Black Sabbath Ex Tony Martin Recalls Band’s ‘Low Point’ Era
Former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin recalled joining Tony Iommi at a time when the British icons were enduring their “low point,” but argued that he’d helped open the band up to new territories.
Martin was aboard from 1987 to 1991 then again from 1993 to 1997, originally taking over from Glenn Hughes, in a period when Iommi was the only original member in the lineup. He appeared on Sabbath studio albums The Eternal Idol, Headless Cross, Tyr, Cross Purposes and Forbidden – most of which appear towards the bottom of catalog ranking lists, with the exception of 1989’s Headless Cross, which is often regarded as underrated.
“It was a pleasure and an honor to be part of the band’s history,” Martin wrote in response to an Ultimate Guitar Facebook posting about a feature on his era. “Most bands have gone through changes … pun intended … But Sabbath was one that did more than most.”
He said that, by the time he joined, “the band had been mostly exhausted … financially credibly and territorially” and noted there had been four other vocalists between Ozzy Osbourne’s dismissal in 1979 and his arrival eight years later. “It was a low point and when I joined them it really was a challenge,” he admitted. However, he continued: “What we were able to do was capture territories that [were] not normally strong for Sabbath… We opened up Russia and Asia and Europe… the Eastern block was opening, and South America and Korea… We worked hard to get the name back up and did some great works.”
He described Headless Cross as “significant” for the presence of iconic drummer Cozy Powell, and as a result, “[w]e did lift the band again… to the point where it was set for a reunion with the original members which is the only other place they could go!” In summary, he added that his era had been “important in the band’s history.”