Published Mar 09, 2020It has long been rumoured that before finding success in soft rock, Michael Bolton had a chance to front Black Sabbath. While the singer has denied the claim in recent years, Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi is adamant that an audition did, in fact, happen.
In an interview with GibsonTV last month (February 13), Iommi reflected on the band's 1982 search for a vocalist to replace Ronnie James Dio.
"I found David Coverdale, and he said, 'Oh, I just got this band together, Whitesnake. Why didn't you find me before?'" Iommi recalled. "I said, 'He hadn't left before; it's happening now.'
"So, there was a lot of looking for another singer, and we would audition various singers — including Michael Bolton, believe it or not. He was one of them, which was an odd one. It just went on a bit, and we couldn't decide."
Iommi had previously mentioned the possibility of a Bolton-fronted band in his 2012 autobiography Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath.
"Me and [bassist Geezer Butler] had to rethink the whole thing. We had a million tapes sent in from different singers and most of them were horrible," the guitarist wrote. "One of them was from Michael Bolton. I didn't know him at the time. We had Michael come in and we had him sing 'Heaven and Hell,' 'War Pigs' and 'Neon Knights'. He was quite good, but he wasn't exactly what we were looking for then. We dropped a bollock there, didn't we? Michael Bolton! A little bit of a mistake."
Bolton, however, has denied this tryout ever took place. In a 2014 conversation with England's Echo, the singer said the story "was only a rumour...I don't know how on Earth it started."
Bolton denied the story again in 2017, during an appearance on Malaysia's LITE. "That's a rumour," he said. "I think people mix it up because my rock group was Blackjack...we did two albums for Polygram in the late '70s, those were part of my rock years."
Those years saw Bolton and his Blackjack bandmates open for longtime Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne on tour.
Recently, Black Sabbat teed up an exclusive release for Record Store Day 2020.