Listen to a Previously Unreleased Black Sabbath Song, “Slapback”
A previously unreleased recording of Black Sabbath rehearsing the Dio-era track “Heaven and Hell” surfaced earlier this winter, published by the estate of live band member and frequent collaborator Geoff Nicholls. Another song from that same tape has now made its way online: a previously unreleased Sabbath track called “Slapback.”
The track features Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Tony Iommi on guitar and Bill Ward on drums, but it’s not clear who plays bass. Geezer Butler’s absence during the writing sessions for what would become Heaven and Hell resulted in Nicholls playing bass on the live rehearsal recording released in January, and while no definitive statement as such accompanies “Slapback,” a message that precedes the video suggest it could have also been him.
Gary Rees, Nicholls’ stepson and executor of his estate, said of “Slapback:”
“This latest upload from the Geoff Nicholls estate I believe is called ‘Slapback’ from the scrawling on the cassette and the chorus. This is from the same cassette as the ‘Heaven & Hell’ upload on this channel. It doesn’t sound like a typical Sabbath song if it is them but it does sound like Ronnie James Dio.”
Nicholls contributed keyboards and additional guitars to the band’s live show, while standing off stage, for a number of years. Nicholls is also credited with keyboards on 10 Black Sabbath albums, and was tapped for bass during the writing sessions for Heaven and Hell while Geezer Butler was away from the band dealing with a divorce.
You can listen to “Slapback” below.