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  • Artist: Black Sabbath
  • Label: Not on Label
  • UPC: None
  • Genre: Hard Rock
  • Release Date: 2019

    Jeffrey Craig Fenholt (1950-2019) was a singer, musician, and actor best known for his performance as the title character in the original Broadway theatre adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar and for his appearance on the cover of Time. Fenholt said he was heavily addicted to alcohol and drugs following the end of Jesus Christ Superstar’s run on Broadway and converted to Christianity, abstained from his addictions, spent the next several years struggling to balance his faith and his career and became a Christian evangelist and toured the world to spread some positive messages. He also released several solo albums, among them the disco album Smile in 1978. With this background he stirred up some controversy when he suddenly got involved with Black Sabbath. After Ian Gillan left Sabbath it was a confusing time for the band and they found a new singer in David Donato that did some demos with them but lefter just six months. Then Geezer Butler and Bill Ward left as well, leaving Tony Iommi as the sole original member. Iommi decided to record a solo album instead and was looking for a singer. It was manager Don Arden that suggested Iommi to use Fenholt and tracks were written, in the main by Iommi and Geoff Nicholls, for a proposed new album. Geoff Nicholls stated that after Fenholt’s departure, Iommi wanted to use different singers, including David Coverdale, Steve Marriott, Glenn Hughes and Rob Halford. Fenholt says several of his melodies were used in songs that appeared on Seventh Star. None of his lyrics were used, as confirmed by comparing the Fenholt demos with the album. Rumors suggesting he only left the project because of supposed personal conflicts with the lyrical material being written and his religious faith are suggested by Fenholt and Geoff Nicholls, who wrote the lyrics. Fenholt claims it was in fact a physical argument with Don Arden, along with Iommi’s bad habits and Tony’s proposed dark lyrics that caused his departure. However, Iommi has stated that Fenholt was never an official member of Black Sabbath. Iommi went on to say that he thought Fenholt had a great voice, but it didn’t work, due to Fenholt having difficulty in singing Sabbath type lyrics and fitting in. Anyone into Black Sabbath need to have this album as its such an interesting album. Pretty much every song that’s on Seventh Star is different on Star Of India some are obvious mainly just different lyrics like Eye Of The Storm and others while you can hear the finalized song somewhere within them it’s still very much a different song entirely. There’s actually I believe another demo like this out there that’s different. The demo also includes a cover of BB King’s "The Thrill Is Gone" featuring Lita Ford on vocals, who Iommi was dating at the time.

    “We then tried this guy called Jeff Fenholt. He was another one who had played the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar, in the Broadway version of that musical. So we had Ian Gillan, who was the original Jesus Christ Superstar, and here we had the Broadway Jesus wanting to join Black Sabbath. We tried Jeff out and he had a good voice. I cut a couple of demos with him in Los Angeles. One of the tracks was ‘Star Of India’, which later turned into ‘Seventh Star’. Another one was ‘Eye of the Storm’, which ended up on the album as ‘Turn To Stone’. And we had a track that eventually turned into ‘Danger Zone’. Jeff seemed a nice enough guy. It might have worked with him, even though I wasn’t 100 per cent convinced that he’d be able to do our older stuff. But then Jeff Glixman came in to produce the album and he didn’t think Fenholt was working out, recording-wise. And that was that. A little later Jeff Fenholt suddenly became this big TV evangelist. I couldn’t believe it, because when we met him he was saying things like: ‘Oh yeah, I fucked that chick.’ The New York Times did a thing about him being with Black Sabbath and they wrote that he saw the light, rejected evil and all this bollocks. We were right back in the satanism thing because Fenholt was going on about it. I was getting phone calls to do Larry King Live about him. I thought, I’m not getting involved in that! You try and talk religion on TV in America and you have no chance. Especially him being an evangelist now; they’re all going to side with him and I won’t have a leg to stand on!” —Tony Iommi

Black Sabbath - The Star Of India Demos (Iommi Cover) (CD)

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