Black Sabbath

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

Black_Sabbath-1970
Black Sabbath in 1970
BLACK SABBATH
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

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

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

black-sabbath-paranoid-1970-4
August 7, 1970: “Paranoid” UK #4

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

Black_Sabbath_Vol._4
September 25, 1972: Vol 4 UK #8, Silver

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

Black_Sabbath_Sabotage
July 28, 1975: Sabotage UK #7, Silver

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

Black-Sabbath-Technical-Ecstasy
September 25, 1976: Technical Ecstasy UK #13

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

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

Black_Sabbath_Live_At_Last
July, 1980: Live At Last UK #5

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

BlackSabbath-LiveEvil-Front
December, 1982: Live Evil UK #13

SabbathBorn.jpg
August 7, 1983: Born Again UK #4, Platinum

Tony_Iommi
Tony Iommi in 2009
TONY IOMMI
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.

BillWardIn1970
Bill Ward in 1970
BILL WARD
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

Bill_Ward-Ward_One
January 10, 1990: Along the Way

Boughbreaks_roses
April 27, 1997: When the Bough Breaks

Ozzy_Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne in 2010
OZZY OSBOURNE
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

Blizzard_of_ozz
September 20, 1980: Blizzard of Ozz UK #7

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

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

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

So_Tired
May, 1984: “So Tired” UK #20

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

The_ultimate_sin
February 22, 1986: The Ultimate Sin UK #8

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

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

Ozzy_Osbourne_-_No_More_Tears
September 17, 1991: No More Tears UK #17

Ozzy_-_Ozzmosis
October 23, 1995: Ozzmosis UK #19

Geezer_Butler
Geezer Butler in 2013
GEEZER BUTLER
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

GZR-Plastic_Planet
October, 1995: Plastic Planet by G//Z/R

Black_Science_by_GZR
July 1, 1997: Black Science by Geezer
Advertisements