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  1. #1

    Default _Why_ is Tony Martin's era so forgotten?

    Many people HERE rate Martin era records 8-10/10. I don't know if those rates are absolute or compared to other BS records? I very much like Cross Purposes and Headless Cross but still I don't know how to rate them? (Paranoid and Vol4 are so classic)

    Why Tony Martin's era (and Born Again) is so forgotten? People know Black Sabbath, almost everyone think that Paranoid is the best-known heavy metal song and very large group of heavy metallers say that 5 first + Heaven and Hell are the best heavy metal records ever. And there it stops. Almost no one even knows of Cross Purposes etc.

    What went wrong? Marketing?

  2. #2

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    The ratings I don't think are comparing other albums but overall how the album feels to each person. Like how great the album is to them. The marketing could be part of the reason why the Martin era stuff isn't widely listened to, along with lack of interest and people being slightly on the close-minded side.

  3. #3

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    I really can't think of any band that has changed singers so many times that remained commercially successful the whole time. The general public has a short attention span and has a hard time keeping up with that. I love the music, and the history, and the whole deal, but to a lot of people, when they walk up to a CD bin and see "hey a Black Sabbath album I haven't heard" and then they look at the back and go "Who are these guys?", they don't even give it a chance. The public sucks.
    Also, think of WHEN the Tony Martin era(s) happened: in the latter part of the 80s up to 1991, and the mid-nineties. Now think of the music in the context of what else was happening.... other things were much trendier. It's sad when great music is relegated to the underground.... but this has kind of been more the rule than the exception since a LONG time ago.

  4. #4
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    Because people are close minded and want Ozzy Osbourne.
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    I think most all points are reasonable here. People mostly didn't even give the stuff a listen at all, if they would they would have probably loved it, it was just that casual Sabbath fans didn't care about a Sabbath without Ozzy and all the lineup changes made the band undesirable in their eyes. Most of the fans gave the band one shot when Ozzy left, and that was with Dio. When he left after only 2 years, they didn't give anyone else much of a chance.
    Originally Posted by Monster Boy

    Depends on who is doing the rating. If they agree with me, they've rated it just right.

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    Nobody can say for sure, but I would venture to guess it comes from a mixture of poor marketing, an unwilling public, maybe even some close-mindedness, and music trends, like has been said above. In addition, in contrast to the notion that the music was all great and it is very unjust that it has been forgotten,...well, it's all opinion they say, and mine is that the music was pretty dull for the most part. I'd be happy to elaborate why but I don't think anybody wants to hear it

  7. #7
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    I was guilty of not giving this era a listen not sure why either possibly my musical tastes were shifting a bit, & have since gone back to rediscover it and how much I currently enjoy the Tony Martin albums. Listening to Tony Iommi's Fused cd is what sparked the interest in some of the older Sabbath catalogue that I missed. There is some great material there.

  8. #8
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    My guess is that these are the main reasons:

    1. Line-up changes, as much as I love the Seventh Star album and tour, honestly, doing a new album that replaces EVERYONE except one guy under the same name three years after the last record and also after giving people the hope of a reunion with ozzy AND replacing this new singer just some days into the tour pretty much kills 90% of the attention you could have got. Add the Eternal Idol mayhem and you have a good reason why people just gave up Sabbath during the mid 80s and didn't even notice the later output.

    2. Sticking with the name "Black Sabbath" was a good idea to start with, but not after Born Again imo. Replacing everyone but one guy and keeping the same name AND replacing the guys you replaced the original guys with several times... I mean people won't identify the bands with each other anymore, I know I don't. Instead of listening to the music and discovering how great it is people started to whine about "this isn't true Sabbath". It was a new band, they had changed. In my opinion they changed in the best way possible, but they had nothing to do with ozzy-era sabbath and the fact that they played "War Pigs", "Iron Man" etc live was also a great part of why people didn't notice the Martin-era material. They should have told people the truth instead, "look, we have changed, we have taken the foundation of the sabbath sound (Iommi) and blended it with something new, it is still dark, heavy and mindblowing, but we are a new band and we are different than the old band, and no, we won't play fkn "War Pigs" every night. That song belongs to the old band"

    3. Marketing, a great part of this problem was again the mid 80s line-up changes causing the band to have to leave Vertigo Records. The new label IRS didn't have the same possibilities and the crowd that heard the new sabbath material were fewer and fewer.

    4. Dehumanizer did more or less the same thing as the 1985 Live Aid reuinion, people were let down by the release of "Cross Purposes" just as with "Seventh Star" since they were expecting something else as "the new sabbath album". Also, as Gardner said in some post, the touring for Dehumanizer focused on the US while the HC and Tyr tours had begun to build up a fan base in Europe. This further lessened the amount of people who were interested in the new Sabbath.

    I know I sound like I am stating facts from time to time, but this is of course all speculation.
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  9. #9
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    There are those of us who aren't closed minded at all, but just don't like them very much. I own them all, but have never been able to get into them. I've seen people on here raving about about albums like Tyr and Headless Cross and it makes me get the CDs out to have a listen again to see if I change my mind, but they just don't appeal to me. It's not like I haven't given them a fair chance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ady View Post
    There are those of us who aren't closed minded at all, but just don't like them very much. I own them all, but have never been able to get into them. I've seen people on here raving about about albums like Tyr and Headless Cross and it makes me get the CDs out to have a listen again to see if I change my mind, but they just don't appeal to me. It's not like I haven't given them a fair chance.
    Yeah this is something you find quite much of. People that say "the only people that dislike the Tony Martin era are those who haven't given it a chance" (same goes for TE and NSD and all sorts of generally overlooked material). That is of course not true. Though the truth is that A LOT of people would like the Tony Martin era if they only knew about it (well, actually that is not the truth at all, it is my strong belief). As I said in my previous post, it is a different band, some people like it some people don't. I just think it is a shame it has got a reputation that is so extremely unfair.
    "I am the crazy man who lives inside your head, but I think I'm breaking through the wall... You are the innocent convicted of the crime, no one was ever there to catch you when you fall" (1992)
    -Ronnie James Dio, Rest in Peace

    "In the summer days we flew to the sun, on melting wings, but the seasons changed to fast, leave us all behind... Blind..." (1969)
    - Jon Lord, Rest in Peace

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  11. #11

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    I think there are a few reasons why it wasn't considered successful.

    1. Ozzy's solo career was going quite well for him. It seems to me that when either and band or a key part in a band have success after the break up, the party that didn't have as much success ends up being forgotten. There aren't many bands who see a member leave and see both that member and the band have success after they split. Granted RJD had success after he left Sabbath, but at that point in time Ozzy's solo career hadn't really taken off.

    2. The Sabbath sound was dead. Granted Martin was still singing about the cliche Sabbath lyrics of death, doom, gloom and all that shit; however, the sound was just different. They didn't have that slow heavy riff that they were known for when they were with Ozzy in the beginning (That sound started to go away around Technical Ecstacy), they didn't have fresh sound they had with RJD, or the heavy riffs name vocalist they had with Ian. Iommi came off a "solo" album under the Sabbath name and seemingly wanted to step away from the sound. The Martin era had some rocking riffs, but they really didn't get back to the Sabbath basics until Forbidden. Until Forbidden the band was basically putting out albums that were somewhere between rock and hard rock. Bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax were the new wave of metal at the time and truthfully Sabbath in comparison didn't sound anywhere near as metal at the time as those bands did.

    3. The Dio reunion for Dehumanizer hurt the band probably more than anyone associated would like to talk about. I've read things that said that Sabbath was starting to gain momentum in Europe with the Tyr lineup only to see it get ripped apart when Iommi reunited with Geezer and Dio. Had the Tyr lineup had more time and a couple more albums who knows perhaps they'd have hit it big again.

    4. The label also had a hand in it because where really was the label at the time when they were with Martin? They didn't promote it enough. Granted they didn't really have songs that were radio friendly in terms of length, but they could've been pushed more. The lineup instability again probably hurt the promotion as much as anything.

    5. The band made bad choices. A rap producer as a producer for Black Sabbath...Really? What was that about? Just a waste of effort. The various reunions with previous vocalist ended up making the then current incarnation of the band look like shit. Who really wants to listen and support Cross Purposes with Tony Martin when the band was willing to dump Ronnie James Dio in favor of Ozzy?

    I personally have friends that enjoy the Martin era of Sabbath much like myself. I also have a few friends who don't like it because the music sounds nothing like Sabbath and they thing Martin is a RJD wannabe. It's sad because the Martin era of Sabbath really made some killer songs.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jestor92 View Post
    I think there are a few reasons why it wasn't considered successful.

    1. Ozzy's solo career was going quite well for him. It seems to me that when either and band or a key part in a band have success after the break up, the party that didn't have as much success ends up being forgotten. There aren't many bands who see a member leave and see both that member and the band have success after they split. Granted RJD had success after he left Sabbath, but at that point in time Ozzy's solo career hadn't really taken off.
    Ozzy's solo career hadn't taken off when Ronnie left the band? Blizzard of Ozz? Diary of a Madman? Speak of the Devil? Bark at the Moon? Biting doves? Biting bats in Iowa? Pissing on the Alamo? Randy's plane crash? Sold out tours and Platinum album sales? Trust me, his solo career was well established by the time Ronnie left. By the time Tony Martin joined Sabbath, Ozzy was on his 3rd studio guitarist and MANY OF US were already complaining about the formulaic sound each album had. Ozzy's success or lack thereof has NOTHING to do with Sabbath sales.

    Quote Originally Posted by jestor92 View Post
    2. The Sabbath sound was dead. Granted Martin was still singing about the cliche Sabbath lyrics of death, doom, gloom and all that shit; however, the sound was just different. They didn't have that slow heavy riff that they were known for when they were with Ozzy in the beginning (That sound started to go away around Technical Ecstacy), they didn't have fresh sound they had with RJD, or the heavy riffs name vocalist they had with Ian. Iommi came off a "solo" album under the Sabbath name and seemingly wanted to step away from the sound. The Martin era had some rocking riffs, but they really didn't get back to the Sabbath basics until Forbidden. Until Forbidden the band was basically putting out albums that were somewhere between rock and hard rock. Bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax were the new wave of metal at the time and truthfully Sabbath in comparison didn't sound anywhere near as metal at the time as those bands did.
    The Sabbath sound never died. It did however help spawn a new generation of musicians. New always gets noticed over old when it comes to music.

    Didn't get back to Sabbath basics until Forbidden? Are you drunk typing? Cross Purposes might be the front to back HEAVIEST album ever put out by Black Sabbath. Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules, Dehumanizer, Headloss Cross, The Eternal Idol? Heavy as hell. The slow sound you seem to be remembering was prominent on the first 3 albums. Starting with Vol. 4, they mixed sludgy with some Cocaine fueled fury and the 4 remaining albums with Ozzy were all over the place musically. Metallica & Megadeth may have brought something new to the Metal party, but please don't include Anthrax in this discussion. Pantera or Alice in Chains? Sure thing, but just try and convince anyone that they were not hugely influenced by Black Sabbath. Just listen to Man in the Box and tell me Geezer & Tony couldn't have come up with that. The more Metal records that are released, the more Metalheads purchase. This isn't a zero sum game.[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by jestor92 View Post
    3. The Dio reunion for Dehumanizer hurt the band probably more than anyone associated would like to talk about. I've read things that said that Sabbath was starting to gain momentum in Europe with the Tyr lineup only to see it get ripped apart when Iommi reunited with Geezer and Dio. Had the Tyr lineup had more time and a couple more albums who knows perhaps they'd have hit it big again.

    4. The label also had a hand in it because where really was the label at the time when they were with Martin? They didn't promote it enough. Granted they didn't really have songs that were radio friendly in terms of length, but they could've been pushed more. The lineup instability again probably hurt the promotion as much as anything.
    I have heard all these also. I have no quibble with anything you say here.

    Quote Originally Posted by jestor92 View Post
    5. The band made bad choices. A rap producer as a producer for Black Sabbath...Really? What was that about? Just a waste of effort. The various reunions with previous vocalist ended up making the then current incarnation of the band look like shit. Who really wants to listen and support Cross Purposes with Tony Martin when the band was willing to dump Ronnie James Dio in favor of Ozzy?
    I agree, the Band (Iommi) did make some horrible decisions. Everyone does.

    2 things. In reason number 1, you stated that Sabbath didn't get back to basics until Forbidden. Now you criticize the effort because of the producer and say it was a waste of effort. I disagree. Forbidden is dark, heavy, yet accessible. The very sound you were lamenting about in post 1. Also, many of us listened to and supported the Cross Purposes lineup because it was and still IS great music. Was dumping Ronnie for the "Retirement Sucks" show a dick move? You bet. Do I believe that they would change that decision based on the last 14 years? Yup. All they got with Ozzy was 2 subpar "new" songs, one of which didn't even have Bill... it had a damn drum machine. WTF??? Once they ironed things out with Ronnie again they got 3 new songs then a WHOLE ALBUM in just over a year. At this point, Ozzy's career is in free fall due to $haron Selling out her hu$band'$ name for popularity.

    Quote Originally Posted by jestor92 View Post
    I personally have friends that enjoy the Martin era of Sabbath much like myself. I also have a few friends who don't like it because the music sounds nothing like Sabbath and they thing Martin is a RJD wannabe. It's sad because the Martin era of Sabbath really made some killer songs.
    Amen.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jestor92 View Post
    5. The band made bad choices. A rap producer as a producer for Black Sabbath...Really? What was that about?
    Are you talking about Ernie C? He might've been a bad choice, but he's not a rap producer, he's the guitarist for Body Count. He's never produced a rap album in his life.

    Slayer did alright by hiring a rap producer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ady View Post
    Are you talking about Ernie C? He might've been a bad choice, but he's not a rap producer, he's the guitarist for Body Count. He's never produced a rap album in his life.

    Slayer did alright by hiring a rap producer.
    And don't forget that Ozzy wanted Timbaland to produce a new Sabbath album : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvgEP0U6DOw
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    Well, people have their own tastes. See, there are a lot of Bieber fans, right? So, people don't always make good choices, but they choose something that most times isn't as good as others. I'm not here criticizing Ozzy or Dio's fans. I just think it is a shame that they don't even give Tony a chance. I'm Martin's "fag" as some guys called me here once LOL but I do listen a lot of other eras, even Dio solo material.
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    The Tony Martin era was doomed from the start.

    It didn't matter that it started with one of Sabbath's best albums. It didn't matter that Tony Martin was/is a great singer. The problems have been well detailed - line up changes, record company changes, failure of said record companies (even Warner Brothers in the U.S.) to properly promote the albums, etc.

    It's a shame, because the Tony Martin era produced some great, classy Heavy Metal albums. Tony Iommi was always good for a bunch of solid riffs, and Martin was a very good songwriter as well.

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    Martin had a impossible job. He had to replace none other than Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy Osbourne and Ian Gillan. No one could pulled that off. But Martin did a great job nonetheless.

  18. #18
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    Many reasons already mentioned. Most important thing for me is (and I dont mean it in negative way) that Tony Martin comparing to people who he was supposed to replace, was (and still sadly is) unknown man. He was and probably still is good singer, but he as solo artist never was big enough - I mean Black Sabbath were his 1st really big thing, Dio was well known from Rainbow, IG or GH had name from their Purple (or solo and Trapeze) careers. Tony had "nothing" behind him. And sadly, after his Sabbath era, he still did not produce nothing really big - I mean, I know he did some solo stuff, but he never get or made another big band. He is known just as "forgotten Sabbath singer" - nothing else. And another thing - Tony Iommi did the most basic error in interviews - when he was asked during tours which should have promote the new albums about Ozzy Osbournes reunion, he never denied it! He said something like "maybe in future" / "why not, but not now" etc... Thats bad because he redirected automatically the attention to this - the title of article would be about "possible reunion with Ozzy" instead of latest record or tour... When I saw interviews with Tony Iommi from Martins era it always seemed to me like that he was never 100% sure that its right thing what they were doing.

    And another thing - the sound was truly different.... Compare the classic albums with Ozzy, but even with Dio and stuff with Martin. Yes, its true, Martin was vocally pretty close to the Dios style, but otherwise - Id say that basic issue was classic for late 80s - too much synthetizers, too much keyboards and Black Sabbath were always the band which was about characterstic voice and what was most important about guitar! That guitar which was now deepend in the sound of keys, strings etc.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monster Boy View Post
    well, it's all opinion they say, and mine is that the music was pretty dull for the most part. I'd be happy to elaborate why but I don't think anybody wants to hear it
    i've given everything sabbath's ever done a real fair chance, listened to all albums alot (i had the 96 castle-remix of every album exept headless cross, which was a classic rock magazine-release, until it all got stolen) and put my honor into knowing what i'm talking about...
    so i can honestly say...: it sucks...
    if you like it, good for you.. but i never will...

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    As for me I like all the Sabbath albums. I don't even try to compare Martin to Ozzy or any other combination. I look at each album as in individual piece of music. Ozzy with Sabbath is great, yet I was never able to get into Ozzy solo. Would the albums from 1986 on, under Iommi, have gotten better reviews and sales? Who knows. I see Iommi has a great writer. Just look at all the songs/tracks written by him, and compare that to Lennon/McCartney or even John/Taupin.
    Robert McAfee

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    After Ronnie left in 1982 Tony should have gone solo and retired the Sabbath name. Then the line-up changes wouldn't have been an issue. I have every "Sabbath" album but really don't consider anything beyond Mob Rules (except Dehumanizer) as Black Sabbath; there was just too much personnel movement. That and the specter of Black Sabbath reunions always hanging over Martin era made it difficult to establish continuity. That doesn't diminish the music made during the Martin's time with Tony; regardless of the name on the albums I just don't see it as Black Sabbath.
    Last edited by mds; 08-31-2011 at 10:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mds View Post
    After Ronnie left in 1982 Tony should have gone solo and retired the Sabbath name. Then the line-up changes wouldn't have been an issue. I have every "Sabbath" album but really don't consider anything beyond Mob Rules (except Dehumanizer) as Black Sabbath; there was just too much personnel movement. That and the specter of Black Sabbath reunions always hanging over Martin era made it difficult to establish continuity. That doesn't diminish the music made during the Martin's time with Tony; regardless of the name on the albums I just don't see it as Black Sabbath.
    So to tie this in to the thread, maybe you feel that the Tony Martin albums would have sold better under a different name? I'm not entirely sure about that, the few copies they did sell might have been solely because of the Sabbath name. Well, ok, I highly doubt that would be the sole reason people bought these albums, but I imagine it was a significant reason for many. Personally, I bought Headless Cross when it first came out precisely because I was a fan of most of Sabbath's earlier material (I hadn't heard Seventh Star or Eternal Idol yet) and wanted to see what they were up to at the time. The reason I didn't buy TYR on the other hand was because I had listened to Headless Cross and didn't much care for it.

    In summary, in contrast to the idea that the Tony Martin era has become forgotten because they should have dropped the Sabbath name, I would contend that one of the only reasons it is remembered is because it was called Sabbath. Maybe it's a little bit of both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monster Boy View Post
    So to tie this in to the thread, maybe you feel that the Tony Martin albums would have sold better under a different name? I'm not entirely sure about that, the few copies they did sell might have been solely because of the Sabbath name. Well, ok, I highly doubt that would be the sole reason people bought these albums, but I imagine it was a significant reason for many. Personally, I bought Headless Cross when it first came out precisely because I was a fan of most of Sabbath's earlier material (I hadn't heard Seventh Star or Eternal Idol yet) and wanted to see what they were up to at the time. The reason I didn't buy TYR on the other hand was because I had listened to Headless Cross and didn't much care for it.

    In summary, in contrast to the idea that the Tony Martin era has become forgotten because they should have dropped the Sabbath name, I would contend that one of the only reasons it is remembered is because it was called Sabbath. Maybe it's a little bit of both.
    I would say that you are right, but I would like to add something. If they had gotten another name say, 1989 with the HC album, that album wouldn't have sold well at all. But the tours in Europe might have started some interest in Tony's new epic power-metal sounding band. Then with the release of TYR, I think that the interest would have increased (note, still of course the interest is WAY smaller than for example for Ozzy solo stuff) and with more tours more people hear about this new band, NO ONE is saying "it's not the same thing without Ozzy" instead everyone gives them a fair chance, just that not so many people hear about it. If we imagine Cozy's accident and Dehumanizer doesn't happen, I think by the third/fourth record this band could have been huge in Europe. Obviously speculation, but you get my point.
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monster Boy View Post
    So to tie this in to the thread, maybe you feel that the Tony Martin albums would have sold better under a different name? I'm not entirely sure about that, the few copies they did sell might have been solely because of the Sabbath name. Well, ok, I highly doubt that would be the sole reason people bought these albums, but I imagine it was a significant reason for many. Personally, I bought Headless Cross when it first came out precisely because I was a fan of most of Sabbath's earlier material (I hadn't heard Seventh Star or Eternal Idol yet) and wanted to see what they were up to at the time. The reason I didn't buy TYR on the other hand was because I had listened to Headless Cross and didn't much care for it.

    In summary, in contrast to the idea that the Tony Martin era has become forgotten because they should have dropped the Sabbath name, I would contend that one of the only reasons it is remembered is because it was called Sabbath. Maybe it's a little bit of both.
    In the end I think the TM era is mostly forgotten because it never really gained traction. Between line-up changes, reunion interruptions, etc it was hard to identify with the band in spite of the Sabbath name. There was some good music, but no continuity. Tony finally got it right with Heaven and Hell, allowing the band to perform under their own shadow, not that of another band.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josef_K View Post
    I would say that you are right, but I would like to add something. If they had gotten another name say, 1989 with the HC album, that album wouldn't have sold well at all. But the tours in Europe might have started some interest in Tony's new epic power-metal sounding band. Then with the release of TYR, I think that the interest would have increased (note, still of course the interest is WAY smaller than for example for Ozzy solo stuff) and with more tours more people hear about this new band, NO ONE is saying "it's not the same thing without Ozzy" instead everyone gives them a fair chance, just that not so many people hear about it. If we imagine Cozy's accident and Dehumanizer doesn't happen, I think by the third/fourth record this band could have been huge in Europe. Obviously speculation, but you get my point.
    Not really speculation the proof was there in that there was a head of steam being built up by Sabbath with those two album sales and tours in Europe. Iommi threw it all away chasing the yankee dollar again and killed what could have been a great thing. Don't get me wrong the next 3 Sabbath albums where great IMO but the momentum was lost. If that momentum had been mantained this thread might not exist as the TM era would most certainly not be forgotten.

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    I agree with a lot of the reasons mentioned but would like to add one - lack of touring - During the Eternal Idol tour they didn't play the US & after the 7th star touring issues I think this was a missed opprotunity to introduce Tony Martin to the US audiences - Headless Cross was a solid LP with a video that got airplay on MTV & radiio but again no major US tour supporting the LP. Tyr was another solid effort but again no major US tour. After this then came the short lived Dio reunion (Dehumanizer) then after Dio left finally the US got a proper tour supporting a good LP (Cross Purposes - this was the only time I got to see the Martin era live). Then came Forbidden (The weakest of the Tony martin Era LP's IMO) & at this time I think Tony Iommi was ready to reunite with Ozzy. I think if they had toured the US more during the Eternal Idol, Headless Cross, & Tyr time frame the Martin Era would have been more accepted by the US audiences but since they didn't a lot of US fans didn't give the Martin Era a proper chance like the European audiences did.

    Eternal Idol Tour dates - http://www.black-sabbath.com/tourdates/1987/index.htmli
    Headless Cross Tour dates - http://www.black-sabbath.com/tourdates/1989/index.html
    tyr Tour Dates - http://www.black-sabbath.com/tourdates/1990/index.html
    Cross Purposes Tour dates - http://www.black-sabbath.com/tourdates/1994/index.html
    Forbidden Tour Dates - http://www.black-sabbath.com/tourdates/1995/index.html
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    First off, I don't take the tack that the albums after Ozzy or after RJD aren't "Black Sabbath," any more than I take the tack that any Rainbow album after RJD "isn't Rainbow." Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi were the musical mainsprings of both bands. That said, I believe Ozzy did the impossible: coming back from the near-dead, finding an incredible talent (Randy Rhoads) and becoming highly successful. Ronnie James Dio also did after he left Sabbath, but for different reasons: he struck while the iron was hot and came out with an album of no-filler material (Holy Diver) that many regarded as the logical successor to Mob Rules moreso than Born Again.

    I can't speak for anywhere else; I know the Martin-era lineups were quite successful in Europe, but here in the U.S. hardly anyone even knew they existed. To the casual "fan" here, Black Sabbath only did one album (Paranoid) and the Live Aid gig in '85 was the last anyone heard of them until the late-'90s OzzFest gigs.

    Is there an element of closed-mindedness? Yes, because I've witnessed it. A friend of mine ran a record shop and he would play the TM era albums in the shop. More often than not people would hear it and enjoy it, but as soon as they found out it was Black Sabbath, they weren't interested. One guy even bought Cross Purposes and brought it back the next day for a refund (which he didn't get) and said "Ozzy's not on it, man, it sucks." I accept that there are people who simply listened and didn't enjoy, but I encountered a lot more of the situation I described.

    Is the band at least in part to blame? YES. To me, Tony Iommi shot the Martin-era lineup in the foot when he broke it up for the abortive reunion with Dio. I know that Headless Cross and Tyr didn't sell well here, but Iommi really didn't give them a chance...he cut the Headless Cross and Forbidden tours short and didn't even tour here for Eternal Idol or Tyr. I had some hope restored when TM came back for Cross Purposes and then Forbidden but again Iommi pulled the plug, this time to go back with Ozzy. Iommi of all people should know that it takes hard work to establish a new band (which the TM era essentially was) and it doesn't just happen overnight.

    The press didn't help. Many know about Kerrang! doing the piss-take of "Tom Jones Joins Black Sabbath" in April, 1988...around that time Sabbath were like the favourite band for the HM press to kick around. Here in the U.S. they were almost ignored. However, Kerrang! did give Headless Cross and its accompanying UK tour high marks.

    There was just a general lack of awareness that Black Sabbath still existed as a band. I saw the Cross Purposes tour with Motorhead and Morbid Angel supporting. It was a medium-sized theatre and it was full, though not sold out, but I have to wonder how many were there to see the two support bands. Sabbath played an excellent set, but Tony Martin even had to introduce himself to the audience. I remember a guy sitting near me said "I don't know who the hell this guy is singing, but he's great!"

    Record labels were a problem. Eternal Idol came out on Sabbath's long-time Warner Brothers label, but the other Martin-era albums came out on IRS Metal, which Miles Copeland had some part in, but they sure didn't do much promotion.

    For the most part, Tony Iommi hasn't said much about that era since the OzzFest and then Heaven And Hell time periods, except to say that he was sorry it was "so overlooked."

    Overlooked it is, and for at least as many reasons as I've named, probably more.
    He is not here. He has risen!

  28. #28
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    @Diosword:

    You seem to have made an error here in calling TM era a New Band. I thought it was the same band, different line-up, or whatever the party line is on that? In any case that's neither here nor there.

    If I may sum up part of your argument, the only way the band is to blame is that they didn't promote well enough and they didn't stay together long enough. Let's compare to the first few Sabbath albums which received almost zero promotion but still sold like gangbusters. It only took one album for them to become hugely popular. That had a lot to do with the era when they came out, their image was right for the time and so on, but maybe it also had something to do with the music? Likewise, maybe one reason the TM era didn't do so well was also the band's fault: they wrote music that a lot of people didn't like.

    If music taste is just that, taste, then yes, my opinion of the music is just that, a worthless opinion. Likewise, you saying the music was great is also just an opinion. Apparently, many people agree with my perception, if we are to judge by this music's place in the annals of rock history. Does that make my opinion better than yours? Of course not. However, the fact that not as many people agree with yours certainly doesn't make yours better either: There is no "better" here.

    I will also grant that there is no way to prove whether the reason the music is poorly regarded by most is because they truly didn't like it or because they were somehow biased (closed-minded, Paranoid lovers, that kind of thing.) Yeah I know, your buddy owned a record shop...sorry, if I don't take your profession of coming across lots and lots of people who were close minded there to be definitive proof that most people were close minded. Anecdotal evidence just doesn't cut it. Either way you look at it though, whatever the reason; that people were close-minded, Ozzy loving stupid asses, or that the music wasn't very good, or a combination of both, the end result is the same: lots of people didn't/don't like it. I'd guess that is a huge reason this music is forgotten.

    One further idea. Somebody not liking a Sabbath album because Ozzy is not on it is not necessarily simply close-mindedness. Say I buy a 12 pack of coke at the store and find out the cans are full of sprite. I might be a bit miffed. I expected one product and got another. Like it or not, Ozzy's voice was a huge part of the early Sabbath sound, and lots of people really liked his voice. Maybe that was even some people's favorite part of the sound? Somebody liking a different aspect of a band than you doesn't necessarily make them close minded.
    Last edited by Monster Boy; 09-01-2011 at 04:01 AM. Reason: added the sprite analogy

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monster Boy View Post
    @Diosword:

    Either way you look at it though, whatever the reason; that people were close-minded, Ozzy loving stupid asses, or that the music wasn't very good, or a combination of both, the end result is the same: lots of people didn't/don't like it. I'd guess that is a huge reason this music is forgotten.
    Just wanted to offer an argument to part of your statement here. I don't know, maybe I am way off based here. But I am willing to bet that the majority of people who call them selves Black Sabbath fans (with the exception of hard core fans) don't know who the fuck Tony Martin is or that he was in the band. So I feel it's an unfair assessment to put too much blame into the idea that the "music wasn't good". Music can't be judged as good or bad if it doesn't reach the ears of the people.
    I make the devil laugh and angels wail. Forever I will reside beyond the pale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cwilder86 View Post
    Music can't be judged as good or bad if it doesn't reach the ears of the people.
    I agree with you here. In this thread we are going a step further and asking why a lot of people today haven't heard this music, though. I think the fact that it didn't sell well has something to do with it, and I think that one factor in the poor sales that many here seem to discount is that many people who heard it at the time simply didn't like it, so they didn't go buy the next album, or tell their friends to buy it. I imagine that may have something to do with the music itself, other than just that the people are dumb asses, that's all. Take the statement you quoted in the context of what I wrote, you'll see what I mean I think. I shouldn't have said that the music wasn't very good, even if I was only saying that as an example though. Better to say that many people thought/think the music isn't very good.
    Last edited by Monster Boy; 09-01-2011 at 06:22 AM.

  31. #31
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    Monster Boy:

    I accept that you don't like the TM-era albums. I never said you had to.

    As to the first album v. the TM-era albums doing such different sales...I'm not sure how old you are, but the world in 1970 was a different place than in 1987-95. No-one had ever heard anything like the first Black Sabbath (or early Zeppelin, Purple, etc.) album. It wasn't just a new album, it was a new style. Radio and word-of-mouth played a much bigger role than they do today, or in the '80's/'90's. Here in the U.S. it was much, much, much more orientated toward marketing. My friend at the record shop had trouble getting the albums with Tony Martin, much less any promotional material, because there was very little provided by IRS Metal.

    Image also is a major player in success here in the States. Another anecdote: in 1987, when Gary Moore's album Wild Frontier came out, my friend was playing it in his shop...a couple of young girls listened and said "this is kinda cool, who is it?" My friend showed them the album cover and their attitude changed immediately "Eww...he's ugly!" and they weren't interested. Why do you think most of my countrymen weren't even aware that David Coverdale didn't exist before his Whitesnake 1987 album, much less the fact that he was in Deep Purple? He remade his image into the then-current "L.A. hair metal" mould, a'la Warrant, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, etc (as well as excising nearly all his blues roots).

    Ozzy's following here goes beyond the "fanboy" label. No joke - there was a guy I went to high school with who worshipped Ozzy so much that when Live Evil came out in 1982 he said "if I see that little fucker Ronnie James Dio I'll kill him for daring to do Master Ozzy's songs." That's stupid.

    Even when "grunge" hit, which was supposed to be non-image, it immediately became an image with girls trying to look like Courtney Love and guys not bathing, shaving, washing their hair and wearing the same check shirt for two weeks at a time.

    It may be shocking for me to say this, but my countrymen can be some of the shallowest people in the world. Deviance from the norm is frowned upon here to a great extent, especially in the ultra-homogenised entertainment industry. Bands that have been huge in other parts of the world - Thin Lizzy, UFO, pre-1987 Whitesnake, Gary Moore, pre-Joe Lynn Turner Rainbow - either have a cult following here or are unknown, because they don't have the "right" image. Even your countrymen, Scorpions, only had a cult following here until the Love At First Sting era when they toned their heaviness down and adopted a more MTV-friendly image. It's hard for me to believe the band that did "Still Loving You" is (essentially) the same band that did "The Sails Of Charon."

    I say this because to so many of my countrymen, the image is Ozzy=Black Sabbath and Black Sabbath=Ozzy's backing band. Do I think it's stupid? You're damned right I do...and that's just my opinion. I really doubt that if Heaven and Hell had used the Black Sabbath name they would have done as well here as they did. It would have been a no-win situation: they'd have been expected to do "Iron Man," etc., and then the Ozzy loyalists would have savaged them for doing so.

    In great part, the TM lineups didn't have the right "image." Conversely, again I mention the guy at the 1994 gig who didn't know who Tony Martin was but liked him.

    I don't agree with your "Coke/Sprite" analogy because the guy who bought Cross Purposes and then returned it knew Ozzy wasn't on it, and my friend was playing the album regularly in the shop so buyers could hear it.

    Yes, I do believe the TM era was a "new" band in many senses...Tony Iommi was the only original member left. Tony Martin was a new talent. Ultimately Iommi assembled a crew of veterans of other bands (Murray, Powell, Rondinelli) - but as has been pointed out, he owned the rights to the Black Sabbath name and had every right to use it. Would he have done better here if he'd gone out under a different name? Probably (Heaven And Hell) or maybe not (how many people here bought Fused, which Geezer Butler called "a good Sabbath album?).

    So, for what it's worth, that's my shit thrown at the wall...whether it sticks or not I'm not too concerned with (meaning: this is my last word on the subject).

    I doubt I've changed your mind, because I didn't intend to, and you haven't changed mine, so let's leave it at that.
    He is not here. He has risen!

  32. #32

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    Prejudice towards Sabbath without Ozzy or Dio is most likely one reason. There most certainly are people who don't even give the albums a proper chance just because they don't think those albums deserve the name Black Sabbath. And even if they do give thema chance, they let those prejudices affect the listening experience.

    There are other factors too: the lack of proper marketing, production values of the albums and etc. A thing most Sabbath fans seem to dismiss is that Martin in fact was the first Sabbath singer who hadn't really made a career before stepping in to Sabbath. I don't count Gillen and others since they hadn't recorded albums with Sabbath during their stints. And isn't it one hell of a task to front a band while knowing that all the singers preceeding you were legendary figure in the rock world? No one's denying that Martin was more than a capable vocalist, but when an obscure singer suddenly join a legendary band and tries to replace the likes of Ozzy, Dio and Gillan the public usually have their doubts. And add that Martin joined during maybe Sabbath's most confusing period, is it a wonder this particular line-up didn't achieve a lot of commercial success.

    Then there's the most central area: the music itself. I've shared my thoughts of this topic numerous times already, so I'll just quote myself from an old post in the "What's Your Favorite Tony Martin Album" thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by -E5150 StarWanderer- View Post
    Cross Purposes for me, great album from the songwriting to the performances and production.

    While Headless Cross and Eternal Idol are very strong albums, they lack one important factor that Cross Purposes has: the Geezer factor. I've said it to death, but Iommi and Geezer to me are the soul of Sabbath. And like I said, Eternal Idol, Headless Cross - and to a lesser extent TYR - do have great material but they just aren't the real Sabbath to my ears. And as great as those albums are, they pale in comparison with the classic albums from the Ozzy and Dio years. But then again, it is unfair for a majority of the albums in this universe to be compared to those masterpieces This and the fact that Iommi was the only original member left (and hence all the discussion whether those albums are truly Sabbath albums) is why I think those albums would have been received better back then and be considered being better now if they would have been released under a different banner.

    Again, I'm repeating the same old mantra that some of you may have heard from me on multiple occasions, so I apologize if I bore you
    "The consequence of conscience/Is that you'll be left somewhere/Swinging in the air"-Ronnie James Dio (1942-2010) R.I.P. King Of Metal
    "Just take a look around you what do you see/Pain, suffering, and misery/It's not the way that the world was planned/It's a pity you don't understand" - Geezer Butler
    "If god is in heaven/How can this happen here" - Phil Lynott (1949-1986)

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiosSword View Post
    Monster Boy:

    I accept that you don't like the TM-era albums. I never said you had to.
    Arrrrggghhhh! That was not the point of my post at all. Nor was the point to get you to agree with my view of the music. I truly hope it didn't come across that way. My point was...well, anybody can go back and read for themselves what my point was, but I'll summarize once more for convenience sake.

    I agree with many things you say about the image being wrong and hair metal and grunge and so on, nice insights, and that certainly was a roadblock to TM era success. Even what you say about mindless Ozzy fans getting in the way may have a nugget of truth. I simply disagree with the underlying premise that the music deserved to be noticed, ie. I believe that many of those who made it past all the image hurdles simply did not like the music because of the music itself.

    I guess the only evidence I have is that I know this was the case for me and several people I was friends with at the time HC was released. I imagine that we were not total freaks in that regard. And I could, of course, be completely wrong here, maybe we were all just brainwashed Americans who thought we had valid reasons but were really just biased, MTV puppets. Really, I’m not being facetious here. Maybe I still am brainwashed, maybe I have to be or otherwise I would love the TM era, just like that guy at the concert in 1994 (okay, maybe a little facetious). My disliking it “just because of the music” is anecdotal evidence if I’ve ever seen it though, truly! No reason for you to believe that. So I don’t really value my own opinion all that much and I wouldn’t go on about it if you didn’t keep coming at us with arguments like the following:

    Ozzy's following here goes beyond the "fanboy" label. No joke - there was a guy I went to high school with who worshipped Ozzy so much that when Live Evil came out in 1982 he said "if I see that little fucker Ronnie James Dio I'll kill him for daring to do Master Ozzy's songs." That's stupid

    So let me get this straight: you went to school with a crazy dude, who actually called him Master Ozzy (sounds a little far-fetched to me, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt). I'm sorry to hear that. The "therefore Ozzy fans in the US are all crazy" or whatever you are deriving from that also makes me sorry to hear. And things like:

    I don't agree with your "Coke/Sprite" analogy because the guy who bought Cross Purposes and then returned it knew Ozzy wasn't on it, and my friend was playing the album regularly in the shop so buyers could hear it.

    So since the analogy doesn't hold in this one case you are pledging to have witnessed, then the idea of people not getting what they expect when they buy a product is completely invalid. Gotcha.

    Finally, so my punishment will fit the crime, and because I simply cannot resist, I will leave off with this:

    Quote Originally Posted by DiosSword View Post
    No-one had ever heard anything like the first Black Sabbath (or early Zeppelin, Purple, etc.) album. It wasn't just a new album, it was a new style.
    Well, I wasn't going to say anything but yeah, TM era Black Sabbath certainly weren't new or exciting in any way, were they? Thanks for pointing that out. (Come now, I had to get in at least one dig about the music!)

    Now that I got that out of my system, just one last thought. How would you react if I said most people who like the TM era have been brainwashed by the Black Sabbath logo into thinking music that is total shit is actually great? Or because they read some article in which Tony Iommi said “I think this new album is the best one I’ve ever done” and they have a man crush on Tony Iommi. Or because they’ve observed that the higher ups here in the forums seem to like the TM era. In other words, that their opinions are not based on their actual perceptions, but rather on social status cues or on the fact that they are mere sheeple. You’d feel the need to speak up and say something right? (Disclaimer: I didn’t actually make any of those arguments, nor do I.)

    Here's to differing opinions! Peace out.
    Last edited by Monster Boy; 09-01-2011 at 02:04 PM.

  34. #34

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    If Ray Gillen were still alive during the Eternal Idol recordings then probably Tony Martin was out of the options. Personally I like Tony Martin more than Ozzy. Tony made Sabbath as doomy as it sounds

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    Quote Originally Posted by CardinalDoom View Post
    If Ray Gillen were still alive during the Eternal Idol recordings then probably Tony Martin was out of the options. Personally I like Tony Martin more than Ozzy. Tony made Sabbath as doomy as it sounds
    Ray was still alive, he just decided to leave because of bad management. After Ian then Glenn, I think people just thought if it wasn't Ozzy or Dio it wasn't worth checking out.

  36. #36

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    I would hazard a guess that another reason why this era was overlooked was the lack of continuity of ANY personnel except for Iommi and Nicholls.... and Nicholls wasn't even credited as a full member most of the time. I mean, if you're not a "follower" of the band, but a casual fan, and you see a new release and go look at it, and look at the lineup on the back and go "Tony Iommi, Who? Who? Who??!!" there is a good chance that the next thing out of your mouth will be "WTF is this?!" ...which is quite sad.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by fondula View Post
    I would hazard a guess that another reason why this era was overlooked was the lack of continuity of ANY personnel except for Iommi and Nicholls.... and Nicholls wasn't even credited as a full member most of the time. I mean, if you're not a "follower" of the band, but a casual fan, and you see a new release and go look at it, and look at the lineup on the back and go "Tony Iommi, Who? Who? Who??!!" there is a good chance that the next thing out of your mouth will be "WTF is this?!" ...which is quite sad.
    Yes, that would be a top reason, adding to this though, people who are fans of hard rock/metal in general should know a lot of the people on the albums anyway, since they were all already established musicians, other than Martin not having notoriety yet.
    Originally Posted by Monster Boy

    Depends on who is doing the rating. If they agree with me, they've rated it just right.

  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pink Led Rush Dio View Post
    Yes, that would be a top reason, adding to this though, people who are fans of hard rock/metal in general should know a lot of the people on the albums anyway, since they were all already established musicians, other than Martin not having notoriety yet.
    That's true if you're talking about Cozy Powell for example, but not so much with, say, the Eternal Idol lineup (at the time that album came out).

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by fondula View Post
    That's true if you're talking about Cozy Powell for example, but not so much with, say, the Eternal Idol lineup (at the time that album came out).
    Well, that's bologna, you can't tell me Eric Singer and Bob Daisley weren't already established musicians.
    Originally Posted by Monster Boy

    Depends on who is doing the rating. If they agree with me, they've rated it just right.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by fondula View Post
    I would hazard a guess that another reason why this era was overlooked was the lack of continuity of ANY personnel except for Iommi and Nicholls.... and Nicholls wasn't even credited as a full member most of the time. I mean, if you're not a "follower" of the band, but a casual fan, and you see a new release and go look at it, and look at the lineup on the back and go "Tony Iommi, Who? Who? Who??!!" there is a good chance that the next thing out of your mouth will be "WTF is this?!" ...which is quite sad.
    I totally agree. that's how I reacted. (And i listened to a lot of metal then, and loved the ozzy era, and really liked Dio.) And as a quite young man without a lot of money, I bought more "safe" records, I think.

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