The estate of Geoff Nicholls has released an early version of the song ‘Heaven and Hell’ by Black Sabbath. Geoff has always be known as the fifth member of Black Sabbath after the firing of Ozzy Osbourne. Ronnie James Dio was brought in to be the lead singer in 1979. Sabbath enjoyed a new surge after a string of dismal albums with Ozzy. The interesting thing about this rehearsal is Geoff plays bass instead of Geezer Butler who was not present that day. Geoff stayed with Black Sabbath as their keyboardist until 2004.
Geoff‘s stepson and executor of his estate, Gary Rees released the rehearsal tape for all to hear.
“I recently found this SONY C-90 tape cassette amongst the thousands in Geoff Nicholls’ archive. On the inlay card is written ‘ ON & ON HEAVEN & HELL ORIGINAL VERSION GEOFF PLAYING BASS’. Inside the cassette case was a Maxell UD 90. On the A-side again in blue ink ballpoint is written ‘LADY EVIL (crossed out) BLUES + SLAPBACK’. The B side is written ‘On + On HEAVEN HELL ORIGINAL GEOFF ON BASS’ Nowhere does it say that this is BLACK SABBATH on the cassette. At the end of the uploaded song, you can hear talking that sounds to me like Geoff talking then laughing.”
“I have uploaded the most complete version closest to the album version. This recording, in my opinion, is from July 1979 in their rented house in Bel Air, California. On And On Heaven And Hell may have been the original working title.”
Ronnie James Dio – vocals
Tony Iommi – guitar
Geoff Nicholls – bass
Bill Ward – drums
Dio’s musical career began in 1957, when several Cortland, New York musicians formed the band, The Vegas Kings.