, but the later Ozzy Sabbath albums were well... to but it nicely, not as good.

Headless Cross is one of the best 80's metal albums... is it Ozzy or even Dio? no. Does it sound like old Sabbath? no. Should it even be called Sabbath, who knows. Is it good.. hell yeah, it's great, Headless Cross is one of my all time favorite Metal CDs, every song on it is great. Tony Martin was a great singer. Cross Purposes was pretty good too.

I miss a new Sabbath album coming out every year or two, I can't believe Forbidden came out in 1995, it seems just yesterday I was in the record store buying it. I'd love to see Tony Iommi put out another Sabbath album with Tony Martin or even Dio... that is if Shannon hasn't bought the copywrite of the Black Sabbath name.
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