By Roberto Boschian – Track Addicts Podcast
When you hear the name Black Sabbath, you think of madman Ozzy Osbourne and timeless classics like ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Paranoid.’ If you’re a fan of hard rock and heavy metal you might also reference songs like ‘Heaven and Hell,’ and ‘The Mob Rules,’ which featured metal pioneer Ronnie James Dio on vocals. Dio left the band for the first time in 1983 and was replaced by a cavalcade of singers like Ian Gillian, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen, and Tony Martin. Sabbath released 7 studio albums from 1986-1995. They were not commercial successes by any means, and were usually trumped and overshadowed by massive releases from former singer Ozzy Osbourne, but these albums contain gems that will rival the biggest metal songs of the 80’s. Here are five Black Sabbath songs you may not know now but will become favorites after you listen to them.
No Stranger To Love (from Seventh Star, 1986)
Although not the signature Sabbath sound, this track displays powerhouse vocals from Glenn Hughes, and powerful drumming from current KISS drummer Eric Singer.
The album was the group’s first release without bassist Geezer Butler, who left the band in 1984 after the aforementioned Born Again tour. It was originally written, recorded, and intended to be the first solo album by Iommi, as shown by the musical experimentation. However, due to pressures by Warner Bros. Records and the prompting of band manager Don Arden, the record was billed as Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi. Later releases label the album as simply by Black Sabbath.
Feels Good To Me (from TYR, 1990)
This track features Tony Martin on vocals and Rainbow’s Cozy Powell on drums. This should have been a hit song that would mirror hits of the day from Whitesnake and The Scorpions, but due to lack of promotion and being on an independent record label, the song and album both fizzled, leaving the band with no option to reunite the Ronnie James Dio line-up one year later.
The Shining (from The Eternal Idol, 1987)
This was Sabbath’s first single to feature Tony Martin on vocals in 1987. With Martin in tow, the band returned to the Dio era sound of ‘Heaven and Hell’ but also incorporating some radio friendly hair metal riffs and melodies. The main riff in this song however is a classic Tony Iommi metal riff.
Headless Cross (from Headless Cross, 1989)
By 1989, Tony Iommi realized that being the only credible musician in the band wasn’t sitting well with fans, so he enlisted Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell and Whitesnake bassist Neil Murray into the fold. ‘Headless Cross’ is probably the most overlooked album in the Sabbath catalog and is not easy to find, but if you enjoy the Dio era Sabbath stuff, this album fit nicely into your collection.
Cross Of Thorns (from Cross Purposes, 1994)
In 1992, Black Sabbath announced they were reuniting with Ozzy Osbourne for an album, but after two years of negotiations, it didn’t happen. Instead the band quietly released Cross Purposes, featuring Tony Martin on vocals, Geezer Butler on bass, Bobby Rondinelli on drums, and of course Tony Iommi on guitar. Many confused fans weren’t sure who was on this album until buying it and reading the booklet. Luckily for those fans, what they got was a solid Sabbath album that unfortunately was overshadowed by the grunge movement of the day.