Passings: Geoff Nichols, Keyboardist for Black Sabbath (1948 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Geoff Nichols, the keyboard player for Black Sabbath from 1979 through the reunion tour, died Saturday after suffering from lung cancer. He was 68.

Tony Iommi wrote:

I'm so saddened to hear the loss of one of my dearest and closest friends Geoff Nicholls. He's been suffering for a while now with lung cancer and he lost his battle this morning. Geoff and I have always been very close and he has been a real true friend to me and supported me all the way for nearly 40 years. I will miss him dearly and he will live in my heart until we meet again.

Rest In Peace my dear friend.


Nichols was actually a multi-instrumentalist, having started playing lead guitar in the local Birmingham, England bands like Colin Storm & the Whirlwinds and Johnny Neal and the Starliners (late-60's/early-70's) followed by a five year stint on guitar and keyboards with Quartz.

Geoff joined Black Sabbath in 1979 at the time when Ronnie James Dio had taken over on vocals. He was originally brought in on bass after Geezer Butler left the band for a short time and switched to keyboards upon his return. His first album with the band was the classic Heaven and Hell.

Nichols stayed with the band and its members for the next 25 years, appearing on all of their albums; however, he was rarely fully credited as a member of the band and, even when touring, would be relegated to the side of the stage. The only time he appeared as part of the band was during the tour in support of Seventh Star (1986).

During times when Black Sabbath was on hiatus, Nichols still worked regularly with members of the band, especially Iommi, on solo projects.

Nichols final album with Black Sabbath was 1995's Forbidden; however, he remained part of the band for appearances through 2004.

He has since been playing with former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin's group Tony Martin's Headless Cross.

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