As one of the longest-tenured vocalists for Black Sabbath, Tony Martin fronted the group during two separate stints, the first from 1987 through 1990, and the second from 1994 through 1995. Born Anthony Harford on April 19, 1957, Martin would hail from the same town as the original members of the mighty Black Sabbath -- Birmingham, England. Initially a guitarist, Martin eventually turned his main focus to singing and fronted several obscure bands, including Legend, Orion, and the Alliance. Also at one point, Martin was in the midst of forming a project with guitarist Adrian Vandenberg, but supposedly an invite from David Coverdale for Vandenberg to join Whitesnake killed off the proposed project before it could take flight. As a longtime acquaintance of Albert Chapman (a former tour manager for Black Sabbath during the '70s), it would be Chapman who suggested Martin to Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi as a worthy addition to the group. With an album already recorded with a different singer (Ray Gillen) having supplied vocals, Martin was enlisted to re-record the album's vocals, which was eventually released in 1987 as The Eternal Idol. Martin would go on to sing on two more Black Sabbath albums, 1989's Headless Cross and 1990's TYR, before Iommi would re-enlist Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice for the Black Sabbath lineup that recorded 1992's Dehumanizer. During this time, Martin issued his first solo effort, 1992's Back Where I Belong, which turned out to be star-studded affair of sorts, featuring guest appearances from the likes of Queen's Brian May, Saxon's Nigel Glockler, Martin's ex-Black Sabbath bandmates Neil Murray and Geoff Nicholls, and eventual drummer for the Who (and Ringo Starr's son), Zak Starkey. However, the Black Sabbath reunion with Dio would be short-lived, and by 1994, Iommi had welcomed Martin back into the fold. As a result, Black Sabbath would issue two more studio albums with Martin on vocals (1994's Cross Purposes and 1995's Forbidden), and a live album (1995's Cross Purposes Live). But by the late '90s, the original Iommi-Ozzy Osbourne-Geezer Butler-Bill Ward Black Sabbath lineup had re-formed, and once again, Martin was out of a job. After leaving Black Sabbath for the second and final time, Martin went on to issue a second solo effort in 2005, Scream, and has appeared on countless recordings by other artists during the late '90s and early 21st century, including Phenomena, Rondinelli, Dario Mollo, and Aldo Giuntini, among others.
Tony Martin Biography
by Greg Prato