It was 1983-84 and resulted in only one album, Born Again, and tour, and was a period apparently filled with pranks and hijinks, which provided the source of Spinal Tap’s, Stonehenge gag. According to bassist Geezer Butler: “We had Sharon Osbourne’s dad, Don Arden, managing us. He came up with the idea of having the stage set be Stonehenge. He wrote the dimensions down and gave it to our tour manager. He wrote it down in metres but he meant to write it down in feet. The people who made it saw fifteen metres instead of fifteen feet. It was 45 feet high and it wouldn’t fit on any stage anywhere so we just had to leave it in the storage area. It cost a fortune to make but there was not a building on earth that you could fit it into.” Watch the interviews for Ian Gillan’s version of the above, and Tony Iommi’s tale of almost blowing up Gillan up, while in a tent.
Born Again is definitely not the powerhouse album that one would have hoped for from the world’s heaviest band, paired with one of Rock’s greatest singers (I’ll leave the same discussion of the Dio Years for later). My god, Ian Gillan has an amazing set of pipes. In the above interview, Gillan discusses lyrical issues with the material that clearly contributed to the general confusion of the album. That being said, the album has some exemplary cuts, and I wish that they’d given it a second go, to improve upon the concept. Apparently the project was not originally intended to be a Black Sabbath release, but record company interference forced it to be released as such. Deep Sabbath? Black Purple? Deep Black? Purple Sabbath?
The album single, and standout track, Trashed, received a fair amount of video play, in it’s time.
And demos for those interested…