Geoff Nicholls, Black Sabbath Keyboardist, Dead at 68
He was with the band for quite a while – 25 years. From 1979 until 2004. Playing on all Black Sabbath releases from Heaven and Hell (1980) to Live at the Hammersmith Odeon (2007).
Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi said, “I’m so saddened to hear the loss of one of my dearest and closest friends Geoff Nicholls, He’s been suffering for a while now with lung cancer and he lost his battle this morning. Geoff and I have always been very close and he has been a real true friend to me and supported me all the way for nearly 40 years, I will miss him dearly and he will live in my heart until we meet again. Rest in peace my dear friend.”
Nicholls came into the iconic metal band during a huge shakeup with the firing Ozzy Osbourne. Interestingly Iommi grew up with Ozzy and considered him a pest as a child and they had a contentious relationship in the band as well. In came a singer who did not sound like Ozzy with Ronnie James Dio who we lost at 67 in 2010. Nicholls wasn’t an official member yet at that point. It didn’t happen until “Seventh Star” in 1986 but he did notice many revolving doors with members coming and going through the years.
When Osbourne came back into the fold in 2004, he brought in keyboardist Adam Wakeman, from his own group, so Nicholls was out.
He was born in Birmingham, England on Feb. 28, 1948. Iommi produced the debut album of his first big band Quartz in 1977. After Sabbath Nicholls worked with another former singer of the group Tony Martin in his outfit Headless Cross
Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler said, “Very sad to hear of old friend and Sabbath keyboard player Geoff Nicholls passing. RIP Geoff,”
Outside the four original members of Black Sabbath Nicholls was with them the longest. – by John Beaudin
John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio.