Black Sabbath are a British rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968 by Ozzy Osbourne (lead vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass guitar), and Bill Ward (drums). The band has since experienced multiple line-up changes, with Tony Iommi the only constant presence in the band through the years. A total of twenty-two musicians have at one time been members of Black Sabbath. Originally formed as a heavy blues-rock band named Earth, the band began incorporating occult- and horror-inspired lyrics with tuned-down guitars, changing their name to Black Sabbath and achieving multiple platinum records in the 1970s. Despite an association with occult and horror themes, Black Sabbath also composed songs dealing with social and political issues such as drugs and war.
As one of the first and most influential heavy metal bands of all time, Black Sabbath helped define the genre with releases such as quadruple-platinum Paranoid, released in 1970. They were ranked by MTV as the "Greatest Metal Band" of all time, and placed second in VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" list, behind Led Zeppelin. They have sold over 15 million records in the United States alone. Rolling Stone has posited the band as 'the heavy-metal kings of the '70s'. They have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
Vocalist Ozzy Osbourne's drinking led to his being fired from the band in 1979. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. After a few albums with Dio's vocals and his songwriting collaborations, Black Sabbath endured a revolving line-up in the 1980s and 1990s that included vocalists Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin. In 1992, Iommi and Butler rejoined Dio and drummer Vinny Appice to record Dehumanizer. The original line-up reunited with Osbourne in 1997 and released a live album, Reunion. The 1979–1982 and 1991–1992 line-up featuring Iommi, Butler, Dio, and Appice reformed in 2006 under the moniker Heaven & Hell until Dio's death on 16 May 2010.
Before the eventual full Black Sabbath reunion, Ward and the original Sabbath had re-united twice for short sets, first for Live Aid in 1985 and then at a Costa Mesa, California Ozzy Osbourne show on 15 November 1992. Sabbath, with Judas Priest singer Rob Halford, replacing the recently-departed Ronnie James Dio, opening the show for Osbourne. The Ozzy Osbourne band (Osbourne, Zakk Wylde, Mike Inez, Randy Castillo and John Sinclair) then did a full set before Osbourne was reunited with Iommi, Butler and Ward for four numbers.
Ward made a brief return to the band for a South American tour in 1994, before finally rejoining the band for the two shows at the Birmingham NEC, England on 4 and 5 December 1997, which made up the Reunion album. When what was billed as the original line-up reunited for the Ozzfest tour in 1997 Mike Bordin played drums. Ward then had to skip all but the last two band appearances in 1998 while he recovered from a heart attack suffered during the tour rehearsals that May. As was the case in 1980, he was again replaced at short notice by Vinny Appice, although this time it was always intended to be a temporary absence for Ward, health allowing. He was well enough to return for good in 1999 and has remained with Sabbath ever since.
Since mid-2002, Ward has done a monthly internet only radio show named "Rock 50" on radio station WPMD from Cerritos College in California. Ward plays a variety of metal, hard rock, and some classic rock.
In October 2006 news leaked that Ward would be reuniting with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Ronnie James Dio for a tour though under the moniker Heaven and Hell. However, Ward later decided not to participate in the tour or continue participation in the band due to musical differences between himself and "a couple of the other bandmembers".
Ward has two sons, Nigel and Aron, and one daughter, Emily. Ward maintains a vegan diet.
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Drum Dungeon Bio - BILL WARD
William Thomas "Bill" Ward (born 5 May 1948, Aston, Birmingham, England), is an English musician, best known as the original drummer for the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath.
In addition to playing drums as an original founding member of the band, Ward sang lead vocals for two Black Sabbath songs; "It's Alright" from Technical Ecstasy and "Swinging the Chain" from Never Say Die!. He also coined the term, "downer rock."
Ward's drumming often closely doubled the bass and guitar riffs. An example of this is the song "Iron Man" on the Paranoid album.
Prior to the formation of Black Sabbath, Bill Ward and guitarist Tony Iommi played in a band called Mythology, and joined vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler, who had played in a band together called "Rare Breed".
Between 1969 and 1980, Ward played drums on every Sabbath album.
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He left the band to play in Max Havoc in August 1980 during a tour for the album Heaven and Hell. He sat out one album (1981's Mob Rules) before returning for 1983's Born Again. He once again left the band following the recording of that album, due to ill health. He was officially back in the band again in the summer of 1984, but the band did not record or tour then.
According to Tony Iommi, he and the band would often set Ward's beard on fire and perform other harmful pranks on him. On one occasion, Ward even received third-degree burns.
Bill Ward drumming with his Sabbath mates in 1970 on the classic "Fairies Wear Boots".
Some vintage footage from a Black Sabbath Paris gig.
The legendary rock drum master Bill Ward performing War Pigs with Black Sabbath in 1970
Bill discusses preparation for touring as a drummer and readying hmself for the physical rigors of a full night of drumming on the road.