Despite having gotten off to such a strong start, the eighties were not very kind to Black Sabbath. Later albums such as TYR and The Eternal Cross did little to spark the public's imagination, and sold poorly.
After bumbling through the '80s with mixed results (every album seemed to have a new singer), Ozzy returned in 1997 for the live Reunion album. As work next began progressing towards a studio recording, Ozzy became more and more distracted by his upcoming reality show, The Osbournes. Tony claims to have five unfinished tracks “in the can.” Their 1998 Reunion Tour did quite well, however.
In 2006, Warner Bros. Records contacted Tony about putting together a retrospective of material from the Dio years. This led to the group finally talking to each other again after so many years, and they even managed to record three new songs for the project. These became the basis for the final music Ronnie James Dio recorded, for the self-titled Heaven And Hell album.
Always the rock 'n’ roll soldier, Ronnie plowed ahead, and toured the world with the guys, even though he was suffering horribly from stomach cancer. He passed on May 26, 2010.
As for the future of Black Sabbath, it seems that negotiations are again in order, and maybe we will see those four lads from Birmingham out storming the boards again. As for drummer Bill Ward, who apparently suffers the lion’s share of practical jokes on the road, although Tony Iommi promises to scale it back a bit, “I will never set fire to Bill Ward again.”