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OTRC: Black Sabbath reunion? Tony Iommi dismisses report

Ozzy Osbourne performs at the Sweden Rock Festival in Sweden on June 11, 2011. (flickr.com/photos/helsingborgs-dagblad)

Don't expect a Black Sabbath reunion anytime soon.

The group's former guitarist Tony Iommi has dismissed a UK newspaper report that states that the original members of the British heavy metal band, including Ozzy Osbourne, are preparing to release a new album and tour together.

Black Sabbath, which has released commercially-successful hits such as "Iron Man," formed in 1969. Its original line-up was made up of Osbourne, Iommi, drummer Bill Ward and bassist Geezer Butler. The four last recorded a major studio record together in 1978 - "Never Say Die."

An article published by The Birmingham Mail on Tuesday, August 16, said the four had begun rehearsing for a tour and were working on a new record set for release in 2012. It quoted Iommi, 63, as saying that the group was looking forward to it.

"I'm saddened that a Birmingham journalist whom I trusted has chosen this point in time to take a conversation we had back in June and make it sound like we spoke yesterday about a Black Sabbath reunion," Iommi said on his website on Tuesday.

"At the time I was supporting the Home of Metal exhibition and was merely speculating, shooting the breeze, on something all of us get asked constantly, 'Are you getting back together?' he said. "Thanks to the Internet, it's gone round the world as some sort of 'official' statement on my part, absolute nonsense. To my old pals, Ozzy, Geezer and Bill, sorry about this, I should have known better."

Osbourne, 62, told ABC News Radio in January that he and the other band members are in the "talking process" regarding a Black Sabbath reunion and a new album.

The four reunited sporadically for concerts from 1985 to 2005. Black Sabbath was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006.

In 1998, the original band members released the double album "Reunion," which contains recordings from two UK concerts they had performed together a year earlier. Also in 1998, Ward survived a heart attack.

Osbourne, who is also known as a solo singer and reality star, was fired from Black Sabbath in 1979 after squabbling with the musicians and battling substance abuse.

He has found international success as a solo artist. Osbourne's 1991 album "No More Tears" and 1979 record "Blizzard of Oz" have each sold more than 4 million copies in the United States. The singer's 2003 single "Crazy Train" was a commercial hit and has sold more than 2 million copies in the United States.

Osbourne's "Ozzfest" festival, a multi-million dollar tour that features top and emerging rock and metal artists, continues to attract scores of fans. No Ozzfest is planned for 2011, as Osbourne has opted to tour Europe on his own instead.

In recent years, Osbourne has became a television favorite, often scoring spots on commercials - such as one with teen pop star Justin Bieber. Osbourne has been both mocked and celebrated due to his crazy antics on his MTV reality series "The Osbournes. "The show debuted in 2002 and featured his quirky life in Los Angeles with his wife Sharon and children Kelly and Jack.

Black Sabbath's second-most famous lead vocalist was Ronnie James Dio, a more melodic singer who was once part of the band Rainbow. He replaced Osbourne and Black Sabbath released its first album with him, "Heaven and Hell," in 1980. The album was one of the band's most successful records and has sold more than 1 million copies in the Unites States.

Also in 1980, Ward battled alcohol abuse and was fired from the band. He was replaced by Vinny Appice.

In 1982, Dio and Appice left Black Sabbath and began recording music with a new band, also called Dio. The group released the hit song "Holy Diver." Ian Gillan led Black Sabbath until 1984, after which he returned to his former band, Deep Purple. Butler soon quit as Black Sabbath's bassist. The band, left with Iommi as the only remaining original band member, continued to try out new singers.

In 1992, the singer Dio, Appice, Iommi and Butler recorded the album "Dehumanizer" under the Black Sabbath band name. Dio left the ensemble again that year and the band went on to release two more studio albums throughout the 1990s with new singer Tony Martin.

However, the four reunited in 2006 and went by the name Heaven & Hell. They embarked on a tour and in released the album "The Devil You Know" in 2009. In May of 2010, the singer Dio died of stomach cancer.

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