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© Mike Segar/Reuters/Corbis
In 1997 it finally came - the reunion of the original four members of Black Sabbath.
Under the guidance of wife/linchpin Sharon, Ozzy had already established a successful touring festival - Ozzfest - that Sabbath joined as headliners that year with a set of their best known songs (with Ozzy doing double duty supporting with a solo set). And so it went for the next few years, The original Sabbath playing Ozzfests and the occasional headline show, including a December 1998 Last Supper farewell gig at the Birmingham NEC that turned out to be nothing of the sort.
But although they recorded a new song, Psycho Man, for 1998's Reunion live album and played another new song live in 2001 - Bill Ward's funeral march Scary Dreams - a new studio album was not forthcoming. A writing session in mid 2001 with Rick Rubin was abandoned.
"I could go in the studio and write a bunch of stuff," Ozzy told Billboard. "But why do an album just for the sake of Bill, Tony, me and Butler together playing if it's not up to the Black Sabbath standard that I left?
"It would fuck it up, you know? It's so sad when you hear these monumental bands do these piece of shit records just because they want the money."
With Sabbath limited to occasional live duty, Ozzy became a star for other reasons in 2002 with The Osbournes TV show and continued with his solo career. Despite a long overdue Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction in 2006 by an emotional and reverential James Hetfield, Sabbath seemed to have become a side issue for the Prince Of Darkness.