Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Unreleased 1979 Black Sabbath song surfaces online

An unreleased Black Sabbath song entitled “Slapback” has surfaced online.

Audio of the tune was captured during 1979 pre-production sessions for “Heaven And Hell”, which marked the legendary band’s first record with Ronnie James Dio after Ozzy Osbourne was fired by the group.

The track was uploaded to YouTube by Gary Rees – the stepson and executor of the estate of Black Sabbath's longtime keyboardist Geoff Nicholls – who recently posted a demo recording of the project’s title track with Nicholls on bass in place of Geezer Butler.

“This latest upload from the Geoff Nicholls estate,” explains Rees. “I believe is called ‘Slapback’ from the scrawling on the cassette and the chorus. This is from the same cassette as the Heaven & Hell upload on this channel. It doesn't sound like a typical Sabbath song if it is them but it does sound like Ronnie James Dio. It must be a cover, any clues? I have no idea about anything, I wasn't there. Everything is speculation. Great tune by the way. Is it Ronnie on bass or "a friend from Birmingham"?

During a March 8 interview with SiriusXM‘s Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk, Butler confirmed the song’s history and the fact that he played bass on it during rehearsals prior to his leaving for a time to deal with issues surrounding the eventual divorce from his first wife the following year.

“Yeah, that was one of the songs that we did before I left,” Butler recalled. “It’s probably the reason I did leave. [Laughs] It was just one of those songs that didn’t make the grade.”

The rocker added that it’s “incredible” to see both of these recordings see the light of day more than 40 years later, adding: “And it’s quite good quality as well. I’ve heard the two songs from the Geoff Nicholls thing. It’s reasonable quality.”

Black Sabbath released expanded editions of 1980’s “Heaven And Hell” and 1981’s “Mob Rules” on March 5.

See also:

Black Sabbath stream 1982 performance of Heaven And Hell
Black Sabbath stream Heaven And Hell album in sync with reissue
Black Sabbath stream rare live version of Die Young
Black Sabbath share rare Lady Evil single from Heaven And Hell reissue
Search Black Sabbath at hennemusic
Search Ronnie James Dio at hennemusic