EARTH SCANDINAVIAN TOUR
Earth Warwick Square, Carlisle March 15, 1969
Earth Promotional Poster September 1968
VOCALS: JOHN MICHAEL "OZZY" OSBOURNE
BASS: TERENCE "GEEZER" BUTLER
GUITARS/FLUTE: TONY IOMMI
DRUMS: BILL WARD
Geezer, Bill and Ozzy at The Marquee February 6, 1969
Earth did their first gigs outside of England in February 1969. According to Tony Iommi did they travel with ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark in Tony's old beat up Ford Transit van.
"We did a couple of European tours in those early years. The first one took us to Hamburg, Denmark and Sweden..." (Tony Iommi Iron Man).
Tony's van outside his parents house in Aston
The first two gigs in Denmark on February 15 at Gladsaxe Teen Club and Bröndby Pop Club (two shows in one day) in Copenhagen were cancelled as the band got stuck in a snowstorm en route to Copenhagen. According to an article in the Teen Club Magazine, was the band stuck in a snowstorm in Frankfurt. ”Den engelske bluesgruppe Earth var fanget i 14-15 meter (næsten) sne i Frankfurt” Translated: ”The English blues band Earth was trapped in 14-15 meters (almost) of snow in Frankfurt” That sounds like a hell of a lot of snow ;-) If they actually played in Frankfurt before going to Denmark is not known at the moment. According to "How Black Was Our Sabbath" by David Tangye & Graham Wright did they travel from England to Denmark. " The journey to Denmark, by ferry and transit van, was less amusing. It seemed never ending to the band as the travelled from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark and finally on to Copenhagen. Arriving in Denmark, they were greeted by heavy snow. The roads were open but driving was difficult, and the old Transit van eventually broke down in the middle of nowhere. ... The promoter in Copenhagen sent a representative out to travel in the van with Earth..." (How Black Was Our Sabbath)
They finally made their way to Copenhagen where they played three nights in a row at the Revolution club.
February 15 - Gladsaxe Teen Club (Egegårds Skolen)/Gladsaxe,DK (Cancelled)
February 15 - Bröndby Pop Club (Norregardsskolen)/Bröndby,DK (Cancelled)
February 17 - Revolution/Copenhagen,DK (with Root Jackson, Jenny and the Hightimers)
February 18 - Revolution/Copenhagen,DK (with Root Jackson, Jenny and the Hightimers)
February 19 - Revolution/Copenhagen,DK (with Root Jackson, Jenny and the Hightimers)
Revolution, Åboulevard 35, Frederiksberg
”Endnu en gang har fire engelske bluesmusikere haft succes i Danmark. Denne gang var det den ret nye gruppe Earth, som i tre dage begejstrede publikum i Revolution i København. Af ydre ligner gruppen Jethro Tull, men den er langt bedre. Det er især sangeren John Michael Osbourne og guitaristen og fløjtespilleren Tony Iommi, der er iørefaldende. Deres teknik er suveræn.” (Aalborg Stiftstidende)
”Once again, four English blues musicians have been successful in Denmark. This time it was the fairly new group Earth, which for three days thrilled the audience in Revolution in Copenhagen. From the outside, the group looks like Jethro Tull, but it is far better. It is especially the singer John Michael Osbourne and the guitarist and flutist Tony Iommi who are catchy. Their technique is superb.” (Aalborg Stiftstidende)
From Copenhagen they travelled over night to Stockholm Sweden. A journey that today would take approx. 7 hours but would have taken a lot longer back in 1969. Arriving in Stockholm they parked the transit van near the venue for a few hours of sleep in the cold van. The temperature in Stockholm on February 13 (a week before their gig) was down to 25 degrees below zero (celcius).
".. we both travelled and slept in the van sometimes. It was bloody cold and uncomfortable as we slept on top of the equipment" (Tony Iommi Rock n Roll Magazine #5 2021)
- "Vi tog hit Black Sabbath redan när de hette... vad var det nu? Earth, ja, så var det. 1969, måste det ha varit. De spelade på lilla klubben Domino på Södermalm.
Bandet sov i en gammal skåpvagn som de hade parkerat på Söder Mälarstrand. Jag fick väcka dem."
Thomas Johansson (Live Nation) i Rock n Roll Magazine #4 2018
Translated: - "We brought Black Sabbath here already when their name was ... what was it now? Earth, yes, that was it. 1969, it must have been. They played at the small club Domino on Södermalm.
The band slept in an old van that they had parked on Söder Mälarstrand. I had to wake them up. "
Thomas Johansson (Live Nation) in Rock n Roll Magazine #4 2018
The gigs in Stockholm and Smedjebacken was a last minute replacement for the band The Move that had cancelled their dates.
February 20 - Domino/Stockholm,SWE (with Peps and Blues Quality)
Ad from Expressen 19 feb, 1969
Ad from Expressen 20 feb, 1969
Photo by Kerold Klang © for reference only: The Swedish band More on stage at Domino February 14, 1970 (almost on the day one year after Earth played there).
Domino used to be a Bingo hall during the day and have discos and bands in the evening.
Review from Svenska Dagbladet 22 feb, 1969
A summary of the review in English:
Happy blues evening!
Blues was the theme for Domino's quality pop evening last thursday, when british group Earth and swedish group Blues Quality with Peps performed.
Earth formed as late as august of last year and haven't made a record yet. At the start they were six man, but now they're down to four. Like so many other groups that have since gained glory and fame, they have been discovered at the Marquee in London, where they currently are the in house band. Earth arrived in Stockholm from Copenhagen and will also perform in Gothenburg on this, their first Scandinavian tour.
Earth have gotten much of their inspiration from Jazz. They play a happy Jazzblues, but with strong influences from Rock n Roll music. A lot of their repertoire is old jazz- and rock songs that they have re-arranged. In some way they reminds me of Ten Years After.
It was a satisfying experience hearing a new and unknown band as Earth do such a great gig. They played well-balanced and with emotion - with a nice groove to their songs. The guitar playing reminded me of a young Eric Clapton and the drummer showed his ability with many talented and interesting ideas during a long drum solo. The groups progressive, "happy" blues was very catching and fun to listen to.
February 21 - Shaker Club (Folkets Hus)/Smedjebacken,SWE
Ad from local newspaper
Folkets Hus, Vasagatan 11, Smedjebacken
Festsalen at Folkets Hus Smedjebacken in the 50's.
Audience member Hans-Göran Nilsson told me and journalist Jörgen Holmstedt that there was only 30 people in the audience. And that Earth sounded great, but played really loud so a few people left after a while due to the volume. He also said from what he remembers did Earth start off the show with two instrumental tracks before Ozzy joined in. He got their autographs after the show and later understood that it was Black Sabbath he had seen when he bought the Black Sabbath album and recognized their names on the sleeve. But as it said Ossie Osborne on the sleeve and John Osbourne on his autograph he first thought that it was a different vocalist.
Another audience member told me that he came in even though he was a minor, and that the band members had sausages at the local grill kiosk after the show, and that he helped them because the menu was in Swedish. Ozzy offered him Whisky as thanks for the help but his mother, who was there to pick him up, stepped in and told him that he was too young to drink.
The grill kiosk where Earth had hot dogs after the show.
Image from Google Street View 2011. The grill has since moved to a nearby building and the kiosk has been demolished.
February 22 - Hornet (Stockholms Nation)/Uppsala,SWE
Review from Uppsala Nya Tidning
A summary of the review in English:
According to reliable sources, blues music is on its way back in the pop context. 50% of the new bands that appears seems to be playing blues. At the same time as many of the "big" blues acts as John Mayall and Canned Heat increases in popularity new blues bands pop up with the hope that they might get a "free ride".
Most people have probably never heard of Earth, one of the many new british blues bands. As blues musicians they do not differ much in comparison with other british acts within the same genre. This was at least my first impression at Saturdays concert.
My second impression however came after a few songs; Maybe do they have their own style, something that made you listen and watch with a bit more interest? However, a correct definition of this is difficult to make. They reminded me a bit of Jethro Tull.
Earth is the kind of popband that would probably upset the ordinary middle aged Swedish citizen if he against all odds would visit one of their shows. They have long hair, wear dirty clothes and doesn't dress very well, they play very hard and loud music. But if he against all odds would listen with an open mind he would soon discover that they are good musicians and that they play catchy songs.
Bluesmusic is supposed to follow certain predetermined and given patterns. The possibilities for variation will thus not be too many. With the help of electronics, however, the modern blues bands have given the whole thing a new angle. Earth stayed within the frame all the time but still managed to vary the music so that it did not become monotonous, mainly through long instrumental solos. The bands singer did not have much to do, but he spent time with clowning around.
Earth is one of many blues bands. If they are heard about in some major contexts, it is difficult to say, here it can only be said that in terms of quality, they hold up very well in comparison with many others.
Audience member Anders Folke told me that it was a great show and Earth reminded him a lot of Jethro Tull. He often brought his camera to shows but unfortunately not this time. He found out that it was Black Sabbath he had seen when he read an article in Melody Maker about Black Sabbath and saw that they had previously been called Earth. He bought the album on it's release and saw them at the Plumpton Festival in August 1970.
Stockholms Nation, Drottninggatan 11, Uppsala
February 23 - Globe Club/Gothenburg,SWE
Ad from Göteborgs Posten 23 feb, 1969
The building on Nils Ericsonsgatan 3 where Globe Club was located. Globe Club was located on the first and second floor, on the third and fourth floors were two other clubs. The building was demolished in 1971 to give room for Nordstans Parkeringshus (a multistory car park).
February 24 - Castella/Kinna,SWE (Not Confirmed)
Castella, Kasthallsvägen (now called Fritslavägen 6), Kinna
Haven't managed to get this show confirmed yet. But according to sources was the owner of Castella contacted with short notice about a band that had an upcoming gig in Gothenburg and wanted more gigs so he booked them. He has stated that "They [Earth] played so loud that the people living in a nearby residential area complained about the noise. If they had only knew that the band would later become Black Sabbath".
Thanks to KB's tidningsarkiv, diverse facebookgrupper och sidor - Det Gamla Stockholm, Det Gamla Göteborg, Shaker Club, Uppsala Musikarkiv, Anders Folke, Hans-Göran Nilsson, Per Viklund, Daniel Sundblad (för tipset som ledde mig på rätt spår angående Uppsala), Jörgen Seven Leandersson (för info om Kinna), Jörgen Holmstedt (Rock n Roll Magazine), Revolution - Spillested samt devilution.dk för info om Danmarksspelningarna.
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