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Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath bio, timeline, discography, pics & more

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath photo 2012

Black Sabbath Biography

Black Sabbath is undoubtedly one of the most important act in Heavy-Metal history, the band formed in the late '60s in Aston a few miles away from Birmingham, ENGLAND; the original line-up comprised vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Anthony 'Tony' Iommi, bassist Terence 'Geezer' Butler and drummer William 'Bill' Ward.

They released their eponymous debut album in February 1970 breaking the top 10 of the Official U.K. chart, not long after the record climbed the U.S. Pop Albums chart reaching the #23 spot.

Before the year's end, the quartet released their second LP, "Paranoid", the record shot to #3 in their homeland while the title-track climbed into the top 5 of the U.K. Singles chart, the song also entered the Pop chart at #61 on the other side of the Atlantic, where the album peaked at #12 on The U.S. National Pop chart and eventually enjoyed a long chart run selling over 4 million copies; in America the second single, "Iron Man", reached #52 on The Billboard Hot 100.

In July of 1971, Black Sabbath, issued another big hit, "Master Of Reality", the record rose to #8 on the U.S. Pop Albums chart and also smashed into the top 5 in Britain.

The next album, "Black Sabbath Vol 4", which arrived over one year later, was another platinum seller, hitting #13 on The Pop chart stateside and made the top 10 in England.

The group's line-up was expanded by the arrival of keysman Rick Wakeman and in November 1973 appeared "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", which hit #4 in U.K. and #11 in the States.

The band resurfaced two years later, after Gerald Woodruffe replaced Wakeman on keyboards, the revamped line-up recorded "Sabotage", which broke the top 10 of the British chart, but reached the #28 position on the U.S. Pop Albums chart with a significant drop in sales.

After the success of the double-LP greatest hits package, "We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll", the quintet released in September 1976 their seventh album of new material, "Technical Ecstasy", but the record missed the top 50 in U.S. and only reached #13 in Great Britain.

Ozzy Osbourne left Black Sabbath in October of 1977 after having some personal problems, Dave Walker replaced him and appeared on BBC TV show in early 1978. That same year Osbourne returned to the fold, in September, Black Sabbath issued "Never Say Die!", the record hit #12 on the British chart spawning two Top 40 singles: the title-track and "A Hard Road"; in America the album was a modest hit, peaking at #69 on The U.S. Pop Albums chart.

At the start of 1979 Osbourne was fired and replaced by Ronnie James Dio, the group added a new keyboardist, Geoff Nicholls and in the spring of the following year released "Heaven And Hell", this album climbed into the top 10 in Britain on the strength of two hit singles: "Neon Knights" and "Die Young"; on the other side of the Atlantic sold over a million copies cracking the top 30 of the official Pop Albums chart.

The line-up change again when Bill Ward left due to the heavy drinking and his place was filled by drummer Vinny Appice, the group released "Mob Rules" in the fall of 1981, it duplicated its predecessor's success in the States where "Turn Up The Night" hit #24 on The Mainstream Rock chart and "Voodoo" enterd the top 50 on the same chart; in the U.K. the album hit the top 20 following the success of the title-track.

Dio and Appice decided to leave Black Sabbath after the release of the collection "Live Evil", which was issued in December 1982. Around this time original drummer Bill Ward returned to the fold and Ian Gillan from Deep Purple joined as the new vocalist; in August 1983 the renewed quintet released a new LP, the aptly titled "Born Again", which debuted into the top 5 in U.K. and into the top 40 of the U.S. Top 200 LPs & Tapes chart.

The next year Gillan left the group that played at Live-Aid in July 1985 with Ozzy Osbourne but, in the following months many members of the veteran heavy-Rock band left; however Tony Iommi put together a new line-up with another Deep Purple singer, Glenn Hughes, Dave Spitz on bass, Eric Singer on drums and reconfirmed Nicholls on keyboards, the result was "Seventh Star", a disappointing album which made the top 30 in England and scraped the bottom of the American charts.

"The Eternal Idol" was issued in late 1987 after Hughes' departure; Ray Gillen joined as lead vocalist, this album was recorded with Iommi, Bob Daisley on bass, Nicholls and Eric Singer, the band's thirteenth full-length disc reached #168 on The Billboard Top 200 chart.

During the summer of the following year, after several changes, Black Sabbath started to work on the next LP, "Headless Cross", Iommi and Nicholls recruited Tony Martin on vocals, Laurence Cottle on bass and Cozy Powell on drums, completing the album in the spring of 1989; the disc debuted at #31 in the U.K. and reached #115 on Billboard's Top 200 chart.

Cottle was soon replaced by bass player Neil Murray and after a brief tour the band headed back into the studio to record "TYR", an album which cracked the top 40 in Britain but missed the charts entirely in the States.

In the fall of 1991, Black Sabbath was back with its most celebrated line-up: Dio, Iommi, Butler, Appice, and Nicholls; they recorded "Dehumanizer" which was issued in mid-1992, the record rose to #44 on The Billboard Top 200 list and to #28 in Britain; the quintet supported the album with an European tour and in America Ozzy Osbourne invited the band to perform on the same bill; Ronnie James Dio refused to play and announced his departure, Judas Priest's Rob Halford joined the band for two shows and then also Appice left again.

After Iommi and Butler realized that the Osbourne reunion rumors were breaking down replaced Dio and Appice by bringing back Tony Martin and adding Bob Rondinelli on drums; in January 1994 the quintet released "Cross Purposes" but the record didn't rise higher than #122 in U.S. Top 200 and missed the top 40 in the U.K. charts.

One and a half year later Powell and Murray rejoined the band; Black Sabbath released "Forbidden" which failed to chart in America and was a minor hit in the U.K. where it peaked at #71.

The band, fronted by Osbourne, in late November 1997 announced two live shows in their native Birmingham, Ozzy Osbourne, Iommi, Butler and Ward played togheter on December 4 and 5; their performance was captured on the platinum-certified double-CD set, aptly titled "Reunion", which was released one year later; the record was a big success in America where it peaked at #11 on The Billboard Top 200 and hit #5 on the Top Canadian Albums charts; the set included two previously unreleased studio-tracks, "Psycho Man" and "Selling My Soul", both the songs were released as a single reaching #3 and #17, respectively, on The Mainstream Rock chart.
In early 2000 the Heavy-Metal iconic band won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance for their rendition of "Iron Man".

In late 2006 Dio, Iommi and Butler, joined by drummer Vinny Appice, reunited to record three new songs for Rhino Records' era-spanning collection, "The Dio Years"; the collection features a dozen classic studio recordings, one live track and the three brand-new tracks including the Hot Mainstream Rock top 40 hit "The Devil Cried".
Two and a half years later this line-up, under the name Heaven & Hell, unleashed an album of all new material entitled "The Devil You Know".

This chapter of the band's history sadly ended with the death of Ronnie James Dio, who succumbed to stomach cancer in May 2010.

Latest News:

The very first original line-up of Black Sabbath, with the exception of drummer Bill Ward, returns with the new single "God Is Dead?" which serves as a preview for the band's upcoming album titled "13"; the set is expected to drop on June 11, 2013.


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Black Sabbath pictures:

  • Black Sabbath 1978 Black Sabbath 1978
    The band line-up 1978
  • Black Sabbath band lineup 1987 Black Sabbath band lineup 1987
    "Seventh Star" era LtoR: Ray Gillen, Eric Singer, Tony Iommi, Dave Spitz and Geoff Nicholls
  • Black Sabbath 1998 Black Sabbath 1998
    Black Sabbath "Reunion" publicity shot 1998
  • Black Sabbath 2007 Black Sabbath 2007
    Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio(2007)