“Each night, Sharon put Ozzy in the same cities we were booked to play”: Inside the bad blood following Ozzy Osbourne’s sacking from Black Sabbath

“They wanted to split the fans, and it worked.”

Ozzy Osbourne on stage with Tony Iommi, he is pictured grinning at him as he is playing guitar (left). Tony Martin photographed on stage with a mic in hand (right).

Images: Richard E. Aaron (left) and Mick Hutson (right) / Getty

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

Tony Iommi and Tony Martin have recalled the tension between Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne following his sacking from the band in 1979.

According to Martin, who joined the band in 1987 in replace of Ray Gillen, Ozzy’s partner and manager Sharon put Osbourne in the same cities they were booked to play when touring their album Headless Cross, released in 1989.

Speaking to Classic Rock for its new print issue, Iommi recalls “We had started all over again, but Headless Cross really boosted us. People began to respect us once more.”

At the same time, Osbourne was soaring as a solo artist in the States, and competition was fierce. “Each night, Sharon put Ozzy in the same cities that we were booked to play,” Martin  says. “They wanted to split the fans, and it worked.”

Sabbath’s tour was called off due to poor ticket sales after just eight dates. “I can’t state for sure that [the ploy] was calculated, but they were powerful enough. They didn’t like the fact that we were touring and it was being sort of successful.” Osbourne later reconvened with Iommi and rejoined the band in 1997.

Elsewhere in the interview, Martin remembers feeling the pressure of joining such an experienced band: “Mate, just assume that throughout my entire career with Sabbath I was shit-scared,” he jokes. “It never let up. Those guys already had twenty-five years of experience. As much as I learned, I was never going to catch them up.”

On 31 May, Black Sabbath will release a box set, Anno Domini. The collection consists of four CDs containing newly remastered versions of Headless Cross (1989), TYR (1990), Cross Purposes (1994), and a new version of Forbidden (1995), remixed by Iommi. You can pre-order it now.

Related Tags


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.