Black Sabbath was formed in Birmingham, England back in 1968 by Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Ozzy Osbourne. With the release of their self-titled debut album in 1970, their incredible journey started and they became one of the most influential groups of all time.
They simply created Heavy Metal music and inspired countless generations of musicians. So music certainly wouldn’t be the same without them. That original line-up was absolutely fantastic and released arguably not only the best albums of their career, but also some of the greatest records in history.
They stayed together for the first time for 9 years, until in 1978, when Ozzy Osbourne was fired. After that the band made good and bad choices regarding their line-up. Of course, the most famous one was inviting the former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio to join them.
The band kept going without Ozzy as an official member during the 80s and 90s recording new albums and touring the world. There were just a few reunions with him over those decades. So it took almost 20 years until they had a proper reunion in 1997. So why does the group’s website and social networks pretend that other eras didn’t exist?
This article is a protest from Rock and Roll Garage, which believes all the eras of the band should be in their official platforms.
Why do Black Sabbath platforms pretend other eras didn’t exist?
There are two things which might be the reason why the official Black Sabbath website and social media ignores other line-ups. The first one is something we can understand, which is that their official channels really started being updated frequently after they announced the reunion in 2012. So they were all focused on that and that’s how it kept going until 2017, when the band played their final show. Up until there we can understand that focus, since the original line-up was reunited.
However, it’s been seven years since the reunion was over and the legacy of Black Sabbath is much bigger. The only member of the band who was part of all the releases was Tony Iommi, a musician which could be considered the heart and soul of the band. Not only for keeping the name alive over the decades, but also for his incredible guitar riffs and solos. The guitarist was fundamental for their sound and to create Heavy Metal. If we consider only the singers, for example, 9 albums were made with Ozzy and 10 albums were recorded with other vocalists.
Ronnie James Dio was the vocalist on 3 albums, Ian Gillan on one, Glenn Hughes on one and Tony Martin on five. Although those albums can be considered by many fans as not better than the ones made with Ozzy, they should be celebrated as part of the band’s history. But sadly, they have no space in the band’s social media and website.
One of the reasons could be related to Ozzy’s management
The second reason why the official platforms of the band don’t post anything from other eras might be the division of who owns the name of the band. Since 2010, Tony Iommi owns 50% and Ozzy Osbourne is owner of the other half. Any decision regarding the name has to be made by both of them. So that could have prevented the other eras to appear on their website and social networks. Even after the reunion was over.
As all the fans know, Ozzy’s wife and longtime manager Sharon Osbourne is extremely talented when it comes to protecting her husband’s career. So it’s something we could expect from Ozzy’s management, since Ronnie James Dio and Ozzy didn’t always said good things about each other in the press. Also Sharon already criticized many times what Iommi did with the band when Ozzy was out. After all, is also not good for Ozzy to show the other things the band did without him.
The only current mention of other eras in the band’s official website talks about the two first albums with Dio, without mentioning him. Curiously, before mentioning that part, the text praises Ozzy’s solo career. “(After ‘Never Say Die’) Osbourne went on to a highly successful solo career. Which also saw him venture into reality TV (MTV’s popular The Osbournes series) and launch the annual Ozzfest tour. Helmed by guitarist Iommi, Black Sabbath persevered through a succession of lineup changes that sometimes did and sometimes didn’t include Butler and Ward.
Several of Black Sabbath’s post-Osbourne albums – especially Heaven and Hell (1980), Mob Rules (1981) and Headless Cross (1989) – are highly regarded by hardcore fans. But when all was said and done, the classic lineup could not be beaten,” the section about the band in the official website says.
Sharon criticized Sabbath for accepting to be other band’s opening acts
In an interview with Steve-O back in 2023, Sharon Osbourne was questioned about other eras of the band. She praised Dio, but also criticized Tony Iommi for accepting to be other band’s opening acts in the 90s. Curiously, they opened for Ozzy once and that’s why Dio decided to leave once more in the early 90s. The singer refused to perform as an opening act for Ozzy.
“We saw him (Dio) many times at Rainbow. The famous bar located in West Hollywood, California. Or in different places. They just said ‘Hi, how are you? What’s going on?’. They were not great friends. But they were always very polite. Very kind to each other. Always.”
“They had two hit albums (With him). They did, they had two good hit albums, they had two good tours together. Then it was the band were fighting. There was a lot of fighting in the band with Ronnie.”
“Ronnie had a great voice but to change a band that had a kind of bluesy type vocal. Real gritty bluesy vocal to a rock opera vocal, it was so different,” she said. “I always looked at Ronnie as a Rock opera type singer. Ozzy had such a bluesy voice, I never got it. He’s good. On his own, Dio’s great.”
She continued saying about the other line-up changes
“Well, they kept getting all these different guys in. Every week it was somebody else and somebody else. They were doing really badly and taking silly gigs, like playing under somebody. They weren’t the headliner anymore.”
“Always when you go from that headliner to okay, now you’re underneath and you’re on somebody else’s tour. For so long it’s your tour and you’re the headliner, then you drop. It’s very humbling,” Sharon Osbourne said.
Until the band’s official channels decide to show more from the other eras, the best official place to discover more from those other records is in Tony Iommi’s official website. There the fans can find more information about everything Sabbath did after Ozzy. As the guitarist said in the end of 2023, the albums with Tony Martin might finally be available on the streaming services this year. So maybe something can change too regarding the website and social media.
I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG