Ozzy and Tony Iommi Settle Black Sabbath Suit

Singer and guitarist talk reunion after coming to agreement over name rights

July 20, 2010 2:30 PM ET

Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi have "amicably resolved" their legal battle over the rights to the Black Sabbath name. "Both parties are glad to put this behind them and to cooperate together for the future and would like it to be known that the issue was never personal, it was always business," the pair said in a statement. As Rolling Stone previously reported, Osbourne took Iommi to court in May 2009 claiming that the guitarist illegally assumed sole ownership of the Black Sabbath moniker. In his lawsuit, Ozzy asked that ownership of the Black Sabbath trademark be split equally between himself, Iommi and Sabbath's Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.

Look back at Black Sabbath's career in photos.

Even though he left the band in 1980 to pursue a solo career, Osbourne argued that it was his "signature lead vocals," in addition to Iommi's legendary genre-defining riffs, that helped propel the band's "extraordinary success," and pointed out that Black Sabbath's popularity nosedived after he was replaced by Ronnie James Dio. "As of the mid-1990s, after constant and numerous changes in band members, the brand of 'Black Sabbath' was literally in the toilet," Ozzy said in an open letter to Iommi at the time.

Osbourne's lawsuit came just six months after Dio filed a cease-and-desist against Live Nation, claiming the concert giant continued to sell over 100 items of merchandise featuring the band's likeness, name and logo even though their merchandising agreement ended in 2006. After Live Nation's merchandising deal — reported to be worth $80 million — expired, Iommi reclaimed sole ownership of the Black Sabbath name.

When Osbourne visited Rolling Stone last month, the Blizzard of Ozz discussed the possibility of reuniting with his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bandmates. "I love those guys — Bill, Tony and Geezer," Ozzy told RS. "I never say never anymore because you never know what's going to come around."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

More Song Stories entries »