Glenn Hughes


Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi: Seventh Star (1986)

One of heavy metal’s most misunderstood and unfairly maligned LPs, Tony Iommi’s first solo album (hijacked at the eleventh hour for release under the Black Sabbath brand), Seventh Star, is turning 30, so I did my best to defend it in this anniversary appraisal for Ultimate Classic Rock.

Originally, Iommi hoped to pack his solo debut with guest vocals by the likes of Robert Plant, Rob Halford, David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, and even former sparring partner Ronnie James Dio. But, in the end, only Hughes was game and, later, absolutely mortified to discover he was being trotted out as “the next Black Sabbath singer!”

After all, Seventh Star contained a variety of songwriting styles well beyond the familiar Sabbath template, including the melancholy ballads “No Stranger to Love” and “Angry Heart/In Memory,” the modernized melodic hard rock of “Danger Zone,” and the bluesiest number Iommi had played on since Sabbath’s 1970 debut, “Heart Like the Wheel.”

Even the album’s inevitable share off head-bangers: the twin-barrel speed metal attack of “In for the Kill” and “Turn to Stone,” and the doom-laden mysticism of the title track and its mood-setting instrumental intro, “Sphinx (The Guardian,” were done great justice by Hughes’ soulful pipes, so it’s a shame that he later got blamed for a bunch of label suits’ false advertising.

In any case, based on song quality alone (not these artist-naming semantics) I’ll take Seventh Star any day over several lower-rung “true” Black Sabbath albums, including Forbidden, Cross Purposes, Tyr, and even Born Again and the self-parodying 13.

For more, here’s my All-Music Guide review from many years again.