Geoff Nicholls

Last updated
Geoff Nicholls
Geoff Nicholls (1948-2017).jpg
Background information
Birth nameGeoffrey James Nicholls
Born(1944-02-28)28 February 1944
Birmingham, England, UK
Died28 January 2017(2017-01-28) (aged 72)
InstrumentsKeyboards, bass, guitar, vocals
Associated acts Black Sabbath, Quartz, Tony Martin, Johnny Neal and the Starliners, World of Oz,

Geoffrey James Nicholls (28 February 1944 – 28 January 2017) [1] was a British musician and keyboardist, and longtime member of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, until 2004. Nicholls also played in the NWOBHM band Quartz, before joining Black Sabbath. In the 1960s/early 1970s, Geoff played lead guitar for the Birmingham bands The Boll Weevils, The Seed, Johnny Neal and the Starliners and keyboards for World Of Oz.

Keyboardist musician who plays keyboard instruments

A keyboardist or keyboard player is a musician who plays keyboard instruments. Until the early 1960s musicians who played keyboards were generally classified as either pianists or organists. Since the mid-1960s, a plethora of new musical instruments with keyboards have come into common usage, requiring a more general term for a person who plays them. These keyboards include:

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

The new wave of British heavy metal was a nationwide musical movement that started in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and achieved international attention by the early 1980s. Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the mid to late 1970s, during the period of punk rock's decline and the dominance of new wave music.


Black Sabbath

Geoff Nicholls in 1986. Geoff Nicholls 1986.jpg
Geoff Nicholls in 1986.

Nicholls was originally brought in as a second guitarist when Black Sabbath doubted whether they would even continue under that name. Nicholls then switched to bass when Geezer Butler left briefly, and then became the band's keyboardist upon Butler's return and the decision to keep the Sabbath name. Nicholls' first appearance on a Black Sabbath album was on Heaven and Hell (1980), and he was credited as keyboardist on every Sabbath release from that time until 13 (2013), although he was not an official member until 1986. He remained an official member until 1991, then regained member status from 1993 to 1996. He was an unofficial member once again since the reunion with Ozzy Osbourne in 1997. Although his main role with Sabbath was on the keyboard, Nicholls also played some rhythm guitar on the reunion tours, e.g., during Iommi's solo in "Snowblind" and a few tracks during the Headless Cross (1989) and Forbidden (1995) tours. [2]

Geezer Butler English musician, bassist and lyricist of Black Sabbath

Terence Michael Joseph "Geezer" Butler is an English musician and songwriter. Butler is best known as the bassist and primary lyricist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He has also recorded and performed with Heaven & Hell, GZR, and Ozzy Osbourne. He currently serves as bassist of Deadland Ritual.

<i>Heaven and Hell</i> (Black Sabbath album) 1980 studio album by Black Sabbath

Heaven and Hell is the ninth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released on 25 April 1980. It is the first Black Sabbath album to feature vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who replaced original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne in 1979.

<i>13</i> (Black Sabbath album) 2013 studio album by Black Sabbath

13 is the 19th and final studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath. The album was released on 10 June 2013 in Europe and 11 June 2013 in North America, via Vertigo Records and Republic Records in the United States, and via Vertigo Records worldwide. It is the only studio album released by Black Sabbath since Forbidden (1995), and was the band's first studio recording with original singer Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler since the live album Reunion (1998), which contained two new studio tracks. It was also the first studio album with Osbourne since Never Say Die! (1978), and with Butler since Cross Purposes (1994), the first since Never Say Die! not to feature longtime keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, and the first since The Eternal Idol (1987) on the Vertigo label.

Nicholls' involvement with the band ended when Adam Wakeman (a member of Ozzy Osbourne's solo band) was chosen to play keyboards during Sabbath's 2004 and 2005 tours as part of Ozzfest, and Scott Warren (Dio) handled keyboard duties on the 2007 Heaven & Hell tour.

Adam Wakeman British musician

Adam Wakeman is an English musician and the current keyboardist and rhythm guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne's band; he also played keyboards and guitar off-stage for Black Sabbath. Wakeman has also worked with Annie Lennox, Travis, the Company of Snakes, Strawbs, Will Young, Victoria Beckham, and Atomic Kitten.

Ozzfest is an annual festival tour of the United States and sometimes Europe featuring performances by many heavy metal and hard rock musical groups. It was founded by Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon Osbourne, both of whom also organise each yearly tour with their son Jack Osbourne. The Ozzfest tour has featured bands of a variety of genres within heavy metal and hard rock, including alternative metal, thrash metal, industrial metal, metalcore, hardcore punk, deathcore, nu metal, death metal, post-hardcore, gothic metal and black metal. Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath have played the tour several times over the years.

Dio (band) American heavy metal band

Dio was an American heavy metal band formed in 1982 and led by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, after he left Black Sabbath with intentions to form a new band with fellow former Black Sabbath member Vinny Appice, the band's drummer. The name Dio was chosen because it made sense from a commercial standpoint, as the name was already well known at that time.

Until his death, Nicholls played keyboards with former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin, in his band Tony Martin's Headless Cross. [3] Nicholls had previously performed on both of Martin's solo albums and their support tours.

Tony Martin (British singer) English heavy metal musician

Anthony Philip Harford, better known by his stage name Tony Martin, is a heavy metal vocalist, best known for his time fronting Black Sabbath, initially from 1987 to 1991 and again from 1993 to 1996. Martin was the band's second longest serving vocalist after Ozzy Osbourne. He has since been involved in many other projects.


Nicholls died from lung cancer on 28 January 2017, aged 72, surrounded by his family. [4] [5] [6] [7] "Geoff was a real true friend and supported me all the way for nearly forty years," said Tony Iommi. "I will miss him dearly and he will live in my heart until we meet again." [8]

Lung cancer cancer in the lung

Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma, is a malignant lung tumor characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. This growth can spread beyond the lung by the process of metastasis into nearby tissue or other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in the lung, known as primary lung cancers, are carcinomas. The two main types are small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). The most common symptoms are coughing, weight loss, shortness of breath, and chest pains.

Tony Iommi British guitarist

Anthony Frank Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. He was lead guitarist and one of the four founding members of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He was the band's primary composer and sole continual member for nearly five decades.


Studio albums with Black Sabbath

YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positions Certifications
1980 Heaven and Hell
  • Released: 25 April 1980
  • Label: Vertigo, Warner Bros.
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
  • UK: Gold
  • US: Platinum [20]
  • CAN: Gold [21]
1981 Mob Rules
  • Released: 4 November 1981
  • Label: Vertigo, Warner Bros.
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
1983 Born Again
  • Released: 7 August 1983
  • Label: Vertigo, Warner Bros.
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
  • UK: Platinum
1986 Seventh Star
  • Released: 28 January 1986
  • Label: Vertigo, Warner Bros.
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
1987 The Eternal Idol
  • Released: 1 November 1987
  • Label: Vertigo, Warner Bros.
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
1989 Headless Cross
  • Released: 1 April 1989
  • Label: I.R.S.
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
  • UK: Gold
1990 Tyr
  • Released: 20 August 1990
  • Label: I.R.S.
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
1992 Dehumanizer
  • Released: 22 June 1992
  • Label: I.R.S.
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
  • UK: Platinum
1994 Cross Purposes
  • Released: 31 January 1994
  • Label: I.R.S.
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
1995 Forbidden
  • Released: 8 June 1995
  • Label: I.R.S.
  • Format: CD, CS, LP
"—" denotes albums that did not chart.

Live albums

YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positionsCertifications
1982 Live Evil
  • Released: December 1982
  • Label: Vertigo, Warner Bros.
  • Format: CD, LP
1995 Cross Purposes Live
  • Released: 1995
  • Label: I.R.S.
  • Format: CD
1998 Reunion
  • Released: 20 October 1998
  • Label: Epic
  • Format: CD
"—" denotes albums that did not chart.

Compilation albums

1996 The Sabbath Stones
2007 Black Sabbath: The Dio Years 151
2008 The Rules of Hell
"—" denotes albums that did not chart.


1980"Heaven and Hell" Heaven and Hell
"Neon Knights"22"Children of the Sea" (live)
"Die Young"41"Heaven and Hell" (live)
1981"Children of the Sea"
"The Mob Rules"46 Mob Rules "Die Young" (live)
1982"Turn Up the Night"3724"Lonely Is the Word"
1983"Trashed" Born Again
1986"No Stranger to Love" Seventh Star
1987"The Shining" The Eternal Idol
1989"Headless Cross"62 Headless Cross "Cloak and Dagger"
"Devil and Daughter"81 [24]
1990"Feels Good to Me"79 [25] Tyr "Paranoid" (live)
1992"TV Crimes"33 Dehumanizer "Letters from Earth" / "Time Machine"
1994"The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" Cross Purposes
1998"Psycho Man"3 Reunion
1999"Selling My Soul"17
"—" denotes albums that did not chart.


YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positions Certifications
1980 Black and Blue
  • Released: 1980
  • Label: PolyGram
  • Format: VHS, LaserDisc
1991 The Black Sabbath Story, Vol. 1
  • Released: 1991
  • Label: Sanctuary
  • Format: VHS, LaserDisc, DVD
1992 The Black Sabbath Story, Vol. 2
  • Released: 1992
  • Label: Sanctuary
  • Format: VHS, LaserDisc, DVD
1995 Cross Purposes Live
  • Released: 1995
  • Label: Picture
  • Format: VHS
1999 The Last Supper
  • Released: 1999
  • Label: Sony
  • Format: VHS, DVD
  • UK: Gold
"—" denotes albums that did not chart.

Related Research Articles

Ozzy Osbourne English heavy metal vocalist and songwriter

John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne is an English singer, songwriter, actor and reality television star who rose to prominence during the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, during which he adopted the nickname "The Prince of Darkness". Osbourne was fired from the band in 1979 due to alcohol and drug problems, but went on to have a successful solo career, releasing eleven studio albums, the first seven of which were all awarded multi-platinum certifications in the United States. Osbourne has since reunited with Black Sabbath on several occasions. He rejoined the band in 1997 and helped record the group’s final studio album 13 (2013) before they embarked on a farewell tour which culminated in a final performance in their home city, Birmingham, England, in February 2017. His longevity and success have earned him the informal title of "Godfather of Heavy Metal".

<i>Headless Cross</i> (album) 1989 studio album by Black Sabbath

Headless Cross is the 14th studio album by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Released on 24 April 1989, it was the group's second album to feature singer Tony Martin and the first of three to feature drummer Cozy Powell, along with Tyr and Forbidden.

<i>Dehumanizer</i> 1992 studio album by Black Sabbath

Dehumanizer is the 16th studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in June 1992.

<i>Live & Loud</i> 1993 album recorded by Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne

Live & Loud is a live album recorded by then former Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne, released on 28 June 1993. At the time, it was to be Osbourne's final album following Osbourne's final tour before retiring, aptly titled "No More Tours". The track "Black Sabbath" featured the original line-up of Black Sabbath, the members of which were invited to join Ozzy as guest stars for the Costa Mesa Reunion shows.

<i>Reunion</i> (Black Sabbath album) 1998 live album by Black Sabbath

Reunion is a live album by heavy metal band Black Sabbath. It features the original line-up of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward: the four musicians' first recording together since the firing of Osbourne in 1979.

<i>Forbidden</i> (Black Sabbath album) 1995 studio album by Black Sabbath

Forbidden is the 18th studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in June 1995. This recording saw the reunion of Black Sabbath's Tyr-era line-up from 1990, with the return of Neil Murray and Cozy Powell. It was the last album to feature Tony Martin on vocals, Geoff Nicholls on keyboards, and the last by the band until 2013 when Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler returned for the album 13. The album sold 21,000 copies in the U.S in its first week and as of 2013, Forbidden has sold 191,000 copies in the US.

<i>Cross Purposes Live</i> live album

Cross Purposes Live is a boxed set released by the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath in 4 April 1995. The set comprised a live album on CD and a VHS tape of a concert recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on Wednesday 13 April 1994, recorded on the band's tour for their Cross Purposes album. The tour was notable for being the first time The Wizard had been played since early 1971, when Ozzy Osbourne was still lead vocalist. It is Black Sabbath's only live album with singer Tony Martin. The CD was housed within an oversized videotape case but had its own inserts and jewel case.

<i>Greatest Hits 1970–1978</i> compilation album

Greatest Hits 1970–1978 is a compilation album from Black Sabbath, released in 2006.

Black Sabbath discography discography

The discography of Black Sabbath, a British heavy metal band, includes 19 studio albums, six live albums, 12 compilation albums, seven video albums, one extended play and 30 singles. The band was formed in 1968 by John "Ozzy" Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi, Terence "Geezer" Butler, and Bill Ward (drums). Throughout their history, the band experienced multiple lineup changes. Though the second most recent line-up of the band to work together were Ronnie James Dio, Vinny Appice, Iommi, and Butler, for three new songs for a compilation in 2007, the original line-up was still considered the "current" lineup at the time and had been since their reunion in 1997. The 2007 sessions were deemed a one-off which led to the Heaven and Hell side project, resulting in a new studio album in 2009 entitled The Devil You Know. In June 2013, a partial reformation of the original line-up released 13, which was the first album to feature Osbourne on vocals since 1978's Never Say Die!. After 49 years together, Black Sabbath announced their breakup in March 2017.

Heaven & Hell (band) American band

Heaven & Hell were an English-American heavy metal band active from 2006 to 2010. The band was a collaboration featuring Black Sabbath founding members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler along with former Black Sabbath and Dio members Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice.

Quartz are a British heavy metal band.

"Children of the Sea" is a song by heavy metal band Black Sabbath, from their ninth studio album, Heaven and Hell (1980).

<i>Live... Gathered in Their Masses</i> 2013 live album and film by Black Sabbath

Live... Gathered in Their Masses is a live album and film by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. It features performances from their 2013 world tour, recorded in Melbourne, Australia on 29 April and 1 May 2013. It was released 26 November 2013 as a CD, DVD, Blu-ray, and a deluxe box set.

The End Tour

The End Tour was the farewell tour of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, featuring founding members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. The tour concluded Sabbath's 40+ year career. The final show was 4 February 2017, in their home city of Birmingham, UK.

<i>The End: Live in Birmingham</i> 2017 live album and film by Black Sabbath

The End: Live in Birmingham is a live album and film by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. It features the final performance from their The End Tour, recorded in Birmingham, England on 4 February 2017. It was released on 17 November 2017 through Eagle Vision, as a CD, DVD, Blu-ray, Vinyl and a limited deluxe box set.


  1. Dave Lifton (January 28, 2017). "Black Sabbath keyboardist Geoff Nicholls dies". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved December 7, 2017.Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. Elder, Bruce. "Biography: Geoff Nicholls". Allmusic . Retrieved 10 March 2010.
  3. Warrell, Richard (July 23, 2012). "Tony Martin interview". Born Music Online. Retrieved August 9, 2012.[ permanent dead link ]
  4. Iommi, Tony (28 January 2017). "Former BLACK SABBATH Keyboardist GEOFF NICHOLLS Dies After Battle With Lung Cancer". Blabbermouth. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  5. Peters, Mitchell (January 28, 2017). "Geoff Nicholls, Black Sabbath Keyboardist, Dies at 68". Billboard . Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  6. Flanagan, Andrew (January 28, 2017). "Geoff Nicholls, Longtime Keyboardist For Black Sabbath, Dies Aged 72". npr . Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  7. McGeorge, Alistair (January 28, 2017). "Black Sabbath's Geoff Nicholls dies aged 68 as Ozzy Osbourne remembers 'great friend'". Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  8. "RIP". Classic Rock #234. April 2017. p. 16.
  9. 1 2 "Black Sabbath Discography". Official Charts Company . Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  10. "Discographie Black Sabbath" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40 . Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  11. Steffen Hung. "Danish charts portal". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  12. 1 2 "Discography Black Sabbath". The Official Finnish Charts . Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  13. 1 2 "Discographie Black Sabbath" (in German). Media Control . Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  14. 1 2 "Discography Black Sabbath" (in Dutch). MegaCharts . Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  15. "Discography Black Sabbath" (in Norwegian). VG-lista . Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  16. 1 2 "Discography Black Sabbath". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand . Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  17. 1 2 "Discography Black Sabbath" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan . Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  18. "Discography Black Sabbath" (in German). Swiss Singles Top 100. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  19. 1 2 "Billboard charts". Billboard . Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 "RIAA Gold and Platinum Search for albums by Black Sabbath". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2010-11-13.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  21. 1 2 3 4 "Music Canada: Black Sabbath". Music Canada. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  22. "Discography Black Sabbath". Syndicat national de l'édition phonographique. Retrieved 2013-05-02.
  23. "Chart Log UK : New Entries Update : 21.04.2007". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  24. "You searched Albums and Singles for 'Devil And Daughter'". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  25. "You searched Albums and Singles for 'Feels Good To Me'". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  26. "Veckolista DVD Album - Vecka 22, 2002". Archived from the original on 2015-12-26. Retrieved 2014-03-07.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
    "Veckolista DVD Album - Vecka 33, 15 augusti 2003". Archived from the original on 2015-12-26. Retrieved 2014-03-07.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
    "Veckolista DVD Album - Vecka 35, 29 augusti 2003". Archived from the original on 2015-12-26. Retrieved 2014-03-07.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
    "Veckolista DVD Album - Vecka 48, 29 november 2013". Archived from the original on 2015-12-26. Retrieved 2014-03-07.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  27. "Musiikkituottajat - Tilastot - Suomen virallinen lista - Musiikki DVD:t". Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  28. Steffen Hung. "Austria Top 40 - Musik-DVD Top 10 06.12.2013". Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  29. "Ultratop Belgian Charts". Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  30. Steffen Hung. "Schweizer Hitparade - Musik-DVD Top 10 08.12.2013". Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  31. Steffen Hung (2013-11-30). "Dutch Charts". Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  32. "ARIA". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2008-01-03.