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Ray Gillen
Birth name Raymond A. Gillen
Born May 12, 1959(1959-05-12)
New York City, New York, USA
Died December 1, 1993 (aged 34)
New York City, New York, USA
Genres Hard rock, blues-rock, heavy metal, glam metal
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, harmonica
Years active 1980 – 1993
Associated acts Black Sabbath, Phenomena, Blue Murder, Badlands, Sun Red Sun
Website Official website

Raymond A. "Ray" Gillen (May 12, 1959 – December 1, 1993) was an American rock singer, best known for his work with Badlands, in addition to his stint with Black Sabbath in the mid-1980's.



Gillen was born on May 12, 1959 in New York, but was raised in Cliffside Park New Jersey. He was an only child and started singing while in High School. He played the New Jersey club circuit with various bands, most notably Vendetta and Harlette. In 1985 he joined Bobby Rondinelli's band, Rondinelli.

In 1986, Black Sabbath started touring for the Seventh Star album when after only a few shows, singer Glenn Hughes got into a fist-fight and lost his voice due to the related sinus and throat injuries. Gillen was offered the job to replace Hughes, which meant quitting Rondinelli to accept the offer. After finishing the Seventh Star tour, Black Sabbath recorded their next album The Eternal Idol with Gillen. However, due to mix of financial burden, writing difficulty (Bob Daisley was recruited for writing as Gillen turned out to be not much of a composer), mismanagement and miscommunication that plagued the band, Gillen and Black Sabbath drummer Eric Singer quit before the album was ever released. Gillen was eventually replaced by Tony Martin, and the vocal track of The Eternal Idol was hurriedly rerecorded note-for-note with Martin before the album was finally released in 1987. However, demo versions of The Eternal Idol featuring Ray do exist on the bootleg circuit. Also, in an interview Tony Martin revealed that the sinister laugh heard on the track Nightmare is in fact Ray's voice.

During the time of the Seventh Star tour, Gillen was asked by project director and co-producer Wilfried F. Rimensberger to join Tom Galley's Phenomena for the recording of the album Dream Runner, which features vocals from Glenn Hughes, John Wetton and Max Bacon.

After that fell through, he joined John Sykes' (previously with Whitesnake and a different band called Badlands) new band Blue Murder. Gillen sang demos but parted company when Sykes decided to handle vocals himself.

Gillen then contacted Jake E. Lee to form a band. In 1988 Gillen started to form Badlands with Jake E. Lee (former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist) and recruited his friend Eric Singer with whom he had played in Black Sabbath. Ray recorded three albums (Badlands, Voodoo Highway, and Dusk) with Badlands and toured from 1989 until 1992.

Gillen went to New York City to form the band Sun Red Sun with old friends, but died from an AIDS related disease in a New York Hospital on December 1, 1993.


With Rondinelli

  • Wardance (Recorded circa 1985, released 1996)

With Black Sabbath

  • The Eternal Idol (Unreleased Version)
  • The laughing section of "Nightmare" on The Eternal Idol (Released Version) (1987)

With Phenomena

  • II Dream Runner (1987)

With Blue Murder

  • It's Too Late (demo) (recorded circa 1988)

With Badlands

With Sun Red Sun

With Savatage

With George Lynch

  • "Flesh and Blood" on Sacred Groove (1993)

External links

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