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 original lineup for the band was 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 active1968–1985, 1987-1996, 1997-2006, 2011–2017, 2022
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 Polka Tulk Blues Band. After that it was shortened to Polka Tulk. They decided after that to name themselves Earth which Osbourne hated. They played blues-rock music. 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, which was supposed to be named War Pigs. It was produced by Rodger Bain and released in 1970. After that album, they got a huge suitcase full of money so they could buy more drugs and they got more studio time.

Their third album was named Master of Reality. It was released in 1971. The album sounded even more doomy than the first two albums. Their fourth album in 1972 was meant to be named Snowblind, but their record label did not want to release an album named after a song that references cocaine. The record label 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. Osbourne lost interest in the band and left for a short time. After that ex-Fleetwood Mac singer Dave Walker was the lead vocalist. Osbourne decided to rejoin in time their eighth album titled Never Say Die!. It got ok reviews.

Ozzy was fired from the band in 1979 because of his drug and alcohol addiction. Ronnie James Dio had just left Rainbow (band) and met Sharon Osbourne at a bar. He ended up replacing 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. drummer Bill Ward left midway through the Heaven & Hell tour due to alcohol addiction. Carmine Appice almost replaced him, but decided to let his younger brother Vinny Appice join instead as he was a huge fan of Sabbath. Carmine later joined Ozzy’s solo band replacing drummer Tommy Aldridge. Appice stayed for another album and tour. Dio and Appice got upset with the other members of the band due to the mixing of Live Evil. Dio and Appice left Black Sabbath in 1982 and formed Dio. Ward rejoined for next album, Born Again. He did not tour with the band for the supporting tour of the album. The drummer hired for the tour was ex-Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan. The band hired ex-Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan for Born Again. Gillan reunited with Deep Purple, effectively ending this lineup of Sabbath

In 1984, Butler left the band for a solo project. Iommi put sabbath on hiatus while into the studio to record a solo album. It was meant to be an all star album with multiple singers. He ended up using Glenn Hughes on the whole album. He hired many bassists to replace original bassist Butler. He hired many drummers to replace original drummer Ward. Seventh Star was not meant to be released as Black Sabbath. It was going to be his debut solo album. However, Iommi ended up being his debut it was released in 2000. Tony Iommi wanted it to be his debut solo album, but his Warner Bros/Vertigo refused to do so, stating that the Black Sabbath name would make more money. Iommi wouldn't do that, and Sabbath was not selling good at the time so it made more sense to mark it as a solo record. They came up with a solution. It ended up being released under Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi.

In 1987, The Eternal Idol was released with the same lineup but with vocalist Tony Martin on vocals. This lineup lasted for another album, than Dio rejoined. This lineup than would last till Cross Purposes with original bassist Butler on bass. Iommi reunited the Tyr lineup for Forbidden.

In 1992, Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice rejoined the band for another album and tour. After that, Tony Iommi reunited the Tyr lineup for another album but with original bassist Butler. In 1994, Butler left the band during the production of Forbidden. In 1997, the original line up reformed and continued to perform occasionally until 2006, when the band went to go do a greatest hits album with Dio. That ended up with a reunion tour and a new album and supporting tour.

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, in February 2012, Ward announced he wouldn't tour and record with them unless he received a good contract for him. He never ended up getting his contract. They went on the road with Tommy Clutefos and for the studio used Rage Against the Machine Drummer Brad Wilk. They were ready to go tour when Tony Iommi got diagnosed with lymphoma. They cancelled all the dates on the reunion tour but one. That tour got replaced by Ozzy and Friends. After Tony Iommi recovered, they went out on a reunion tour. After that ended,they went on a supporting tour for their recently released album, 13. In 2016 they announced that they would embark on a farewell tour called The End tour. It lasted from 2016 to 2017.The band retired after the tour ended. It ended after the last show in Birmingham. They reunited for a one-off show at the Commonwealth games in Birmingham with touring drummer, Clutefos, keyboardist Adam Wakeman, original lead vocalist Osbourne, and lead guitarist Iommi.


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.