Black Sabbath

Never Say Die! 1979-1997

by Garry Sharpe-Young
Cherry Red Books / ISBN 1-901447-16-2

Hey wait a minute. What's this? Isn't this site to be supposed to be about Ritchie Blackmore & Rainbow? An occasional review on an interesting piece of Deep Purple, OK! But Black Sabbath? Yes, Black Sabbath! Keep in mind Black Sabbath have recruited more ex-Rainbow members through the years than Deep Purple has, or even ever likely to will be having in their ranks. There's Don Airey, Ronnie James Dio, Cozy Powell, Craig Gruber, Bob Daisley & Bobby Rondinelli. And they're all discussed very intensive. Except for Craig Gruber & Don Airey (who played on the Never Say Die album during the Ozzy Years) they were all interviewed through the years or especially for this book by the author.

So where this all about? It's the inside story of the "non-Ozzy Osbourne" Black Sabbath years. Ozzy Osbourne was with Black Sabbath from 1969 to 1979. This books starts when Ozzy is fired. It's a great read with stories how Ronnie James Dio joined the band. How he brought Craig Gruber in as new bassplayer for the band, which didn't lasted too long because according to Ronnie "he was too American". Other singers who worked with Ritchie Blackmore before also stepped in like Ian Gillan and later Glenn Hughes (David Coverdale was also in the spotlight more than once as we learn in this book). There's Jeff Fenholt, worked with both Craig Gruber & Gary Driscoll in Bible Black, who claims he was asked for Rainbow when Ronnie left in 1978. And Jeff later started a band with Bobby Rondinelli, just after Bobby left Rainbow in 1983, but the band didn't come off the ground. There's a lot of details on him in here.

There is so much detail in this book, it's almost unbelievable. Much Rainbow related stuff, much more than you can expect on a book that's about Black Sabbath. A lot of very rare photos including the not so rare 1977 promoshot of Rainbow. Mind you there are 3 Sabbath members on it. Not only the Sabbath days of the members are being taken care of, also their whole carreers. Plus there are some very cool anecdotes. And it shows how good or bad certain ex-Rainbow members could stand each other.

Cozy Powell got along very well with Bobby Rondinelli, joked with him all the time. Some great sayings of Cozy about Bobby are published in this book. On the other hand Cozy didn't got along with Ronnie James Dio ["I can't work with this fuckin' little midget"]. Maybe an indication why there never was a Rainbow reunion with the classic Rising line-up. If that one should have come off the ground it should have been for the wrong (money) reasons and might have ended like the Sabbath/Dio 1990's catastrophy. Sabbath brought in another singer (Tony Martin) to re-do Ronnie's vocals, but were called back by the mighty dollars of the US Record Company.

If you're (a bit of) a Black Sabbath fan, then I only can recommended this book very highly. It's so excellent and fascinating written, almost beyond believe. Even if you're not a Black Sabbath fan, then it's a very interesting read. Not only you get al the ins and outs of the Black Sabbath years between 1979 till 1997, you get also a lot of information of what the people involved did before and after their Sabbath stints. And that includes loads of details on ex-Rainbow members!

Rating: ***** [5 out of 5]