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B L A C K     S A B B A T H


 

Formed 1967, Birmingham, England

Ozzy Osbourne  (b. Dec. 3,1948, Birmingham), voc.;
Terry "Geezer" Butler (b. July 17, 1949, Birmingham), bass;
Tony Iommi (b. Feb. 19,1948, Birmingham), gtr.;
Bill Ward (b. May 5,1948, Birmingham), drums.

 

Formed in Birmingham, England in 1968, the four man powerhouse known as Black Sabbath pioneered a bone-crunching rock and roll assault that laid the foundations for the heavy metal revolution that swept popular music in the '70s and '80s. While the band's blistering ensemble playing and evocative lyric blend of machismo and mysticism set a standard for countless groups to follow, their 1970 self-titled debut album remains one of the most innovative and influential long players in rock history.

Comprised of Ozzy Osbourne (vocalist), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums), the quartet was initially known by the name Polka Tulk and then Earth and took their hometown pub-and-club circuit by storm with a high energy blend of blues and rock. Schoolmates from a working class Birmingham neighborhood, the group earned a fervent following throughout the English Midlands and in 1968 changed their name to Black Sabbath . The new moniker reflected the band's penchant for moody, dark-hued music that matched supernatural themes with supercharged ensemble playing. In 1969 they entered the recording studio to cut their first album.

Black Sabbath eventually reached the Top Ten on British charts where it remained for three months and earned the band a devoted cult following on both sides of the Atlantic.

The breakthrough came later that year with Paranoid, a pioneering heavy metal offering. Laden with Iommi's driving guitar riffs, Ozzy's eerie vocals and the thundering rhythm section of Butler and Ward, Paranoid reached Number One on British charts and Number Eight in the U.S. where it remained on the charts for more than a year and reached Platinum status. The title track, a harrowing descent into madness, was an FM radio staple and the band played its first successful American tour in the autumn of that year.

Master of Reality, Black Sabbath's third album, was released in August of 1971. Among the album's eight original selections were such Black Sabbath trademarks as Children of the Grave and Sweet Leaf. Master of Reality reached the Top 10 on American charts and remained a bestseller for nearly a year.

Black Sabbath recorded Vol. 4 in early 1972 at the Record Plant in Los Angeles. In addition to such powerhouse originals as Supernaut and Under The Sun, the album revealed a whole new side to the band's songwriting skills, with such melodic and carefully crafted selections as Cornucopia and the haunting Laguna Sunrise, an instrumenal that would subsequently become one of the band's musical trademarks.

One of a handful of hard rock's certified classics, Black Sabbath's 1973 tour de force Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath earned critical acclaim to match the group's long-standing stature as premiere heavy metal practitioners. Such Sab standards as Killing Yourself to Live, Looking For Today and the title track combine the group's propulsive musical drive with a multi-faceted lyric approach that is, by turns, subtle and commanding. Produced, written and performed by the group, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath remains a highpoint in Black Sabbath's long recording career.

When Sabotage, Black Sabbath's sixth long player, was released in 1975, it not only cinched the quartet's reputation as premier hard rockers but earned them lavish praise for their arranging, producing and songwriting skills. With a potent blend of high energy rock and haunting, evocative lyrics, the eight classic cuts comprising Sabotage showcase Black Sabbath at the peak of their formidable musical power.

A blockbuster "Best Of" collection, featuring 14 of Black Sabbath's hard rock and heavy metal classics, We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll chronicles this pioneering group's groundbreaking career from their inception through the release of 1975's critically acclaimed Sabotage. Included on this deluxe package are such slabs of pure Sab as Paranoid, War Pigs, Faires Wear Boots and Children Of The Grave.

Highlighting original material from the classic Black Sabbath, 1976's Technical Ecstasy contains such propulsive studies in Sabbath sounds as Back Street Kids, Gypsy, Rock 'N' Roll Doctor and the LP's centerpiece Dirty Women. Technical Ecstasy stands as one of Black Sabbath's most inventive and original studio outings.

The eighth studio album in a career that stretches nearly two decades, Black Sabbath's 1978 release, Never Say Die, features the potent combination of Tony Iommi's electrifying guitar, the vocals of premiere rock performer Ozzy Osbourne, and some of the band's most memorable songwriting. Never Say Die, which captures all the legendary power of the original lineup, was the last album to feature Ozzy as the Sab's frontman. Standout cuts include Johnny Blade, Breakout, Shock Wave and the title track, all included in the group's live repertoire.

In 1979, Ozzy Osbourne was replaced by Ronnie James Dio, an American who had fronted the group Elf and served a stint in Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. It was the group's first personnel change in over a decade. Heaven And Hell was Black Sabbath's ninth album, and the first with the group's new singer. Containing eight cuts written by Dio and the band, the album was a Top 10 bestseller and was followed by a major U.S. and British tours.

Released in 1981, Black Sabbath's second album with Dio as the band's frontman and the first album with the group's new drummer Vinnie Appice, the album, Mob Rules, featured nine smashing cuts such as Turn Up The Night, Slipping Away and The Mob Rules. The album was a Top 20 bestseller and was followed by a major U.S. and British tours.

Release in 1982, Black Sabbath released a live album, Live Evil. Containing all the great hits from their first album up to the latest studio album release, Mob Rules. Shortly afterwards, Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice left the band.

The album, Born Again, released in 1983 brought in vocalist Ian Gillan, who was formaly of Deep Purple into Black Sabbath. Original Sabbath drummer, Bill Ward, returned as well. Such favorites off this album include Trashed, Digital Bitch and Zero The Hero. For the U.S. and British tours, Bev Bevan from ELO replaced Bill Ward. After the U.S. and British tours, Bev Bevan and Ian Gillan left the band. Bill Ward came back again and they tried with a new vocalist, Dave Donato. This lineup never recorded, and Dave Donato was fired from the band for a very egotistical magazine interview he gave. They tried once more and the only other person alledged to be in the band during this time was Ron Keel. After trying, Geezer Butler left and Black Sabbath broke up.

Three years later, in 1986, Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi released another album entitled, Seventh Star. Glen Hughes, from Deep Purple joined as the frontman. During the U.S. tour, Glen Hughes left the band after 10 dates into the tour, and was replaced by Ray Gillen, who finished out the tour.

In 1987, Black Sabbath release their fourteenth album, the eternal idol. Featuring great hits such as the shining, hard life to love, born to lose and lost forever. That years line up consisted of Tony Iommi (guitars), Tony Martin (vocals), Dave Spitz, Bob Daisley (bass), Bev Bevan (percussion) and Eric Singer (drums). Ray Gillen actually recorded this album and left before it was released. Tony Martin came in at that point, re-recorded the vocals and it was then released.

In 1989, Black Sabbath release their fifteenth album, Headless Cross. Featuring great hits such as Devil and Daughter, When Death Calls, Black Moon and the title track. That years line up consisted of Tony Iommi (guitars), Tony Martin (vocals), Cozy Powell (drums) and Laurance Cottle (bass). Laurance Cottle was replaced by Neil Murray.

In 1990, twenty-two years after the inception of Black Sabbath, the band released their sixteenth album, TYR. Featuring a continuing direction set by the 1987 album, the eternal idol, Black Sabbath is once again gaining momentum. Such great songs from this album include Anno Mundi, Jerusalem, The Sabbath Stones and the balled Feels Good to Me. Replacing Laurance Cottle on bass for this album and tours was Neil Murray.

1992 marked a historical event for Black Sabbath. It was the year of the Reunion with Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler, Vinnie Appice and Tony Iommi. The album, Dehumanizer, rocked through the world. Featuring smashing hits such as Time Machine, TV Crimes, Master of Insanity and Sins Of The Father. Time Machine was featured in the box office smash hit Wayne's World. The album was a Top 20 seller followed by major U.S. and British tours.

In 1994, Black Sabbath released their eighteenth album, Cross Purposes. Featuring great hits such as I Witness, Cross of Thorns, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Immaculate Deception and Psychophobia. The band's lineup consisted of Tony Martin (vocals), Geezer Butler (bass), Tony Iommi (guitars) and Bobby Rondinelli (drums).

In 1995, Black Sabbath released their nineteenth album, Forbidden. Featuring hits such as The Illusion of Power, Get a grip, Shaking Off The Chains and Sick and Tired. The band's lineup consisted of Tony Martin (vocals), Neil Murray (bass), Tony Iommi (guitars) and Cozy Powell (drums). A major U.S. and British tours followed. Cozy Powell left the band after the US leg of the tour and was replaced by Bobby Rondinelli.

In 1997, the original line-up of Black Sabbath was formed once more. They played on December 4th and 5th at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England. This prompted for a live ablum named Reunion

1970 -- Black Sabbath (Warner Bros.)
1971 -- Paranoid; Master of Reality 1972 -- Volume 4
1973 -- Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath
1975 -- Sabotage
1976 -- We Sold Our Soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll; Technical Ecstasy
1978 -- Never Say Die
1979 -- ( -- Osbourne; + Ronnie James Dio [b. circa 1950, Cortland, N.Y.], voc.)
1980 -- Heaven and Hell
1981 -- ( - Ward; + Vinnie Appice [b. Staten Island, N.Y.], drums) Mob Rules
1982 -- ( -Dio; -Appice; +Dave Donato, voc.; + Ward, drums)
1983 -- Live Evil ( - Donato; + Ian Gillan [b. Aug. 19, 1945, Hounslow, Eng.]; Born Again
1984 -- ( -Gillan)
1985 -- ( - Ward; - Butler; + Glenn Hughes [b. Penkridge, Eng.], vocals; + Geoff Nichols [b. Birmingham], kybds.; + Dave Spitz [b. New York City, N.Y.], bass; + Eric Singer [b. Cleveland, Ohio], drums) Seventh Star
1987 -- ( - Spitz; -Hughes;+ Bob Daisley, bass; + Tony Martin, voc.; - Singer; + Bev Bevan [b. Nov. 25,1946, Birmingham], drums) The Eternal Idol ( -Bevan; - Daisley)
1989 -- (+ Cozy Powell [b. Dec. 29,1947, Cirencester, Eng.], drums; + Spitz) The Headless Cross (I.R.S.) ( - Nichols; + Lawrence Cottle, bass; - Cottle)
1990 -- ( + Neil Murray, bass; -Murray; +Nichols) TYR
1991 -- ( - Powell; - Martin; + Appice, drums; + Butler, bass; + Dio, voc.)
1992 -- Dehumanizer (Reprise)
1993 -- ( -Dio;-Appice; + Butler; + Martin; + Bob Rondinelli, drums)

 



Onetime lead singer with Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne traded on his former band’s legacy of loud hard rock and mystical/occult trappings, and his own propensity for grossly outrageous acts, to become one of heavy metal’s best-loved and most successful frontmen.  "I’m not a musician," Osbourne once claimed, "I’m a ham." In 1981, at an L.A. meeting of Columbia Records executives, Ozzy bit the head off a live dove; a few months later he bit the head off a bat tossed to him by a fan at a Des Moines concert. (Osbourne had thought it was a rubber toy.) The latter incident resulted in the singer receiving a series of rabies shots.

 

Osbourne has said there was "a lot of insanity" in his family; that he’d made several suicide attempts, as early as age 14, "just to see what it would feel like"; that at one point he and Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward took acid every day for two years; and that his last months with Black Sabbath in 1978 were "very unhappy. I got very drunk and very stoned every single day."

Osbourne’s first two solo LPs went double platinum, and in 1981 "You Can’t Kill Rock ‘n’ Roll" garnered heavy FM-AOR airplay. Osbourne was unhurt when, on March 19, 1982, near Orlando, Florida, his tour plane, which was buzzing his tour bus, crashed. Osbourne and most of his band were in the bus; Osbourne’s guitarist Randy Rhoads, hairdresser Rachel Youngblood, and pilot/bus driver Andrew Aycock were all in the plane and were all killed. Rhoads was replaced within a few weeks by Brad (Night Ranger) Gillis, and the show went on. Later that year Osbourne married his manager, Sharon Arden. He also recorded a live album, Speak of the Devil at the Ritz in New York. Each of his succeeding albums, except for the 1990 Just Say Ozzy went at least platinum (Bark at the Moon and No More Tears went double platinum). Tribute (#6, 1987) included live recordings featuring Randy Rhoads, from 1981.

For Osbourne, 1986 was particularly eventful: In April he was fined several thousand dollars by the New Jersey Meadowlands after his fans trashed an arena during a concert; that summer, he made his movie debut as an antirock minister in the horror film Trick or Treat; and toward the end of the year, he disappeared for three weeks -- eventually turning up at the Betty Ford Clinic, where he’d checked in to battle his alcoholism.

A favorite whipping boy of the religious right, Osbourne was the target of an antirock sermon delivered in early 1990 by New York City’s John Cardinal O’Connor. Between 1985 and 1990, Osbourne was sued by three different sets of parents (two from Georgia, one from California), all claiming his song "Suicide Solution," from Blizzard of Ozz, had induced their sons to commit suicide (lamenting the death of AC/DC’s Bon Scott, the song is clearly antialcohol and antisuicide). Osbourne prevailed in every suit.

In 1991 Osbourne announced his No More Tours Tour to support No More Tears -- an alleged farewell jaunt, during which he broke a foot while jumping around onstage in Chicago, and later caused a near-riot in Irvine, California, when he invited his audience onstage (that show had been billed as a benefit to fund replacement of Randy Rhoads’ graffiti-covered tombstone, which broke even once Osbourne paid damages to the venue). In October 1992 the tour brought Osbourne to San Antonio, Texas -- the first time he’d played there since February 1982, when he’d been banned from the city for urinating on the Alamo (Osbourne’s also been banned, for various reasons and lengths of time, from Boston, Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia). Osbourne’s two tour-ending shows in Costa Mesa, California, were opened by Black Sabbath, with Judas Priest’s Rob Halford replacing Sabbath singer Ronnie James Dio, who refused to open for his predecessor. Osbourne did a four-song mini-set with Sabbath at the final show. The tour produced the Live & Loud album, which earned Osbourne his first Grammy nomination, for Best Metal Performance for the track "I Don’t Wanna Change the World."

Only weeks after the tour ended, Osbourne’s publicists said he might indeed tour again, but not as a solo act. Alleged financial bickering scuttled subsequent negotiations for a 1993 Ozzy-Sabbath reunion tour. In spring 1994 Osbourne recorded a version of Sabbath’s "Iron Man" with Irish band Therapy for the Sabbath tribute album, Nativity in Black.

Born John Osbourne, December 3, 1948, Birmingham, England

1980 -- Blizzard of Ozz (Jet)
1981 -- Diary of a Madman
1982 -- Speak of the Devil
1983 -- Bark at the Moon (CBS Associated)
1986 -- The Ultimate Sin
1987 -- Tribute
1988 -- No Rest for the Wicked
1990 -- Just Say Ozzy
1991 -- No More Tears (Epic)
1993 -- Live & Loud


 

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