This is a promo picture of Jeff taken from his own website.

Before you read this part, understand that I do not consider Jeff Fenholt to be a member of Black Sabbath. Read all of this, and you’ll understand why it’s listed here at all.

Jeff’s part in the history of Black Sabbath is in dispute. The Black Sabbath camp has said that Fenholt merely “tried out” for the part. Jeff says that he was in the band for about 7 months, worked on the Seventh Star album, and is uncredited for co-writing some of the stuff on the album, including No Stranger to Love. If you’d like to read Jeff’s side of things, click here.  (There’s some more on Wikipedia here.)  I have requested that the Fenholt camp release a picture of him with the band so that we can have some proof, but as of yet, I have not received a response to this specific request. The general consensus is that Fenholt wasn’t really part of the band, but is making this up to “push his cause”. If I get an answer or a resolution from either side on this, I will update this section with that info. However, I’m not holding my breath, I don’t suggest you do, either. :)

However, other info about this time is more secure. Tony Iommi was briefly engaged to be married to Lita Ford during this time, and because of this (I would assume) when Iommi started working on a solo project (what became The Seventh Star) he used Eric Singer and Gordon Copley from Lita’s band. When Lita went to go back out on the road in the fall of 1985, Gordon left the band to go with her, while Eric stayed. Gordon does appear on the final version of Seventh Star on the track No Stranger To Love, though.

There is a bootleg floating around with Seventh Star music on it, but with different lyrics sung by Jeff Fenholt. I’ve heard it, and it is definitely Seventh Star music in an early form, but with different lyrics. I’ve never been able to formally get any kind of official confirmation from anyone as to the sources of this recording (I don’t think I ever will). However, I believe it’s a recording of Fenholt’s audition to work with Tony when Tony was working on his solo album back in 1985 (the album eventually became Seventh Star). I’ve also been told that the Fenholt audition tape shows the reason Jeff wasn’t hired, which was his inability to come up with lyrics on the fly. If you’d heard it, you’d know what I mean by that.

This part of the band’s history is also kind of weird insofar as Sabbath didn’t officially exist as “Black Sabbath”. During this time, the album being worked on was officially going to be a Tony Iommi solo album. From this point of view, it could be construed that even if Fenholt had gotten the gig (which he didn’t), was not officially part of Black Sabbath, since this time is generally regarded as Iommi solo project time, and that Sabbath proper wasn’t reborn until SIGNIFICANTLY later on in the project when record company pressure forced Iommi to call this a Black Sabbath album, and not a Tony Iommi solo album.

Just for a second, assume that Fenholt was working with Iommi (which everyone I have spoken to or emailed about this issue says he wasn’t), but assume he was for a second. Black Sabbath didn’t exist during this time period, and even if Fenholt was involved (which he wasn’t), it wasn’t Black Sabbath, so his claim of being a former Black Sabbath vocalist is doubly inaccurate.

Please note that I do not consider Jeff Fenholt a member of Black Sabbath!! I’ve gotten several messages asking why I even bother to put him here. The main reason is that when I didn’t have him here, and I got a lot more messages asking about him. I figure I’ll put the sum of my Fenholt knowledge here so people don’t have to ask me all the time.

UPDATE JUNE 2009:

In late March, I got an email from Jeff himself. We went back and forth with an email exchange about him and Black Sabbath. I asked him when we were done if I could post said exchange, and it is shown below. Jeff said to my query, “Sure……why not. You seem like a cool guy.” So here goes my email exchange with Jeff. All the emails were from March 31, 2009 – I didn’t post it until June due to getting backlogged again in updating the site, no other reason:

— [ Jeff Fenholt ] ——-

Sieg,

I appreciate your point of view and I can go along with much of your thoughts. You are quite astute.

FTR : Tony and I got together in Dec ’84 and began writing music. It seemed to work. He said I was in.

Tony went back to England for Christmas and then returned to record at Cherokee Studios in Jan ’85.

Eric Singer, Geoff Nichols, Copley, Tony and I recorded basic master tracks for 2 or three weeks.

Tony, Nichols and I continued in the studio until the middle of May. It was not an audition after my having gotten the green light back in Dec from Tony and Don Ardon. I think 6 months of auditioning in a master studio would make the Guinness book of world records.

In any event, as you so aptly picked up on, my lyrics were not Sabbath. I just wasn’t there as an artist. But vocally it worked. Thus the dilemma.

In May I called Larry Mazer to send my friend and producer Jeff Glixman out to help. Tony had never met him.

Glixman was hired and instead of helping us get a good Sabbath type lyricist Glixman started giving me crap. ‘What a back stabber.

I bailed.

I toured S. America starting in June of ’85. I mentioned publicly off the cuff that I had quit BS and was now performing contemporary faith based music. It didn’t seem like a big thing to me at the time given the fact that I had already been on the cover of “Time Magazine” as the first rocker to storm Broadway. I had plenty of publicity without BS. As a matter of fact, the BS connection hurt me more than helped in the faith based arena.

The press picked up on the “Sabbath” connection. The brou ha ha started some 5 yrs later when Tony and Terry lied and said they didn’t know me.

My story has remained the same . Theirs kept changing.

With regard to photos of me with Tony, they all were shot by some friend of Tony’s and were filed with Sabbath Management who has not released any to me. At the time, I didn’t give a rip. Had I known what was to come, I’m sure I would have gotten a shot of Tony and me…..huggy huggy.

I refuse to retract any of my statements because they are true.

I can understand how you have formed your opinion based upon the fact that I recorded with Tony and then quit, and that was the full extent of things. However, I did sing, write and record with Tony on what was later released as a Sabbath Cd.

Heard that Castle Rock Records released a Cd of me singing with Sabbath and some demos I cut with Terry Butler. I don’t have possession of several of those tracks. Who gave them to Castle Rock? Tony?

Bottom line: Why should I not be allowed to speak freely ? I own it.

Thank you for being open minded.

All best,
Jeff Fenholt

— [ Joe Siegler ] —–

I have never heard of the demos you did being legally released. They’ve been floating around in bootleg collector’s circles for ages, but I have never formally seen them released as a CD, especially not a legit label like Castle Rock. You sure you don’t mean Eagle Rock? I’ve heard of Castle, and Eagle Rock, but not Castle Rock – unless they’re a bootleg firm I don’t know about. On top of that, all I’ve ever heard are the live “jam” recordings, not actual studio things.

— [ Jeff Fenholt ] —–

I’ve got several actual studio recordings I sang on that are the same instr cuts that wound up on “7th Star. They’re not a “jam”. I also have demo studio cuts I did with Geezer…..

To be honest w you I thought they all sucked……my vocals included……

Even Glenn Hughes, a friend of mine , with his enormous talent couldn’t resurrect that dog………and sales bare witness.

One thing baffles me…… Dave Dinato, who is a dear guy,.rehearsed with Sabbath for several months and no one including you question including him in the roster. Interesting.

I personally think Tony was looking for PR from me. At the time his gigs were down to nothing and I was doing arenas and stadiums…..as a matter of fact, when Tony denounced me on MTV I was headlining The Olympic Stadium in Moscow and Kiev, and Lennon Stadium in St Petersburg.

JCS was the biggest Cd of all time in The Soviet Union.

That’s why I couldn’t respond to his asinine comments.

Larry King invited Tony and me to be on the show to clear things up……I accepted. The show’s producer called the day before the show to say Tony had canceled.

Stay cool,
Jeff

— [ Joe Siegler ] —–

What I’m referring to may not be the same studio recordings you’re talking about. I’m sure you’re aware of and have access to a lot more than I do.

As for Tony’s motives, I can’t answer for him – I’m not him. Jesus tells me to try not to judge people, and I generally do not. But the situation is from a fan standpoint certainly confusing at best. I really don’t know what to make of it from either side.

Comments

  1. I went to see Jeff Fenholt when he gave his testimony at Stanford University around 1987 or 1988. Fenholt claimed that he left the band over objectionable lyrics, on one of the songs he was supposed to sing, which Tony Iommi told him had to be on that song in order to have “Satan’s blessing” on the album. Having been raised in a fundamentalist home, I am fully aware that some of my brethren engage in the practice of embellishing the truth in order to make their testimonies sound more impressive. Has Tony Iommi ever been asked about wanting “Satan’s blessing” on any Black Sabbath music?

  2. Lucille Patton says:

    Now, how I wish I had kept the pictures I use to have of Jeff Fenholt with ‘Black Sabbath’ back in the day, to be more exact 1970-75. I was not a black sabbath fan, but I use to look at the pictures to pray because I felt these were some mixed up individuals, that they would choose darkness and when Jeff Fenholt became a christian, I rejoiced.

    • Hi, I think you may have your dates mixed up. Ozzy Osborne was the only lead singer with Black Sabbath between 1970 and 1975. It wasn’t until around 1985 that Jeff Fenholt was said to have been with Sabbath. What Jeff was most famous for was his role as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. He sang brilliantly in that role, but after he left, one of the guys that was in the choir on that album took over – Ted Neely.

  3. Leigh Blalock says:

    Jeff seems like a straight shooter…I don’t doubt his veracity…Sincere Christian..stellar voice..Thanks for posting this exchange.

  4. Michael E. Caruthers says:

    I must speak out, to truly confirm that the life-changing experience that Jeff Fenholt has, is indeed true, and real. Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, is true, real, and alive- eternally!! I KNOW, because I had the same experience myself, back in 1973. It’s not about religion, it’s about knowing Christ. I had my testimony printed into a Gospel tract, and copies of same are available from me, if anyone is interested, write to me, or email: Rev. Michael E. Caruthers, New Testament Gospel Evangelism, P.O. Box 307, Leesburg, AL 35983-0307 email: ntgospelevangelism@hotmail.com Send me your mailing addresses, and I will mail you some copies. God bless.

  5. Emma Duncan says:

    It’s so Interesting that christians have no problem with lying, in order to “prove” something.

  6. Michael E. Caruthers says:

    What makes you think that I’m lying? How can you come to that conclusion, when you don’t even know me?? I was not lying. -You just don’t believe it. I actually did have a real, life-changing experience with Christ. I know He is true, and real, whether you believe it or not. I was there when it happened, and I know what I experienced, that Jesus Christ saved me, and filled me with the Holy Ghost. He delivered me from spiritual darkness to Light. He completely changed my life! The things of God are not of this world. The preaching of the Cross is foolishness to them that perish. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believes,(Rom.1:16). He shed His blood, and laid down His life on the Cross for the whole world, and that includes you! Don’t turn Him away. Everyone will face eternity, -either with Him, or without Him.

    • She was not referring to you with her comment. Read the other ones and you will see that. This is about Jeff…not you

  7. Francesco d says:

    Jeff is part of black sabbath
    So those who don’t think he is part get a life
    And move on. The band ended long time
    Jeff is member of sabbath

  8. Doug Johnson says:

    Francesco – I really hate to burst your bubble but I am here to tell you that Jeff Fenholt was NEVER part of Black Sabbath in any way. The closest he has even got close to be considered working with Sabbath was with Tony Iommi back in ’85…..and in case you are not aware (which I am quite sure of) Black Sabbath wasn’t even a band then…….Bill Ward left the band as well as Butler. Tony Iommi was working on a solo album at the time that Fenholt was working with Iommi which he didn’t even end up getting the job of vocals because of his lack of experience in writing music. Now, that album that Fenholt was working with Iommi was released but it wasn’t until the record company insisted on putting Black Sabbath’s name on it (for popularity reasons) that it is even considered a album of the band. Fenholt, could sing….I will be the first to give that credit to where it is due, however he couldn’t sing to the aspect of being even a resemblance of Ozzy or Ronnie James in anyway.

    If you listen to ANYONE about anything to do with Black Sabbath, I would suggest you listen to me. Considering I own EVERY bit of material that they have ever released – I am talking all 19 Studio Albums, 6 LIVE albums, there compilations (8), 28 singles and the 11 Videos plus tons of bootleg stuff. I am quite sure there are more people like me out there that are fans of Sabbath, but I am here to tell you that I am ONE of the biggest you will ever find!!!

    I don’t have the time to sit here and go over a history lesson with the band at this particular moment, however if at anytime you would like to go into more detailed history of the band, feel free to drop me a line and I will be more than happy to enlighten you with the knowledge that I have about the band!!!

    Once again………Fenholt had NOTHING to do with Black Sabbath!!!!!

    P.S. I had the opportunity to speak with Fenholt when he was at my parents church in Indianapolis back in 2000 and I even got him to admit that he was never a part of the band ‘Black Sabbath’ [persay -is how he put it] but did some work with Tony Iommi (which yes, Iommi is the ONLY member of the band that has always been] which didn’t pan out at the end.

    ONE MORE TIME…….. Jeff Fenholt has NEVER been a part of Black Sabbath (the band) but has been a part of Tony Iommi (which is a PART of Black Sabbath but NOT Black Sabbath in general, only a member) solo effort when the band ‘Black Sabbath’ wasn’t even together.

    Thank you…..

    Doug Johnson

  9. jp laa manroe says:

    I’m sure the truth will come just in time and everyone will be surprised happy.

  10. jp laa manroe says:

    The Lord Jesus never hide the truth but sometimes people want to run away from the truth.
    JP Laa Manroe / Painter

  11. camile lukis gethbourne says:

    I agree with JP Laa Manroe’ s opinion that Father in heaven will show the truth.. Camile Lukis Gethbourne

  12. camile lukis gethbourne says:

    Whatever about jeff fenholt that he has worked witth black sabbath or “not”, I agree with the opinion of JP Laa Manroe ( artist /painter ) that one day Father in Heaven will show the real Truth.

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