Geoff Nicholls, English keyboardist, Died at 68

Geoffrey James “Geoff” Nicholls was born on February 28, 1944, and died on January 28, 2017.

He was a British musician and keyboardist, and longtime member of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, until 2004.

He also played in the NWOBHM band Quartz, before joining Black Sabbath.

During the late 1960s/early 1970s, Geoff played lead guitar for the Birmingham band Johnny Neal and the Starliners.

He was originally brought in as a second guitarist when Black Sabbath doubted whether they would even continue under that name.

Then, he switched to bass when Geezer Butler left briefly, and then became the band’s keyboardist upon Butler’s return and the decision to keep the Sabbath name.

His first appearance on a Black Sabbath album was on Heaven and Hell (1980), and he was credited as keyboardist on every Sabbath release from that time until 13 (2013), although he was not an official member until 1986.

Nicholls remained an official member until 1991, then regained member status from 1993 to 1996.

Nicholls was an unofficial member once again since the reunion with Ozzy Osbourne in 1997.

Because his main role with Sabbath has been on the keyboard, Nicholls also played some rhythm guitar on the reunion tours, e.g., during Iommi’s solo in “Snowblind” and a few tracks during the Headless Cross (1989) and Forbidden (1995) tours.

Up until his death, Nicholls played keyboards with former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin, in his band Tony Martin’s Headless Cross.

He had previously performed on both of Martin’s solo albums and their support tours.

Geoff Nicholls passed away at 68 years old.