Tony Martin (British singer)

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Tony Martin
Tony Martin 1.jpg
Background information
Birth name Anthony Philip Harford
Also known as The Cat
Born (1957-04-19) 19 April 1957 (age 57)
Birmingham, England
Genres Hard rock, blues rock, heavy metal, doom metal, power metal
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, violin, bass, drums, synthesizer, keyboards, harmonica, bagpipes
Years active 1970s–present
Labels Warner Bros.
Associated acts Black Sabbath, Cozy Powell's Hammer, Misha Calvin, Rondinelli, Aldo Giuntini, Phenomena, Empire

Anthony Philip Harford (born 19 April 1957), better known by his stage name Tony Martin, is a heavy metal vocalist best known for his work with Black Sabbath from 1987 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1997.[1] Martin was the band's second longest serving vocalist after Ozzy Osbourne. He has since been involved in many other projects (such as M3, Misha Calvin, The Cage, Giuntini Project, and Phenomena ("Psychofantasy" album)).

Despite performing almost exclusively as a vocalist, Martin is a multi-instrumentalist, stating in an interview[2] that he plays guitar, bass, drums, violin, keyboards, harmonica, bagpipes, and pan pipes. On his 2005 solo album Scream, Martin performed vocals, bass, drums, violin and additional guitar parts.[3]

Black Sabbath The Eternal Idol, Headless Cross and Tyr (1986–90)[edit]

During the recording of the Eternal Idol, Martin was brought in to re-record Ray Gillen's tracks, alongside former Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan who had previously been in Sabbath during 83/84 on the Born Again tour.

Martin had been contacted by Black Sabbath to replace Glenn Hughes the year previous. He secured his place in the band after a successful audition singing the track "The Shining".[citation needed] Before the release of the new album, Black Sabbath accepted an offer to play six shows at Sun City, South Africa during the apartheid era. During this period Geezer Butler was coerced into rejoining the band with Bev Bevan remaining on drums. The band was supposed to play a music festival in Plymouth on 18 July, but Butler backed out at the last minute but Martin and Sabbath had been in rehearsals on 14–16 July in preparation.[4]

The band drew criticism from activists and artists involved with Artists United Against Apartheid, who had been boycotting South Africa since 1985.[5] Bev Bevan refused to play the shows, and was replaced by Terry Chimes, formerly of The Clash. After nearly a year in production, Martin's debut with Sabbath The Eternal Idol was released on 8 December 1987 and ignored by contemporary reviewers. On-line internet era reviews were mixed. Allmusic said that "Martin's powerful voice added new fire" to the band, and the album contained "some of Iommi's heaviest riffs in years".[6]

The album would stall at No. 66 in the UK, peaking at 168 in the US.[citation needed] Sabbath toured in support of Eternal Idol in Germany, Italy and for the first time, Greece. Unfortunately, in part because of a backlash from promoters over the South Africa incident, other European shows were cancelled.[7] Bassist Dave Spitz left the band shortly before the tour, and was replaced by Jo Burt, formerly of Virginia Wolf.

Following the poor commercial performance of The Eternal Idol, Black Sabbath were dropped by Vertigo Records and Warner Bros. Records, and signed with I.R.S. Records.[citation needed] The band took time off in 1988, returning in August to begin work on their next album. As a result of the recording troubles with Eternal Idol, Tony Iommi opted to produce the band's next album himself. "It was a completely new start", Iommi said. "I had to rethink the whole thing, and decided that we needed to build up some credibility again".[8] Iommi enlisted ex-Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell, long-time keyboardist Geoff Nicholls and session bassist Laurence Cottle, and rented a "very cheap studio in England".[8]

Black Sabbath released Headless Cross in April 1989, and this album was again ignored by contemporary reviewers. Eventually, Allmusic would give the album four stars, calling Headless Cross "the finest non-Ozzy or Dio Black Sabbath album".[9] Anchored by the number 62 charting single "Headless Cross", the album reached number 31 on the UK charts, and number 115 in the US.[citation needed] Queen guitarist Brian May, a good friend of Iommi's, played a guest solo on the song "When Death Calls". Black Sabbath were told by Gloria Butler that Geezer was going to join the band again. The band waited until April 89 for Butler, but Geezer instead went and joined Ozzy Osbourne’s band.[4] Following the album's release, the band added touring bassist Neil Murray, formerly of Whitesnake, Gary Moore's backing band, and Vow Wow.[citation needed]

The ill-fated Headless Cross U.S. tour began in May 1989 with openers Kingdom Come and Silent Rage, but because of poor ticket sales, the tour was cancelled after just eight shows. The European leg of the tour began in September, where the band were enjoying chart success. After a string of Japanese shows, the band embarked on a 23 date Russian tour with Girlschool. Black Sabbath was one of the first bands to tour Russia, after Mikhail Gorbachev opened the country to western acts for the first time in 1989.[7]

Tony Martin returned to the studio with Black Sabbath in February 1990 to record Tyr, the follow-up to Headless Cross. While not technically a concept album, some of the album's lyrical themes are loosely based on Norse mythology.[citation needed] Tyr was released on 6 August 1990, and reached number 24 on the UK albums chart, but was the first Black Sabbath release not to break the Billboard 200 in the US.[citation needed] The album would receive mixed internet-era reviews, with Allmusic noting that the band "mix myth with metal in a crushing display of musical synthesis",[10] while Blender gave the album just one star, claiming that "Iommi continues to besmirch the Sabbath name with this unremarkable collection".[11] The band toured in support of Tyr with Circus of Power in Europe, but the final seven UK dates were cancelled because of poor ticket sales.[12] For the first time in their career, the band's touring cycle did not include US dates.[13] The tour had a few surprises, that being that Ian Gillan, Geezer Butler, & Brian May made appearances during a few of the shows.[4]

Butler officially rejoined the band after the end of the Tyr tour ahead of the Dehumanizer album with the intention of putting something back together with Tony Iommi and Cozy Powell. In an interview with Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi in Kerrang in mid-1991 they talked about having to "get rid of" Tony Martin. This effectively ended Martins first spell with the band.[4]

Back Where I Belong and Black Sabbath's Dehumanizer (1991–93)[edit]

Tony Martin recorded Back Where I Belong while Black Sabbath had reunited with Ronnie James Dio for the Dehumanizer album.

At the demo level for Back Where I Belong, Tony Martin played all the instruments and the album itself featured former Black Sabbath members Neil Murray and Geoff Nicholls, as well as Brian May on guitar, among others. Cozy Powell also joined the band for the subsequent tour after leaving Black Sabbath himself. There were two singles released for the album. The first was "If There Is a Heaven", and the second was "Angel in the Bed". This album includes a version of Jerusalem from the Black Sabbath album Tyr.

Tony Martin stated that "Back Where I Belong is an album of songs that were written over the period between 1990 and 1991. The title reflects my feelings at having this opportunity to write, record, and perform my own material. The recording of this album has been made possible due to the contributions of the following people who have all given their individual and very special talents to this project, for which I would like to express my eternal thanks!"[14] Tony Martin returned briefly to Black Sabbath to work on Dehumanizer when things were not working out with Ronnie James Dio. He, Geoff Nicholls and Cozy Powell worked on a song called "Raising Hell" during these sessions which subsequently ended up on Martins second album "Scream".

Martin said: "I had already started my first solo album Back Where I Belong so when I got the call to go back I was committed by that point. And in fact it was just a couple of months after they had started the thing with Ronnie James Dio. I was determined to finish my solo thing and so turned them down at that point. We did keep in touch though and I went to some shows. Ronnie wasn’t too pleased, but eventually they had enough and asked me to rejoin again later so it felt like I hadn’t actually left. In fact, I was never formally fired, the phone just stopped ringing. Ian Gillan [Deep Purple singer, also another ex-Black Sabbath lead singer] asked me once if I had actually been fired and I said, “No.” He said, “Neither have I.” We should just turn up one day and walk on stage!" [15]

Martin's return to Sabbath at this stage was again short lived as Warner Bros had paid a huge amount of advance money for "Dehumanizer", and again, record company pressure forced another change, they wanted either Ozzy Osbourne or Dio. Tony Martin was again forced out from the band in favour of Dio.[4]

Tony Martin famously met Dio on the Dehumanizer tour after being invited to the show by Iommi & Butler. Martin would be flown in to replace Dio (who had left the band over the Ozzy Osbourne retirement show) on the last show of the tour but after visa problems Rob Halford was asked to do the show instead.[16][17]

Black Sabbath Cross Purposes and Forbidden (1993–97)[edit]

Drummer Vinny Appice left the band following the reunion show to join Ronnie James Dio's solo band, later appearing on Dio's Strange Highways and Angry Machines. After Iommi & Butler realised that the Ozzy Osbourne reunion talks were breaking down they enlisted former Rainbow drummer Bobby Rondinelli, and reinstated Martin. Martins 4th album with Sabbath, Cross Purposes, was released on the 8th of February 1994. The album received mixed reviews, with Blender giving the album two stars, calling Soundgarden's 1994 album Superunknown "a far better Sabbath album than this by-the-numbers potboiler".[18] Allmusic's Bradley Torreano called Cross Purposes "the first album since Born Again that actually sounds like a real Sabbath record".[19]

The album just missed the Top 40 in the UK reaching number 41, and also reached 122 on the Billboard 200 in the US. Cross Purposes contained the song "Evil Eye", which was co-written by Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen, although uncredited because of record label restrictions.[citation needed] Touring in support of Cross Purposes began in February with Morbid Angel and Motörhead in the US. The band filmed a live performance at the Hammersmith Apollo on 13 April 1994, which was released on VHS accompanied by a CD, entitled Cross Purposes Live. After the European tour with Cathedral and Godspeed in June 1994, drummer Bobby Rondinelli quit the band and was replaced by original Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward for five shows in South America. Following the touring cycle for Cross Purposes, bassist Geezer Butler quit the band for the second time.

Iommi would criticize Martin during this period in his book, to which Martin responded; "It surprises me. I mean, they never said anything to me. Surely, if you've got a problem, the first person you should say something to is the person that's in the band with you... You don't wait ten years. It sounds like a really stupid thing to say, as they didn't say anything to my face — and, if that's the case, then more fool them for not saying anything, because, you know, we could have fixed it. I said to them, endlessly, that if there was anything they wanted changed, done differently, just to say and we could fix it, but clearly they didn't, they hadn't got the guts to, obviously, and to write about it in a book afterwards seems a bit daft to me. I'm not bitter about it, but it is surprising...it seems a bit stupid to say that after the event".[20]

Following Butler's departure, newly returned drummer Bill Ward once again left the band. Butler and Ward were meant to have recorded Forbidden. In the wake of their departure Iommi then reinstated former members Neil Murray on bass and Cozy Powell on drums, effectively reuniting the TYR line-up. The band enlisted Body Count guitarist Ernie C to produce the new album, which was recorded in London in the fall of 1994. The album featured a guest vocal on "Illusion of Power" by Body Count vocalist Ice-T.[21] The resulting Forbidden was released on 8 June 1995, but failed to chart in the US or the UK.[22][23] The album was widely panned by critics; Allmusic's Bradley Torreano said "with boring songs, awful production, and uninspired performances, this is easily avoidable for all but the most enthusiastic fan";[24] while Blender magazine called Forbidden "an embarrassment ... the band’s worst album".[25]

Black Sabbath embarked on a world tour in July 1995 with openers Motörhead and Tiamat, but two months into the tour, drummer Cozy Powell left the band, citing health issues, and was replaced by former drummer Bobby Rondinelli. This would be Martins final tour with the band.

In December 1996, both Tony Martin (via a letter to Sam Naugler) and Iommi (via an interview with Pete Scott) both confirm that Martin is not "out" of Sabbath, so as late as December 1996, it would appear that Iommi intended on going forward with the band as it last existed at the end of 1995. As for the rest of the band, Neil Murray was working with Cozy Powell in Peter Green’s "Splinter Group" (founder of Fleetwood Mac).

In 1997, Tony Iommi disbanded the contemporary line-up to officially reunite with Ozzy Osbourne and the original Black Sabbath line-up. Vocalist Tony Martin claimed that an original line-up reunion had been in the works since the band's brief reunion at Ozzy Osbourne’s 1992 Costa Mesa show, and that the band released subsequent albums to fulfill their record contract with I.R.S. Records. Martin later recalled Forbidden as a "filler album that got the band out of the label deal, rid of the singer, and into the reunion. However I wasn’t privy to that information at the time".[26] I.R.S. Records released a compilation album in 1996 to fulfil the band's contract, entitled The Sabbath Stones, which featured songs from Born Again to Forbidden.

Martin would also later hit out on Sabbath for being deleted from the band's history; "It seems a bit of a waste of ten years of the band's history. To cut that out, they're not just cutting me out, they're cutting themselves out. It seems like cutting your own nose off to spite your face. Why would you want to delete ten years of your history? It seems to me that they've got their minds elsewhere, and whatever brings them the most money seems to be what they go for. I mean, the Ozzy reunion. How many times do you want to go and pay to see them do the same stuff? OK, people argue that those old songs are people's favourites. Well; it's probably that way because you keep ramming it down people's throats and don't give them a chance to buy anything else. It seems disjointed and disconnected to me, and I don't understand why they would want to even cut themselves out of that history".[20]

Scream (2004-2005)[edit]

Late in 2004, Tony let it be known that there would be a new solo album by him out in 2005. The album was recorded at Tony Martin’s house, which is in "Headless Cross" in Worcestershire England. The album featured again former Sabbath member Geoff Nicholls and some drum tracks from the late Cozy Powell. Martin explained; "I have recorded 2 tracks featuring the legendary drumming of Cozy Powell. How? well, when I fronted Cozy Powell’s Hammer, he gave me 20 drumming tracks to write some songs with, I forgot I had them until I found them recently in the move to my new house."[3]

Tony Martin's Headless Cross (2006 - Present)[edit]

Tony Martin established "Headless Cross" in 2005 and would go on to tour Europe in 2006. The band would also tour Brazil in 2008.[27][28]

After Dio's passing in 2010, there was some speculation that he would either return to Black Sabbath or join the renamed Black Sabbath Heaven & Hell. Martin however ruled out ever working with Sabbath again stating: "Sabbath hasn’t talked to me in 15 years. All of the albums that I was on were removed from sale completely by them and it would take unbelievable changes to get it all back together". Black Sabbath were rejoined by Ozzy Osbourne in 2012 with the bands legal disputes apparently concluded.[29]

Tony Martin's Headless Cross last performed at the Asylum in Birmingham, UK on 27 July 2012.[30] This marked Martin's first ever UK show as a solo artist and first show with his new Headless Cross line-up. Martin stated in interviews that this will be his only live show of the year.[31][32]

In January 2013 Martin signed to a new music publishing deal by Alan Bambrough of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Limited. Martin's would be working on the fourth album from Giuntini Project, the Italian heavy metal band started in 1988 by guitarist Aldo Giuntini as a solo project. This will be the third album Martin has appeared on. Martin will also appear on releases with Layla Milou and with Veronica Freeman, vocalist with Benedictum.[33]

Discography[edit]

with Black Sabbath[edit]

Studio Albums:

Live Albums:

Compilations:

with Aldo Giuntini[edit]

with Arrayan Path[edit]

  • Ira Imperium (2011, on "Ira Imperium (The Damned)")

with Black Widow[edit]

  • Sleeping With Demons (2011, on "Hail Satan")

with Candlemass[edit]

  • Candlemass 20 Year Anniversary (DVD 2007)
  • Doomology (2010, on "Witches" (Tony Martin vocals – October 2004))

with Dario Mollo[edit]

with Empire[edit]

  • Trading Souls (2003)
  • Raven Ride (2006)

with Forcefield[edit]

  • Forcefield II: The Talisman (1988)

with Herman Rarebell[edit]

  • Herman Rarebell & Friends - Acoustic Fever (2013, on "Another Piece of Meat")

with Layla Milou[edit]

  • Reborn (2012, on "Bloody Valentine")

with Mario Parga[edit]

  • Spirit of Night (2008-Single)

with Misha Calvin[edit]

  • Evolution (1993)

with Phenomena[edit]

  • Psychofantasy (2006)
  • Blind Faith (2010)

with Rondinelli[edit]

  • Our Cross, Our Sins (2002)

with Silver Horses featuring Tony Martin[edit]

  • Silver Horses (2012)

with Star One[edit]

with Wolfpakk[edit]

  • Wolfpakk - Wolfpakk (2011, on "Ride The Bullet")

Compilations[edit]

  • Voices of Rock: High & Mighty (2009, "Into The Night")

Solo[edit]

Current solo band members[edit]

Former/session/guest members[edit]

First album[edit]

Second album[edit]

  • Joe Harford - Guitars
  • Geoff Nicholls - Keyboards
  • Cozy Powell - Drums

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Biography: Black Sabbath (Tony Martin)". Allmusic. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Rattle The Cage Again..., Interview by Marco Spaeth". TonyMartin.net. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b BLACK SABBATH Online: Tony Martin (section), "Scream" (album)
  4. ^ a b c d e BLACK SABBATH Online fansite
  5. ^ Drewett, Michael (2006). "The Cultural Boycott against Apartheid South Africa". Popular Music Censorship in Africa. Ashgate Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 0-7546-5291-2. 
  6. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "AMG Eternal Idol Review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 10 March 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Dwyer, Robert. "Sabbath Live Timeline 1980s". SabbathLive.com. Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 10 March 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Rosen 1996, p. 129
  9. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Headless Cross AMG review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 10 March 2008. 
  10. ^ Chrispell, James. "Tyr AMG review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 11 March 2008. Chrispell, James. "Tyr AMG review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 11 March 2008. 
  11. ^ Mitchell, Ben. "Tyr Blender review". Blender.com. Retrieved 11 March 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ Dwyer, Robert. "Sabbath Live Timeline 1990s Cancelled shows". SabbathLive.com. Archived from the original on 19 December 2005. Retrieved 11 March 2008. 
  13. ^ Dwyer, Robert. "Sabbath Live Timeline 1990s". SabbathLive.com. Archived from the original on 16 January 2006. Retrieved 11 March 2008. 
  14. ^ BLACK SABBATH Online: Tony Martin (section), "Back Where I Belong" (discography)
  15. ^ "Interview: Former Black Sabbath Lead Singer Tony Martin". Geeksofdoom.com. 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  16. ^ BLACK SABBATH Online (Forum): Thread: "Dehumanizer sessions - Tony Martin question" (2010)
  17. ^ BLACK SABBATH Online (Forum):, Thread: "Tapes of Dehumanizer with Tony Martin" (2005)
  18. ^ Mitchell, Ben. "Blender Cross Purposes Review". Blender.com. Retrieved 18 March 2008. [dead link]
  19. ^ Torreano, Bradley. "AMG Cross Purposes Review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 March 2008. 
  20. ^ a b Blabbermouth.net, 26 July 2012, "Ex-Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin is 'surprised' by criticism in Tony Iommi's Book", visited: 24-01-2013
  21. ^ Rosen 1996, p. 131
  22. ^ "Billboard Black Sabbath album chart history". Billboard. Archived from the original on 3 June 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2008. 
  23. ^ "Every Hit.com UK Black Sabbath album chart history". EveryHit.com. Retrieved 20 March 2008. 
  24. ^ Torreano, Bradley. "Allmusic Forbidden review". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 20 March 2008. 
  25. ^ Mitchell, Ben. "Blender Forbidden review". Blender.com. Retrieved 20 March 2008. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Tony Martin.net, Q&A". TonyMartin.net. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2008. 
  27. ^ Jamie Mallender's website
  28. ^ Classic Rock magazine, 17 June 2009, "Don’t Tell Sharon, but..."
  29. ^ Classic Rock magazine, 27 August 2011, "Tony Martin rules out Sabbath return"
  30. ^ Warrell, Richard (27 July 2012). "Tony Martin's Headless Cross concert review". Born Music Online. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  31. ^ Warrell, Richard (23 July 2012). "Tony Martin interview". Born Music Online. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  32. ^ Über Röck, 25 July 2012, "Tony Martin - Interview Exclusive"
  33. ^ a b "Former Black Sabbath singer TONY MARTIN signs new publishing deal". Blabbermouth. 14 January 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  34. ^ BLACK SABBATH Online: Geoff Nicholls (section), "Tony Martin 2012"

External links[edit]