The Reason David Coverdale Refused Tony Iommi’s Offer To Front Black Sabbath

Known as the forerunner of heavy metal music, Black Sabbath was formed in 1968 by Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Geezer Butler, and Ozzy Osbourne. The band made it to the forefront with their down-tuned guitars and horror-themed lyrics during their early career. With the releases of their first three albums, ‘Black Sabbath,’ ‘Paranoid,’ and ‘Master of Reality,’ Black Sabbath contributed to the definition of the heavy metal genre.

Following Osbourne’s departure in 1979 due to his heavy substance abuse, Black Sabbath went under several line-up changes. Soon after Osbourne’s departure, Rainbow’s Ronnie James Dio joined the band. Due to internal disputes, Dio left Black Sabbath in 1982 to form his own band. As a result, the band started searching for a new lead singer. That was when Tony Iommi offered David Coverdale the position of the frontman of Black Sabbath. However, Coverdale refused this offer. Let’s learn why.

Why Did David Coverdale Turn Down Tony Iommi’s Black Sabbath Offer?

After Ronnie James Dio left Black Sabbath in November 1982, the remaining original members of the band, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, began auditioning singers for Black Sabbath’s next release. At that time, they considered offering the spot to David Coverdale, Nicky Moore, and John Sloman.

When Iommi approached Coverdale, he was already making musical efforts with Whitesnake, the band he founded in 1978. Tony Iommi told Gibson TV that Coverdale refused the offer because he had just gotten Whitesnake together. Iommi then stated that David Coverdale asked him why he didn’t find him before, in a kind of regretful way.

Recalling those times, Tony Iommi told Gibson TV the following:

“I found David Coverdale, and he said, ‘Oh, I just got this band together, Whitesnake. Why didn’t you find me before?’ I said, ‘He Dio hadn’t left before, it’s happening now.’ So there was a lot looking for another singer, and we would audition various singers, including Michael Bolton.

Believe it or not – he was one of them, which was an odd one. It just went on a bit, and we couldn’t decide. Eventually, it came to Ian Gillan, and we had him, we got together with Ian Gillan. We had a meeting, and Ian doesn’t seem to remember the meeting. He got too drunk, he couldn’t remember what happened.”

So, after David Coverdale declined the vocalist position with Black Sabbath, the band settled on former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan in 1983. Coverdale, on the other hand, has continued his career in Whitesnake.

You can check out the interview where Tony Iommi recalled his encounter with David Coverdale below.