The Rest / Mythology / Polka Tulk Blues Band / Earth
Black Sabbath

Yes, we know they aren't a Cumbrian band, but their beginnings were very much involved with the area and Carlisle in particular.

Sabbath even had a roadie from Egremont (born in Cleator Moor), David Tangye, who has co-written a book about his days with the band "How Black Was Our Sabbath" (available from HMV, and local bookshops).

David had previously played with the Egremont band Necromandus who had supported Black Sabbath in the early seventies. The lead guitarist of Necromandus was Baz Dunnery (the brother of Frank Dunnery of "It Bites" one of the most successful Cumbrian bands). Necromandus recorded one album "Orexis of Death" with the support of Tony Iommi.

Mythology were based in Carlisle in the late 60s and from early 1968 featured a lead guitarist called Tony Iommi (who took over from Frank Kenyon) and a drummer called Bill Ward. Tony and Bill were from Birmingham and had previously been in a band called "The Rest" that had decided to move from Birmingham up to Carlisle.

Mythology were a blues/rock band that had some success in the area but eventually disbanded after a brush with the law (allegedly involving cannabis), playing their final gig in Silloth.

Tony Iommi and Bill Ward then returned to Birmingham. There they met up with Ozzy who Tony had known at school (but apparently disliked). In those days Ozzy sported a skinhead hairut! Ozzy and Geezer Butler were forming a band and looking for a drummer. Ozzy asked Tony if he knew any drummers and Tony of course suggested Bill.

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Visit David Tangye's website at


Tony and Bill joined up with Ozzy and Geezer and after adding and discarding slide guitarist and a sax player formed a blues band called "Polka Tulk Blues Band".

Because of Tommy and Bill's previous success with Mythology they came back up to Carlisle to try their luck.

Before long the "Polka Tulk" name was dropped and the band became the more manageable "Earth".

Over the next year or so Earth played many times in Cumbria and the south of Scotland including such venues as -

The Tow Bar Inn at Nethertown
Gretna Hall Tavern
County Ballroom, Carlisle
Wigton Market Hall
Banklands Youth Club, Workington
Westfield Welfare Centre, Workington
Loreburn Hall, Dumfries
Buccleuch Hall, Langholm
Low Hesket Village Hall

Interspersed between gigs back in Birmingham and the Midlands area and trips to Hamburg to play the Star Club.

In 1968 Earth played a school end of term dance in Carlisle for the princely sum of £40.

They went down so well they were asked to come back the following year, which they agreed to do for £70.

Meanwhile Earth returned to Birmingham, changed their name to Black Sabbath and the rest as they say is history.

Come the following year the organisers of the school dance were amazed to see the Black Sabbath truck pull into the school car park - they played the gig for the £70 agreed.

For the full story of this event go to Black Sabbath Online