In 1982, Ronnie James Dio elected to part ways with Black Sabbath for reasons that were never fully explained. Many rumors about the departure circulated and have continued to do so for the past three decades, but nevertheless, the facts are that Dio left the band and took drummer Vinnie Appice with him to form his own band, Dio, which released its first album, “Holy Diver”, in 1983.
Seeming at the urging of the band’s manager at the time, Don Arden (Sharon Osbourne’s father), former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan was brought in, among others, to try out for the now once again vacant vocalist position.
In addition to introducing Gillan into the lineup, this era of Black Sabbath also marked the very temporary return of original drummer Bill Ward, who’d played on the band’s first nine albums. Ward has fallen hard in the post-Ozzy years, battling not only addiction and depression, but also grief, as he lost both of his parents in a short timeframe.
With Dio taking Appice along with him to form a new band, however, the vacant drumming position was open, which allowed the band to reunite with Ward a bit down the road after he’d dealt with some personal demons.
This “Mark III” era of the band, as it were, however, had quite a short shelf life, lasting only about half a year before Ward left once again, later to be replaced for live performance by Bev Bevan.
Still, this era of the band did manage to produce the “Born Again” album in 1982, an album that is unfortunately best known in the mainstream for having a ‘horrible’ album cover: a poorly caricatured red ‘demon’ baby over a purple background.
Despite the less than perfect mix job of the album, which the band—particularly Gillan—was never satisfied with, Black Sabbath did produce some strong material on this album with songs such as “Disturbing the Priest” and “Zero the Hero”. For those unfamiliar with the Gillan-era material, click here.
Click here to read about the Glenn Hughes era in chapter three.
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