​This page is about English rock band Black Sabbath and its original members.

Black Sabbath in 1970
1968 – 2006, 2011 – 2017
Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970) and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

Formed in 1968 as the Polka Tulk Blues Band, a blues rock band, the group went through line up changes, renamed themselves as Earth, broke up and reformed. By 1969, they had named themselves Black Sabbath after the film Black Sabbath starring Boris Karloff, and began incorporating occult themes with horror-inspired lyrics and tuned-down guitars. The band’s first show as Black Sabbath took place on August 30, 1969, in Workington.

Their debut album, Black Sabbath, was released on Friday the 13th, February 1970.

Osbourne’s regular use of alcohol and other drugs led to his dismissal from the band in 1979. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Following two albums with Dio, Black Sabbath endured many personnel changes in the 1980s and 1990s that included vocalists Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin, as well as several drummers and bassists. In 1991, Iommi and Butler rejoined Dio and drummer Vinny Appice to record Dehumanizer (1992). The original line-up reunited with Osbourne in 1997 and released a live album Reunion. Black Sabbath’s final studio album and nineteenth overall, 13 (2013), features all of the original members but Ward, who left the band prior to the recording sessions due to a contract dispute. A year after embarking on a farewell tour, the band played their final concert in their home city of Birmingham on February 4, 2017, after which they broke up. Iommi has stated that he has not ruled out the possibility of new material or one-off shows under the Black Sabbath name.

20th Century Highlights

Click on images for links to Spotify or YouTube

February 13, 1970: Black Sabbath UK #8, Gold

September 18, 1970: Paranoid UK #1 (1 week), Gold

August 7, 1970: “Paranoid” UK #4

July 21, 1971: Master of Reality UK #5, Gold

September 25, 1972: Vol 4 UK #8, Silver

December 1, 1973: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath UK #4, Gold

July 28, 1975: Sabotage UK #7, Silver

December 1, 1975: We Sold Our Soul For Rock ‘n’ Roll (compilation) UK #35, Silver

September 25, 1976: Technical Ecstasy UK #13

September 28, 1978: Never Say Die! UK #12

April 25, 1980: Heaven and Hell UK #9, Gold

July, 1980: Live At Last UK #5

November 4, 1981: Mob Rules UK #12, Silver

December, 1982: Live Evil UK #13

August 7, 1983: Born Again UK #4, Platinum

Tony Iommi in 2009
Born February 19, 1948
Tony Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. He is lead guitarist and one of the four founding members of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He has been the band’s primary composer and sole continual member for nearly five decades.

While working in a factory as a teenager, Iommi lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his right hand in an accident; an event which crucially affected his playing style. Iommi briefly left Black Sabbath’s forerunner, Earth, in 1968 to join Jethro Tull, after which he returned to Black Sabbath in 1969, recording their self-titled debut album.

Iommi has appeared on all albums by Black Sabbath.

Bill Ward in 1970
Born May 5, 1948
Bill Ward is an English musician and visual artist, best known as the original drummer of the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He also performed lead vocals on two Black Sabbath songs: “It’s Alright” from the album Technical Ecstasy and “Swinging the Chain” from the album Never Say Die!. Ward is known for his very unorthodox style of playing the drums, often using snare-drills and tempo-drop to match both vocals and riff.

Ward has appeared on all Black Sabbath albums 1970 – 1983, two Ozzy Osbourne albums in 1993 and 1997, and Reunion in 1998.

20th Century Highlights

January 10, 1990: Along the Way

April 27, 1997: When the Bough Breaks

Ozzy Osbourne in 2010
Born December 3, 1948
John “Ozzy” Osbourne is an English singer, songwriter and actor. He rose to prominence during the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He was fired from Black Sabbath in 1979 and went on to have a successful solo career. Osbourne has since reunited with Black Sabbath on several occasions, recording the album 13 in 2013. His longevity and success have earned him the informal title of “Godfather of Heavy Metal”.

As a member of Black Sabbath, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame as a solo artist and as a member of the band. Possessing a distinctive singing voice and as a native of Birmingham, Osbourne is known for his strong Brummie accent – he has a star on the Birmingham Walk of Stars in his hometown as well as the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Osbourne has appeared on all Black Sabbath albums 1970 – 1978 and ’13’ in 2013.

20th Century Highlights

Click on album covers for links to Spotify

September 20, 1980: Blizzard of Ozz UK #7

November 7, 1981: Diary of a Madman UK #14

November 27, 1982: Talk of the Devil (live album) UK #21

November 15, 1983: Bark at the Moon UK #24

May, 1984: “So Tired” UK #20

January, 1986: “Shot in the Dark” UK #20

February 22, 1986: The Ultimate Sin UK #8

March 19, 1987: Tribute (live album) UK #13

September 28, 1988: No Rest for the Wicked UK #23

September 17, 1991: No More Tears UK #17

October 23, 1995: Ozzmosis UK #19

Geezer Butler in 2013
Born July 17, 1949
Terence “Geezer” Butler is an English musician and songwriter, best known as the bassist and primary lyricist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath.

Geezer Butler has appeared on all Black Sabbath albums 1970 – 1994 and ’13’ in 2013, and three albums by Ozzy Osbourne.

20th Century Highlights

Click on album covers for links to Spotify

October, 1995: Plastic Planet by G//Z/R

July 1, 1997: Black Science by Geezer