Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath - Tony Iommi, T.J. Lammers (2011)
Chapter 61. Together again, for a day
I was in the middle of doing my album when they asked us to perform at a huge show. All these people were doing it and it was for a very good cause. I said: ‘Sounds good. Let’s do it.’
So, in July 1985, the original Black Sabbath line-up got back together for a one-off gig at Live Aid in Philadelphia. We probably thought that it might be the first step towards getting back together again. We got on well when we saw each other there and I think we all hoped it would happen, but the powers that be have to allow you to do it. It has to be in aid of charity, otherwise management would think somebody was making money out of it and it wouldn’t happen. And there was no greater charity cause than Live Aid.
The organisation offered us a time slot in a rehearsal facility. We got to the space and were supposed to rehearse three songs. Instead of doing that we ended up talking about old times. We were there chatting away, then we played for a bit and then stopped when somebody would say: ‘Oh, remember so-and-so?’
Not much of a rehearsal, really.
This girl came in and stood at the back, watching. I mentioned this to somebody: ‘Can you tell her this is a closed session?’
I didn’t know who it was. She had dyed her hair dark and looked nothing like Madonna, but it was Madonna and she wasn’t very happy about being tossed out.
We went back to the bar afterwards, had a great time together and got solidly sloshed. The next day we were on at something like ten o’clock in the morning. I had a dreadful hangover so I put my dark glasses on, and then we played ‘Children Of The Grave’, ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Paranoid’ in the bright sunlight. It was a great thing to do and we were certainly aware of the importance of the occasion, but it was over very quickly.
Meanwhile, Don had issued Ozzy with a writ, because he thought we were going to get together again and that Sharon was going to manage us. Don wanted to stop anything happening, because he made his point that he managed me and that there was no way we were going to do anything without him. Don and Sharon - they were both as paranoid as each other. Don sent a writ to Ozzy; the guy who presented it right there at Live Aid looked like a fan, so Ozzy thought he wanted his autograph and signed it. I didn’t actually see the writ, as Sharon whipped that away right quick.
It put a little bit of a dampener on the occasion.
I don’t know whether Live Aid made a difference. You do the thing, they raise the money and what happens then? They buy the food or whatever they need, but you’re never 100 per cent sure who gets what. But I think it was a good thing to do anyway.
We got to Philly, had a drunken night, got hung over, did the gig and disappeared. The subject of getting back together didn’t even come up. I got on the plane back home and didn’t see them again for years.