Movement with Tony Martin?

Those of you who have been following my site for awhile know I have an affinity for the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath.  I’ve long since been a proponent that there’s far more to Black Sabbath’s history than the time that Oz & Ronnie were behind the microphone.   However, since they got back together with Ozzy some years ago, the other parts of the band’s history are virtually ignored, or seemingly forgotten about.  So it was with much pleasure earlier today that I read that something might be happening here.Before I get to the exciting new stuff, I wanted to briefly talk about the Cozy Powell ceremony the other day.

Cozy Powell PlaqueOn Thursday the 7th, there was a ceremony where a plaque for Cozy Powell was dedicated.  You can see the plaque to the right.   It was attended by numerous folks who played with Cozy, were his friends, or something along those lines.  Brian May spoke at the ceremony, and gave a very nice speech about Cozy.  You can read Brian’s words here.  Speaking of Brian May & Cozy Powell..  If you never checked out the two studio albums Brian released in the mid 90’s, you’re doing yourself a MAJOR EPIC DISSERVICE.  These albums are fucking brilliant.  I speak of “Back to the Light” and “Another World”.  I mean go watch this.  It’s the song Resurrection, which was originally a Cozy Powell solo track, but it was re-recorded and Brian may added vocals, and it turned up on the “Back to the Light” album.

Anyway, several people spoke at the ceremony, two of which were Tony Iommi & Brian May.  I suggest you check out these videos:

One last thing about Cozy Powell.  I had a personal relationship with Cozy.  Back when he was alive, he rung me up from England at my desk at my job, and asked me about doing a website for him.  He was the first.  I had this site first, but of the other people I’ve worked with on websites, Cozy was the first.   I will never forget my shock at having Cozy Bloody Powell ring me up at work to talk.  Blew my mind.  I will echo what others have said, he was nothing but nice to me.  Wish I could have met him face to face, but I’ll treasure the year or so we worked together before he tragically died in 1998.

Anyway, back to why I started writing.

Of most relevance to visitors to this site, in attendance at this ceremony were some Sabbath folks.  It was Tony Iommi, Brian May (played on Headless Cross album), Neil Murray (played on a couple of Martin era albums), Don Airey (played on the Never Say Die Album), and Tony Martin.  Tony Martin of course sang vocals on five studio and one live album under the Sabbath name, spanning 1987-1995.   As I said above, his era is all but forgotten about.  When Universal records released Deluxe/remasters of the Sabbath catalogue, the only Tony Martin album to be released was Eternal Idol, and THAT was only because it was the final album under the original Black Sabbath record contract from 1969/1970.   The rest were on another contract/label (IRS), and would require something new to be hammered out for them.  I know work had been done towards releasing them, and I wrote about that a couple of years ago.

But still, as time marches on, and with the Tony Martin albums long out of print (save for Eternal Idol), his era becomes more forgotten.  Something that has bothered me for some time.   Now I know Tony Iommi is not about to go out and confuse the issue with pushing that era of Black Sabbath when the “current” Black Sabbath is doing what it’s doing with Ozzy.

So the Tony Martin era remains mostly buried, unfortunately.   Tony Martin himself has mentioned his era being forgotten a few times in recent years, and as a fan of his era, I’m bummed about that.  Still, I have all the recordings, so it’s not like I can’t hear the stuff anymore.

When I saw a picture turn up of Tony Martin & Tony Iommi together at the Cozy Powell ceremony, I wondered how they were.  By all accounts, they haven’t talked much in the last decade or so, certainly not at any kind of length.   Then, to my surprise, I saw this post by Tony Martin on his own Facebook page.

Well what a great day ... :) .. i attended the unveiling of Cozy Powells memorial plaque in his home town of...

Posted by Tony Martin on Friday, January 8, 2016

First off, it was just nice to read they had a pleasant conversation.  Tony Martin (rightfully so) has been miffed about his era being effectively buried.  So that they had a pleasant conversation was something very nice to read.

But more excitingly was Tony M’s line of “….. and it turns out we may well be working together soon!!!” that got me all worked up.   First off, this is NO GUARANTEE anything is happening.  There’s tons of projects out there that people talk about getting together and working on that never actually materialize (the 2005 GZR Band & Tony Iommi band tour leaps to mind).  Still, it’s the first bit of any kind of news we’ve had about the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath in bloody ages.

What form do I think this could take?  That’s hard to tell.   This is like the first proto steps towards “let’s do something”.  So I’d be surprised if even THEY knew what form this could take.   But there’s a few thoughts that come to mind.

  • Remasters: Tony Martin participates in the remasters of his era of Black Sabbath.   As I said earlier, I’ve written about this subject (in great detail) before.  Unfortunately, that article still stands, as nothing has happened with that situation.  If you’ve never read my article on that, you should.   I know after the 2016 tour is over, Tony will be going back to “other projects”.  This can certainly be one of them, and it would be great to have Tony Martin participate in the remaster series, offering new memories, and whatnot.
  • Live Shows: They could play a live show or three.  Of the Tony Martin era, other than Cozy, they’re all still alive.  The Eternal Idol aside, the Tony Martin era had two drummers – Cozy Powell & Bobby Rondinelli.  Cozy is sadly no longer with us, but Bobby is.  You could put together a lineup of Martin / Iommi / Murray / Rondinelli / Nicholls and play a few shows here and there.   Now, I fully believe the truth about Tony Iommi and Sabbath “ending” for the reasons stated.  Tours like that are hell on him because of the cancer treatments and whatnot.  I could see him doing a small handful of shows here and there. If they want to play it the way the 2000’s Dio era played, it they could go out under the name “Headless Cross”.  Tony Martin actually tried that himself a couple of years ago, but promoters bailed on it, and the project fizzled.
  • Studio Work: This, in my opinion, is the most likely possibility.  They don’t live all that far from each other.  Now what form this would take is unknown.  Would it be a full fledged album, or perhaps an extra track or two to toss onto the Remasters (perhaps some deluxe box with all of them together and a handful of new tracks)?
  • Tony Martin’s solo album: Tony’s been working for awhile on a third solo album entitled “Book of Shadows”.  It could be Tony Iommi making an appearance on that album.

But if you’re reading this, understand THIS IS PERSONAL SPECULATION.  I haven’t even talked to them at all about this stuff.  I have no news, nothing I’m holding back here.  Just thinking out loud here with the ideas above.

But no matter what comes of it, at least the ice has been broken and the two Tony’s are talking again.  I’d love to see any number of my three options happen.  But hey, let’s shoot for the moon and have ALL OF THEM happen in some combined project.  That’d be badass!  If you agree, please leave a comment here about it.  I’ll be sure to pass the feedback on.


tonymartin2015Tony Martin & Tony Iommi 2016


  1. Don Airey played on Never Say Die? I thought it was Jezz Woodruffe.

    • Woodruffe played on Technical Ecstasy and that our. Don played on the Never Say Die album. Check the album credits, assuming you have the album.

  2. Donna Jennings says

    Have to agree with you I Loved the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath. Tonys voice is Fantastic so strong & powerful. Couldn’t resist watching the video of the Headless Cross what a Great song. Its a real pity Sabbath are ending have Loved them forever hence my nick Sabbynib. Hope Iommi & Martin do something. Tks for posting the video its been ages since I saw it on a Black Sabbath history CD. That’s when I first clappped eyes on Tony Cozy Toni May. Can’t tell you how many times I re wound it lol.

  3. I like the Black Sabbath albums with Tony Martin, though I always thought they should have been released under another name (no Bill Ward and mostly without Geezer).
    They are great albums for the NWOBH.
    “Iternal Idol” don’t really fit 100% to Tonys’s voice, as it was written for Ray Gillen, but was fine. expecially “The Shining”. “Headless Cross” was a fantastic Rock album and “Tyr” as well as “Cross Purposes” were very fine. “Forbidden” was an one-off experiment, which I don’t like at all. But they all wrere not really “Black Sabbath” (which I also think for the albums with Dio)…

    I think Martin was better in the studio as live, but he became live better and better, although after BS.
    (PS: I don’t like the behaviour of Tony, Tony and Cozy to fans after the concerts. They ignore the fans at all. Neil and Geoff were real gentlements, these days).

    BUT I never forgot of these albums, and it’s a pity that they are no m ore availble and ignored by the press.
    It would be great, if there would something happeln with both Tony’s together again.. in any collaboration. I would like to see remaster ans bonus tracks of the albums.

    But as with Joe Lynn Turner (better studio than live) the new words from Martin reminds me on Turner, who always spoke about a forthcoming collaboration between him and Blackmore and a possible Raibow reunion, but as we know he will not be part of the “reunion” of Rainbow (which is a new band in my opinion).

    The Tony’s spoke the first time together for a few minutes and Martin forsees a new collabaration? Caution – better be quiet until something becomes real.

    But great that you remember on Martin and some great Rock albums.

  4. Jeff Boutin says

    Joe, as a true Sabbath fan for as long as you ( circa H&H / Mob Rules), I also totaly follow you on this special affection for Tony Martin’s Sab Era. I remember so well watching for the very first time The Shinning video back then and being blown away by the greatness of that song! I personnaly think that this period of Iommi mastery is full of hidden gems like Lost Forever, Ancient Warrior, Devil & Daughter, Anno Mundi, Jerusalem, etc, even Feels good to me (minus the vid!). So to even think of a possible “kind of” future collaboration between the Tonys is just great. But Martin’s known for being a fast & loud talker… I just wish this time it is indeed smart wording! Don’t want to read later that Iommi’s been again scrambled by Martin’s blabbermouthing, because true Sab fans need this dream to materialize! Hail post-1979 Sabbath marks!!!

  5. That is great news, Joe! I love Tony Martin’s era of Black Sabbath, and Headless Cross is one of my favourite Sabbath albums. Unfortunately, I’ve never had a chance of having me a legal copy of the album. So those remasters/reissues couldn’t come soon enough for me to correct that horrible mistake. All your ideas are sound awesome, and if -any- of them would materialize someday it would be a dream come true. Best wishes to both Tonys with holidays past. Rest in peace, Cozy.

  6. John A. Mucera says

    Hello! Have not sent reply to your site in quite a while! Kinds like Tony M. and Tony I. not having any conversation for a long time/LOL! Anyhow, not overly concerned about any live shows at this stage of some of these guys lives, but most definitely agree with many of your wishful comments for new project songs /etc.. including finally seeing the (1987-1995) Black Sabbath era material officially REMASTERED ahead including bonus and unreleased songs along with some selective best Live tracks! Again, hope it happens for all Sabbath legacy fans (like me/etc..) out there waiting! Let’s keep our fingers crossed!? Cheers!

  7. In 1990 i bought my first Black Sabbath record. Tyr with Tony Martin on vocals. Great album with a great singer, and from that moment i have been a fanatical Black Sabbath fan( both the Ozzy, Dio and Tony martin area). I’m verry pleased to hear , that Tony Iommi and Tony martin are on good terms again, like Tony Iommi made peace with both Ozzy and Dio (RIP). I hope they will make a great album again.

  8. It’s great to see that after a 15 year period @ the Cozy memorial day that a number of musos got together to celebrate Cozy’s life and times. I guess it will be interesting to see once Black Sabbath call it a day after their
    final world tour whether Tony I will continue touring or if he does on a smaller scale, but as suggested we all have our fave Sabbath eras, but gee i must admit there is some great material “hidden” with Tony The Cat Martin, will they eventually get together and record? Let’s hope so, either way it’s good news they’re on good speaking terms after 15 years, here’s hoping there will be something on the horizon

  9. Carl Palmer said in a interview I read a year or two ago, that he was asked to drum on the 13 album. He said he would have done it, but for other commitments at that time. He also said he has always loved the primal heavy riff thing with Sabbath, from way back in the early 70’s. So with Martin possibly back on the scene for a recording & possibly a handful of gigs, There’s your drummer! Throw Neil Murray back in on bass & pronto!
    It is all so easy thinking about it, it would be nice if it happened though! Here’s hoping!

  10. I was there when Joe got the phone call from Cozy Powell for the first time, and I can verify how giddy and excited he was. It was basically “Guess who just called me?!” As a longtime fan of Cozy’s, hell, I was excited, too!

    Joe’s also got copies of a show I saw with Emerson, Lake, and Powell in ’86, the only time I got to see Cozy play.

  11. I was lucky enough to see Sabbath when they toured for Forbidden,wish they had played Toronto for Cross Purposes as well.I did get to see the Reunion tour which was a dream come true.That being said I have all of the Martin era stuff and would love for him and Iommi to work together again.I always thought Martin was the best suited to sing for Sabbath,although Gillian is up there as well.

  12. I would love to see Tony Iommi and Tony Martin do something again! The Martin era Sabbath is truly underrated and I for one, was proudly waving the Sabbath banner during those years. I greatly anticipated every release and bought them as soon as they hit the local record store. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to see that version of the band live. Here’s to hoping they work together in some way, shape or form together in the future.

  13. I completely agree with your words. I love Tony Martin was in Black Sabbath. In an interview in my country, Argentina, said that Sabbath was a huge book where he (Tony Martin) appears in some chapters and would like to appear in the last chapter. Hopefully.

  14. This is Great….. i would love to see the Cross Purposes Dvd Reissued.. and a double disc of all the TM Era Music….
    Live shows are also something i would love to see after never really haveing a chance to see any thing TM can do live [other than the Youtube stuff]
    sad part is i would guess this is all at Least 2 years away due to the Tour With Oz….
    [i hope to see the Toronto Show since i had to Cancel my Trip to Omaha]
    Either way… its good the too of them Talked…
    it has been to long….

  15. Matti Vehmas says

    This is the first Sabbath related news in years that has really got me excited! I was introduced to BS first by some my father’s old cassettes, there were Paranoid and Iron Man on those at least. But it was still a few years on when I got hold of the Headless Cross album that I was really blown away. And from that moment on I’ve been mostly into the Martin era, though I love everything they’ve done. It’s a shame how Tony Martin and his time in the band have been treated but it’s great the two Tonys are on good terms again. Hopefully something comes of it, re-releases of the era with bonus material, new material, live shows, it would all be more than amazing!

  16. Matt Dennett says

    Yes please! I hope this comes through, TM deserves it. Even if its just a collaboration on the re-releases of HC, Tyr, CP and Forbidden that would be enough for me and I would buy them all straight away – a box set would be awesome, with live tracks and updated booklets. Now…if they do some new recordings that would be even better of course. IF this happens I personally would like them to recruit new young blood into the project, a young drummer bassist and keyboardist. Young blood seems to fire up aged musicians and gives a project a fresh kick up arse! And there would be literally many thousands of talented people out there who would kill for such a chance to shine. I wait for further news….

  17. I’ve got a more funny but killer option: Heaven & Hell Mark II with Tony Martin! :)

  18. Definetely it’d be a blast!! Hope they bring it on! Honestly, I’m more excited about this possible project than the final BS tour…

  19. I would guess that there might be a “Tony Martin years” compilation or something in the works, and Iommi may have an idea of recording a couple of new songs for it.

  20. Um Hell Yeah! Tony Martin Remasters/Deluxe Versions, I’ve wanted for ages! But a TM Sabbath Reunion and play a few shows I’d totally be down for, as a fan of all eras that’s the line up I’d go an see to hear all 3 main eras of Sabbath played live

  21. Matt Dennett says

    Mr T Martin – if you collaborate on the album re releases PLEASE try to persuade TI to use the footage from Gzira Malta in ’95 as a dvd extra!!!
    1. Awesome show
    2. Brilliant set list
    3. Great crowd
    4. All the best tracks are yours Tony!
    5. Bobby and Neil do a sterling job on drums and bass
    6. Geoff is included, singing backing vocals and playing back up guitar!
    7. Big smiles all round, TI seems to be really enjoying it
    8. Ok its a “small” gig with just a backdrop curtain and smaller guitar and bass rigs, but the quality of the set,venue, and musicianship make up for all that.

    I would love this show cleaned up, mastered, and edited for dvd – it tops the Cross Purposes live video I think (even tho Geezer was playing on that), everyone seems to enjoying it much more.
    Plus it features the two best tracks off Forbidden, Get a Grip and Cant get Close Enough.

  22. Tony Martin’s era o Black Sabbath was the first for me to hear (Cross Purposes in 1994), and they were the first rock/metal band that really hit me. Even when this stuff wasn’s as groundbreaking like classic albums or those with Dio, still it’s really great piece of music. Idea that Iommi might work again with Martin is thrilling. Let’s wait and see.

  23. If there’s one thing that bothered me about the reunion with Ozzy, is precisely the fact that the Sabbath deluxe reprints were stopped. I love the TM era. First time I saw Black Sabbath live, it was the Cross Purposes Tour and I was blown away. I still have the original cassette tape for that album and Forbidden, as well as the CD for Tyr, but I would by any reprint in an instant, because those are great records that deserve to be out there, be heard, be purchased.

  24. Matt Dennett says

    Exactly right Dario. My first Sabs gig was on the HC tour, we NEED these albums re-issuing, I too have them all already but would gladly buy them all again. My original copy of CP is also on cassette which I still have! Fingers crossed that it happens and it includes Forbidden.

  25. Always good to hear about Tony Martin. Some of the best Sabbath ever recorded.

  26. I saw the Born Again, Seventh Star, Headless Cross, Cross Purposes & the Forbidden tours in Cleveland, Oh. Born Again was wild and odd,but in a good way. The Seventh Star tour was awful- I think it was Glen Hughes first night and it stunk so bad I thought I would never go see Sabbath again. The Headless Cross show is out there on video shot from the audience- it was really good and made me appreciate Tony Martin as the new singer for Sabbath. Cross Purposes and Forbidden had Motorhead as the opener & at the Cross Purposes show both bands were excellent ,even though there was talk of Ozzy re joining the band prior to that album. There were even bootleg t shirts being sold on the street with Ozzy on them, oops. The Headless Cross & Cross Purposes shows were totally great with Cross Purposes being really outstanding. The Forbidden show was really good to – I loved When Death Calls
    and they did a cool version of it & Rusty Angles was good too. The thing I loved about that era was Tony Martin was happy to sing songs from any era of Black Sabbath. With Ozzy- No Dio, with Dio- no Tony Martin ( and no Ozzy tunes during the Heaven and Hell era ) and Tony Martin sang them all really well. Plus, TYR is a rocking release too!

  27. Joe, have you thought the possibility that Tony Martin gets on stage with Iommi, Geezer and Ozzy on the End tour? It would be amazing if they would play some Tony Martin era classics while Ozzy is resting… :-)

  28. A reunion with Tony Martin would be great to see. If Bobby Rondinelli could join as drummer all the better. Bobby has been active on Long Island, where he’s from. He recently played at 89 North in Patchogue with George Cintron. They did a kick ass version of Heaven and Hell. BTW – they were the opening band for Live Wire, an AC/DC tribute band that is top notch, but now we’re talking about a different band. Back to Sabbath. If any of the possibilities you speculate on come to be, I’d be very happy. I agree with other posters that would like to see (or rather hear) cuts from concerts in Moscow (1989) or Malta (1995) with Martin as bonus tracks or even the full concerts as part of a box set. Thanks for keeping this site going.

  29. Alex Tindall says

    I’d love to see Tony I and Tony M working together on something again. Black Sabbath was the first metal band I really got into, in the early 2000s and I was lucky enough to pick up copies of the Tony Martin albums while they were still fairly easily available in Britain. Much underrated albums – I’m a particular fan of Tyr, but even Forbidden, which usually gets a very negative press, has some cracking songs. As you say, it’s good to hear that they’re on friendly terms again, regardless of any collaboration that may or may not happen.

  30. Aaron McMahon says

    This may have been updated – or just hearsay – but I read this earlier on here (via a link from Tony Martin’s Facebook page).

  31. earthdog70 says
  32. Robert Cam says

    it would be awesome to watch them playing together again. What about the following line-up:

    Tony Iommi, Tony Martin, Geoff Nicolls, Vinny Appice and Joe Burt….( i love Joe Burt).

    Keep on praying for Iron Man….!!!

    They should call themseves Sabbath Stones…!!!

  33. Robert Cam says

    Tony Martin is such a great vocalist…..

  34. Headless Cross is of my favourite all times albuns.
    I would certainly get my copy if there would be a new collaboration between these two great musicians.

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