In 1984, the rock titans Black Sabbath hit the pause button, hot on the heels of their 1983 release, “Born Again,” featuring Ian Gillan—a record that didn’t quite dance with the critics.
As Gillan departed to rekindle flames with Deep Purple and other key members like Bill Ward and Geezer Butler made their exits, the lone sentinel, Tony Iommi, contemplated giving the world a solo act.
However, 1985 flipped the script. The prodigal members of Black Sabbath decided to grace the stage at the Live Aid benefit in Philadelphia, sharing the limelight with other rock luminaries such as Led Zeppelin and The Who.
This electrifying set, the first with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978, became a moment to remember. Iommi mused:
“Being back on stage with the old guard felt both nostalgic and surreal. From studio soundproofing to the roaring crowds— it was a whirlwind transition.”
“Usually, we’d gear up for weeks. This felt like winging it – rehearse today, perform tomorrow. Quite the adrenaline shot!”
During one of their impromptu practice sessions, Tony had a comically awkward encounter:
“We were caught up in a whirlwind of memories during rehearsal when I spotted two ladies sneaking in. Thinking they were crashers, I sent our crew to handle it. Imagine our faces when we realized one of them was Madonna! A mix of laughter and red faces followed as we wrapped up and headed back to our digs.”
He concluded with a chuckle:
“The evening before the show, the hotel bar became our playground. We might have overindulged, leading to, let’s say, a performance the next day that was more ‘headbang’ than ‘headache’.”