Black Sabbath

British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English heavy metal band. They are considered to be the inventors of heavy metal. They helped start the genre in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They have sold over 70 million albums worldwide. The band's original members were Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Terence "Geezer" Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums).[1]

Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath in 1970. From left to right: Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, and Ozzy Osbourne
Black Sabbath in 1970. From left to right: Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, and Ozzy Osbourne
Background information
OriginBirmingham, England
GenresHeavy metal, hard rock, doom metal
Years active1968–2006, 2011–2017
Past member(s)Ozzy Osbourne
Tony Iommi
Geezer Butler
Bill Ward
Ronnie James Dio
Vinny Appice


Black Sabbath formed in 1968. The band was originally named Earth. They played blues-rock music. In the band's early days, Tony Iommi had a work accident that cut off the tips of his middle and ring finger on his right hand. He started tuning his guitar lower to make its strings looser. This made it easier for him to play the guitar. Because of this, his guitar had a darker, deeper sound. The band thought this made their music sound dark and scary. Their music also had unusual key changes and time signatures (metre). They released their first album, Black Sabbath, in 1970. Their most successful single, named "Paranoid" came from their second album of the same name, also released in 1970. It was produced by Rodger Bain.

Their third album was named Master of Reality. It was released in 1971. The album sounded even more doomy than the first two albums. After that album, the band members became addicted to cocaine. They wrote a song called "Snowblind" to celebrate this. Their fourth album in 1972 was meant to be named after the song, but their record label did not want to release an album named after an illegal drug. They named it Black Sabbath Vol. 4 instead. Their fifth album, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, came out in 1973. It was the first of their albums to get good reviews from critics, although their opinion of the first four albums also changed to become much more positive over time.

In 1975, Sabbath released Sabotage, which featured some longer more progressive songs, and had a less doomy sound. This change in sound continued with 1976's Technical Ecstasy, which received mixed reviews. Ozzy lost some interest in the band and left for a short time, but decided to rejoin in time for an eighth album named Never Say Die!. It got bad reviews.

Ozzy Osbourne was fired from the band in 1979 because of his drug and alcohol addiction. American singer Ronnie James Dio replaced him. The band recorded two studio albums and one live album with him. The first studio album of the two, Heaven And Hell, was considered a return to success and musical form. Mob Rules, recorded with drummer Vinny Appice after Bill Ward left, also got a good reaction. Dio and Vinny left Black Sabbath in 1982 over different musical ideas. Bill rejoined and the band hired Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan for Born Again. This album was very unsuccessful.

Over the next few years, after Bill and Geezer left the band, Iommi hired many different musicians for the band. He hired singers such as Glenn Hughes and Tony Martin, along with many bassists (Dave Spitz, Neil Murray, etc.) and drummers (Eric Singer, Cozy Powell etc.). Many of the albums released during this time were not meant to be released as Black Sabbath. Tony Iommi wanted them to be his solo albums, but his record label told him the name Black Sabbath would make more money.

In 1991, Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice joined the band again for one album and concert tour. After that, Tony Iommi once again hired Tony Martin, alongside other musicians. In 1997, the original line up reformed and continued to perform occasionally until 2006, when the band members were busy focusing on their own projects.

In 2005, Black Sabbath were inducted into the "UK Music Hall of Fame". In 2006 the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 2011, the original line up announced they were getting back together to tour and record a new album. However, Tony Iommi was diagnosed with cancer, forcing the band to cancel most tour dates, and Bill Ward left after being unsatisfied with the contract. Tony Iommi has since been recovering, and Sabbath hired drummer Tommy Clufetos to tour with them. Brad Wilk was hired as a session drummer on the new album, which was called '13' and was released in June 2013. The band retired after the tour ended. It ended after the last show in Birmingham.


Studio albums
  • Black Sabbath (1970)
  • Paranoid (1970)
  • Master of Reality (1971)
  • Vol. 4 (1972)
  • Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)
  • Sabotage (1975)
  • Technical Ecstasy (1976)
  • Never Say Die! (1978)
  • Heaven and Hell (1980)
  • Mob Rules (1981)
  • Born Again (1983)
  • Seventh Star (1986)
  • The Eternal Idol (1987)
  • Headless Cross (1989)
  • Tyr (1990)
  • Dehumanizer (1992)
  • Cross Purposes (1994)
  • Forbidden (1995)
  • 13 (2013)


  1. "Black Sabbath". Retrieved 18 December 2010.