top of page

Geoff Nicholls

Today we will tell you about Geoff Nicholls who was best known as the keyboardist of "Black Sabbath" from 1979 to 2004:

(Photo: Black Sabbath Online)

He was born in Birmingham, England - on February 29, 1948, as Geoffrey James Nicholls.

Starting in his teens he played in several local bands. He started out as a guitarist in his early teens, and his idols included Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly.

The first band he ever joined was an early 60's cover band called "Colin Storm & the Whirlwinds".

He also specialized in playing piano and organ, but never completely abandoned the guitar, when starting in 1966 became a serious fan of Jimi Hendrix's playing.

In 1968, Nicholls was recruited into the psychedelic pop band "World of Oz", replacing David Kubinec on keyboards, but he also added second guitar on some of the band's songs.

After the disbandment of "World of Oz" in the spring of 1969, Nicholls joined "Johnny Neal & the Starliners", a cabaret-style group that had success live, and even released a single called "Put Your Hand in the Hand".

Along with "Johnny Neal & the Starliners", Nicholls made numerous television appearances, and even won a contest on the show "Opportunity Knocks", but the band's style was not what Nicholls wanted to play.

He left the band and joined "Bandy Legs", which was made up of some of Birmingham's leading musicians who had not yet received a recording contract, including Mick Hopkins and Malcolm Cope. This was already a heavy metal band who signed a recording contract in 1976.

(Photo: Geoff Nicholls YouTube Channel)

In 1977, the band changed its name to "Quartz" and released its debut album.

The album was produced by Tony Iommi and the band even got to warm up "Black Sabbath" that year.

It is interesting to note that guitarist Brian May suggested editing the song "Circles" that the band recorded during the sessions of the debut album, but after several attempts, he admitted that he thought the original version was still better.

Another interesting fact about the song is that it originally featured Ozzy Osbourne on backing vocals, but his contribution was cut from the final mix by Tony Iommi. The song was ultimately not included on the album but was released as a B-side to the single "Stoking the Fires of Hell".

In 1979, Geoff Nicholls joined "Black Sabbath", initially as an additional guitarist in their live shows, but he quickly switched to playing keyboards.

Nicholls briefly moved to bass when founder Geezer Butler left the band, but returned to keyboards after Butler's return.

Interestingly, in the absence of Geezer Butler Nicholls contributed quite a bit to the sessions of the "Heaven And Hell" album and even wrote the bass line for the theme song. These facts were published after Nicholls' death and even a rare recording of him from those sessions playing the famous bass line was released.

Starting with the album "Heaven And Hell" and during the next 25 years until the album "13", Nicholas served as a keyboardist on all the albums of the band "Black Sabbath", but also as a second guitarist as needed.

He was not an official member of the band until the album "Seventh Star" from 1986, which was released exactly 31 years before his death. He returned to being a guest member of the band beginning in 1991, and then returned to full official member status from 1993 to 1996.

During his membership in the band, he was a partner in albums such as "Mob Rules", "Born Again", "Tyr", "13", "Seventh Star", "Dehumanizer" and more.

Nicholls' membership in "Black Sabbath" ended when Adam Wakeman (son of... and a member of Ozzy Osbourne's solo band) was chosen to play keyboards during the band's tours in 2004 and 2005.

Over the years, Nicholls has guested on other musicians' albums, including Tony Martin and Cozy Powell's albums.

Nicholls passed away from lung cancer on January 28, 2017, and is 68 years old.

Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our website

"Face/Off" - Israel's Rock Blog & Podcast


Enjoying the Blog? Subscribe to get it right to your mail!

Thank you !!

bottom of page