During the very lean years of Black Sabbath (the late ’80s up through the late ’90s), there was one singer that Tony Iommi could rely on most when reunions, or talk of reunions, with Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie James Dio would inevitably fall through. That man’s name is Tony Martin. There’s a surprising number of official (and unofficial) lead singers for Black Sabbath. Obviously, you can put Ozzy and Dio at the top, but I would rank Tony Martin at #3. While you can say Tony Martin lacked the star power and onstage charisma of Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio, you cannot deny his abilities as a singer. In a band that can boast having rock vocal legends Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillan, and Glenn Hughes as singers, Tony Martin can hold his own in the vocal department. He is easily one of my favorite vocalists of all time and he still sounds great to this day.
Black Sabbath has been the subject of countless compilations and box sets and those sets will either focus on the band’s years with Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie Jame Dio. For a while, Black Sabbath albums were getting deluxe edition reissues. So far, all of the Tony Martin releases, only The Eternal Idol has received the deluxe treatment. Tony Iommi stated years ago he intends to get all of the Martin albums reissued, but who knows how much of a priority that is. Iommi said in the past that he would like to remix Forbidden, while Martin has stated in recent years he would like to re-record the entire album and add new lyrics. It would be very cool to see that actually happen (or to see any project from the two Tonys happen).
But, with not much from the Tony Martin era happening for the moment, I’ve decided to put together my own “best of” compilation called Black Sabbath: The Tony Martin Years.
Black Sabbath – The Tony Martin Years
Universal Music Group
- The Shining (The Eternal Idol)
- Hard Life to Love (The Eternal Idol)
- Glory Ride (The Eternal Idol)
- Born to Lose (The Eternal Idol)
- Lost Forever (The Eternal Idol)
- Headless Cross (Headless Cross)
- Devil & Daughter (Headless Cross)
- When Death Calls (Headless Cross)
- Kill in the Spirit World (Headless Cross)
- Call of the Wild (Headless Cross)
- Anno Mundi (Tyr)
- Jerusalem (Tyr)
- Feels Good to Me (Tyr)
- Heaven In Black (Tyr)
- I Witness (Cross Purposes)
- Cross of Thorns (Cross Purposes)
- Immaculate Deception (Cross Purposes)
- Dying for Love (Cross Purposes)
- What’s the Use? (Cross Purposes)
- Can’t Get Close Enough (Forbidden)
- I Won’t Cry for You (Forbidden)
- Forbidden (Forbidden)
- Kiss of Death (Forbidden)
If you’ve never given the Tony Martin albums a chance, I can’t recommend them enough. I first got heavy into this era about 10 years ago, and I still listen to all of these albums to this day.