“There’s the Ozzy thing and the Ronnie thing, and then there’s this”: Black Sabbath’s “lost era” didn’t have Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie James Dio – but it featured some of Tony Iommi’s best guitar playing

Tony Iommi in the 80s
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In 2024, after triumphant post-1997 reunions with both Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath’s cultural significance is such that their home city of Birmingham has honoured the band with the Black Sabbath Bridge – fashioned from appropriately heavy metal. This present-day appreciation stands in stark contrast to the band’s perilous position in the mid to late ‘80s.

The band’s new Anno Domini 1989-1995 box set exhumes four long-deleted albums in remastered form, recorded during a period characterised by Tony Iommi in his Iron Man autobiography as a “lost era” which was overshadowed by the Ozzy and Dio formations.

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