Black Sabbath is famed for giving birth to the name “heavy metal” and achieving enviable reputation on the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, with their career spanning over 40 years. Consisting of Ozzy Osbourne (lead vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar) and Geezer Butler (bass guitar), the band has had numerous band changes throughout their long career.
Hailing from Birmingham, Black Sabbath’s music was inspired from horror films and songs filled with the darker side of life. Butler described the world as “satanic” and saw music as a way out from their working-class destinies. During the late ‘60s Black Sabbath was formed after Ozzy Osbourne placed an ad for a gig in a local shop and the rest is history!
Originally calling themselves Earth, the band changed their name to Black Sabbath after writing the lyrics to one of their earlier songs called “Black Sabbath”, and the name fitted the group’s ethos and Black Sabbath was born in 1969.
The debut eponymous album was released on Friday 13th 1970 and was hailed a success after it reached the top 10 in the UK Album Chart and #23 in the US BillBoard 200. It stayed consistently in the chart allowing it to be certified platinum.
During the ‘70s, as the US faced the prospect of back lash from the Vietnam War; Black Sabbath released their second album Paranoid (1970 in the U.K.; 1971 in the U.S.) which contained the anti-war songs “Iron Man,” “Paranoid” and “War Pigs”. Their next two albums Master of Reality (1971) and Vol. 4 (1972) exceeded all expectations and the band grew from strength to strength.
Adding to their mystique, Black Sabbath recorded their music in a haunted castle in Wales which proved testing for the band as they were pushing themselves mentally and physically with excessive alcohol and drug abuse.
Black Sabbath’ next three albums failed to match the success of their first four albums and Ozzy Osbourne gained the reputation for being heavily involved in drugs and alcohol and was even fired from the band in 1979.
During the ‘80s in came Sharden Arden who would famously become the future Mrs Sharon Osbourne. Sharden Arden was the daughter of Black Sabbath’s manager Don Arden and she suggested Ronnie James Dio as a replacement for Ozzy Osbourne. Butler left the band at the time, to be replaced temporarily by Geoff Nichols on bass.
Black Sabbath toured with Blue Öyster Cult on the Black and Blue tour continued to have a large fan-base, going on their Heaven and hell tour and producing further albums. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler left the band, and next Bill Ward followed suit.
A long hiatus came next and the band only came together in 1997 to co-headline Ozzfest with Ozzy’s Osbourne’s solo band.
In 2002 after Sharon married Osbourne, they created the TV reality series – The Osbournes which allowed viewers to see the lives of Ozzy Osbourne and his family.
In 2006 onwards, Ozzy Osbourne worked on solo material and wrote a biography ’I am Ozzy’. With most of the original Black Sabbath band-members reunited, the band members played to a packed crowd at Download Festival 2012.