An audio stream of what seems to be a previously unreleased Black Sabbath song, called “Slapback”, has been recently shared online on YouTube. It appears to be a rehearsal recording of a Ronnie James Dio-era track. Gary Rees, the stepson and executor of the estate of Black Sabbath’s longtime keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, shared the track last Friday (March 5), writing in an accompanying message that he had found it on a cassette tape that contained other material recorded during Sabbath’s 1979 songwriting sessions for the following year’s album Heaven And Hell.
Statement from the Geoff Nicholls – Archive channel:
“This latest upload from the Geoff Nicholls estate I believe is called “Slapback” from the scrawling on the cassette and the chorus. This is from the same cassette as the Heaven And Hell upload on this channel. It doesn’t sound like a typical Sabbath song if it is them but it does sound like Ronnie James Dio. It must be a cover, any clues?
I have no idea about anything I wasn’t there. Everything is speculation. Great tune by the way. Is it Ronnie on bass or “a friend from Birmingham”?”
Tony Iommi says that he is “not at all happy” about the release of the Ronnie James Dio-era Black Sabbath song titled “Slapback” which was uploaded to YouTube several days ago.
Asked in an interview with SiriusXM’s ‘Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk’, what he could remember anything about this unreleased track, Iommi said:
“I’m not at all happy with [Nicholls’s estate releasing the song] – at all. And it’s left a really bad taste in my mouth. At that point, when we did that, Geoff wasn’t even involved in the band; I hadn’t even got Geoff over at that time. That is actually Ronnie playing bass on that… And that was just in the lounge recorded on a cassette.”
As for why “Slapback” never saw the light of day before, Iommi said:
“We had one or two things that we’d jam around on and play on and stuff, but it [wasn’t] right for the album, so we didn’t put it into shape; we didn’t record it [properly] or anything.”