Ailing Black Sabbath co-founder Tony Iommi thanked fans for their outpouring of good wishes in a statement — and vowed to continue to work on a long-awaited project featuring the band’s original lineup despite his recent lymphoma diagnosis.
Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler were at work in Los Angeles on their first album together since 1978’s Never Say Die when doctors found the presence of lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the network of lymph nodes. The other members of Black Sabbath, along with producer Rick Rubin, have said they will now join Iommi in the UK to wrap up the new project.
Here is Iommi’s statement:
My fans, friends & colleagues -
I just want to say how overwhelmed I am with all your messages of support, thank you so much.
Well it’s not what I wanted for Christmas, that’s for sure, but now I can’t wait for the test results to come in and get going with the treatment.
It’s really good that the guys are coming over so that we can continue working on the album as things are going great in the studio.
Well, not much else to say at this time, so thanks again.
Bless you all,
Here’s a look back at previous thoughts on Black Sabbath, and related solo projects. Click though the title for complete reviews …
BLACK SABBATH – SABOTAGE (1975): The end of Sabotage also begins the fade out of the Ozzy era of the band. Though the two records that followed both have their moments, it wasn’t until 1980 and the entrance of Dio that the band put out another truly amazing record with a sound so altered that, at times, it would be hard to identify the music as Sabbath. There’s also a very powerful argument to be made for that record as the band’s best, but I’ll save that one for another time. Sabotage isn’t likely to overtake the groundbreaking debut record or the hit-filled Paranoid as Sabbath’s best work in most people’s minds, and I understand that. But the next time you’re looking for a Sabbath fix, dig a little deeper and give it a listen, especially if you haven’t heard it in a while. It might just be a much better record than you remember. — Fred Phillips
BLACK SABBATH – THE DIO YEARS (2007): While I was aware of the Ronnie James Dio-fronted version of the band, I just never got around to checking them out. I moved on from being a metal die-hard for a while to other things, but in recent years have been slowly re-integrating a lot of older metal material. What we’ve got here is five tracks from Heaven and Hell, four from Mob Rules, three from Dehumanizer, one from Live Evil, and three brand-new songs that Dio wrote. So, finally, after all this time, the Dio-era Sabbath is finding a home in my collection. — Tom Johnson
OZZY OSBOURNE – BLIZZARD OF OZZ/ DIARY OF A MADMAN (1980/81): In my opinion, Diary of a Madman is Ozzy’s finest hour outside of Black Sabbath. While his debut had a few duds — “No Bone Movies” comes immediately to mind, and though it may seem like sacrilege to some fans, I’ve never liked “Revelation (Mother Earth),” either — Diary is a far more consistent record from beginning to end, and there’s not a single track that I skip every listen. 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz, of course, features some of Ozzy’s best-known songs, including “I Don’t Know,” “Mr. Crowley” and perhaps his most recognizable solo hit, “Crazy Train.” It also features one of my personal favorite guitar instrumentals, Randy Rhoads’ neo-classical jaunt, “Dee.” — Fred Phillips
WHOCARES, FEATURING TONY IOMMI AND IAN GILLAN – OUT OF MY MIND (2011): For all the mediocre music he shelled out under the Black Sabbath name following the departure of Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi is making amends later in life. His reunion of the Dio-era Sabbath lineup under the name Heaven and Hell a few years ago produced the best Black Sabbath record (and it was Sabbath, no matter what the cover said) since the same lineup reunited in 1992 for Dehumanizer. With WhoCares, he’s back together with Ian Gillan, who fronted Sabbath briefly after Dio left, for a great charity record to benefit the rebuilding of a music school in Armenia that was destroyed by a massive earthquake in 1988. — Fred Phillips
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