Mon October 31st, 1994
Mon November 16th, 1992
Mon January 30th, 1984
Mon November 9th, 1981
Mon August 3rd, 1981
Best Of Black Sabbath (2002)
Best Of (2000)
Sabbath Stones (1999)
Reunion (1998)
Forbidden (1995)
Cross Purposes (1994)
Terry "Geezer" Butler (1967-Present), bass
Bill Ward (1967-Present), drums
Ozzy Osbourne (1967-Present), vocals
Tony Iommi (1967-Present), guitar
Although there is a 1963 film by Italian horror impresario Mario Bava called Black Sabbath, the band name actually came from a song that bassist Terry "Geezer" Butler wrote early in the band's career when it was still called Earth. The tune was based on a novel by British cult novelist Dennis Wheatley. Wheatley's writing veered between mystery and occult, and often reflected the conservative, right wing side of politics/philosophy in WWII England. Among the Wheatley titles still in print are They Found Atlantis, The Devil Rides Out, The Irish Witch, The Satanist and To the Devil, a Daughter.
Black Sabbath
The four founding members of Black Sabbath – Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward and Terry "Geezer" Butler - were teenagers in the mid-'60s when they first started playing music together as the Polka Tulk Blues Band. Heavily influenced by the trippy blues-rock that was evolving out of the hippie movement, they changed their name to Earth and jammed around the British Midlands and Europe. They soon discovered there was another band called Earth, and in order to avoid confusion decided a name change was on order. Butler had recently written a song called "Black Sabbath," inspired by one of cult author Dennis Wheatley's novels. The group adopted it as its new moniker and forged on with the engaging live shows that were drawing an increasing number of fans.

Eventually the quartet attracted the attention of Phillips Records, which signed Black Sabbath in 1969. A year later the band's debut single, a cover of Crow's "Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me)," was released on Phillips imprint, Fontana. Though the single didn't make much of an impact on either side of the Atlantic, the self-titled debut album that followed it hit the Top 10 in the UK as well as the US Top 40. For the next five years, Black Sabbath would release a succession of albums that remain classics of the metal oeuvre: Paranoid, Master of Reality, Vol. 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (which featured a guest performance by Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman) and Sabotage.

Following the 1975 release of the compilation We Sold Our Soul For Rock'n'Roll, creative differences began to cause tension between Osbourne and Iommi, with the latter wanting to expand the band's sound and the singer resisting the notion of tinkering with a successful sound. In 1977 Osbourne quit, then returned in 1978 only to leave again a year later. He was replaced by former Rainbow frontman Ronnie James Dio. The first effort from the new line-up, Heaven and Hell, hit the streets in 1980 and was a commercial success, though shortly after its release Ward left the band for health reasons (substance abuse had been an escalating problem during the Heaven and Hell sessions) to be replaced by Vinnie Appice. This line-up recorded Mob Rules (released in 1981), which yielded a couple chart singles ("Turn Up the Night" and the title track) and went gold in the US. But during the mixing stage of the next album (Live Evil) Iommi and Dio had a falling. In 1983 the band split and Black Sabbath was down to Iommi and Butler once again.

The two original Sabbath members coaxed Ward into rejoining the group and tapped former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan to front the new incarnation. Born Again was released in the fall of 1983, and the band soon hit the road to support it (with Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan sitting in for Ward, who would rejoin the band when it came off the road).

Successful as this alliance was, Gillan only stayed until the following spring when he was lured out of the fold by a Deep Purple reunion. Dave Donato served as a stopgap singer for Sabbath until the original line-up reunited for Live Aid in 1985. From 1986 to about 1990, the band became "Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi" but was essentially an Iommi solo project featuring a revolving door cast of players that included: former Deep Purple singer Glenn Hughes, bassist Dave Spitz (brother of former Anthrax bassist Dan Spitz), keyboardist Geoff Nichols, drummer Eric Singer, drummer Bev Bevan, bassist Bob Daisley, singer Tony Martin, drummer Cozy Powell, bassist Laurence Cottle, bassist Neil Murray.

For the recording of 1992's Dehumanizer, Iommi resurrected the commercially successful 1979-1983 version of the band (Iommi, Butler, Appice, Dio), and Black Sabbath saw its first UK and US chart successes in years. Later that year Butler, Iommi and Appice backed Ozzy Osbourne for the first of many of the singer's "final" live performances. This led to news that Osbourne would be rejoining Sabbath - an announcement that was ultimately several years premature. Dio and Appice left the band, and Iommi replaced them with Tony Martin and drummer Bob Rondinelli, a line-up that produced the modestly successful Cross Purposes (1994). The next album, Forbidden (1995), featured yet another permutation of former band members - Powell, Nichols, Murray, Martin and Iommi - and barely made a peep commercially.

Two years later, the long awaited Black Sabbath reunion finally took place with a December 1997 concert in the band's hometown of Birmingham. A live recording of the show, the double-disc Reunion, was a modest success in England, but in the US it went platinum and the track "Iron Man" won Black Sabbath its first Grammy (Best Metal Performance) nearly three decades after the song was originally recorded. Since then the original Black Sabbath has toured on its own as well as headlining Osbournešs annual summer metal package tour Ozzfest. Plans for a new Sabbath studio album are also in the works.
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