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Meet The Original Members of Black Sabbath Who Are Now In Their 70s

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Black Sabbath is one of the greatest heavy metal bands and their music still resonates with people even though the group is no longer active. The band was formed in 1968 and was plagued with discord among its members as most of them left on multiple occasions and reconciled. Black Sabbath had 18 studio albums before taking a long hiatus in 2006 which lasted for five years.

Black Sabbath reunited in 2011 and released one more album, 13, making it known to their fans that it was their final. The band however had its final tour tagged The End which saw them perform in different countries in Europe and numerous locations across the United States. The group officially announced its disbandment on the 7th of March, 2017 through posts shared on their official social media platforms.

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History of Black Sabbath

METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY, Black Sabbath, from left: Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, early 1970s, 2005. ©Seville Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

The story of the amazing band started in Birmingham, England, when four young men, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward, turned to music as a means to escape the rigors of life as a factory worker which was the major occupation of the time. They initially named their band Earth Blues Company, which was shortened to Earth, in 1968, but the name was shortlived as they had to change it to Black Sabbath in 1969 to avoid being mistaken for another band.

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Black Sabbath got its shot at success when Butler, a fan of horror films and black magic, came up with an idea of a song inspired by a mystical figure who visited him. Osbourne and Butler worked on the idea and wrote lyrics for the song “Black Sabbath,” which was named after the 1963 Boris Karloff movie. The single, upon its release in 1970 triggered a reaction in their audience and became a hit, sitting at number eight on the UK albums chart and eventually earning them their first Grammy Award in 2014.

RELATED: Ozzy Osbourne Shares Throwback With Horse After Acid Trip Story

Tony Iommi revealed to Mick Wall that the album was the beginning of their fame. “That’s when it all started to happen,” he said. “The name sounded mysterious, it gave people something to think about, and it gave us a direction to follow.”

The rise and fall of Black Sabbath

(l to r) Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, 1980s

At the height of their success with the release of hit albums like Paranoid, Masters of Reality, and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the four resorted to the use of hard drugs but quickly got over it – except for Osbourne, the lead singer. “Nobody could control anyone else,” Tony Iommi told The Guardian about their hard drug involvement. “I was doing coke left, right, and center, and quaaludes, and God knows what else. We used to have [cocaine] flown in by private plane.”

Butler further revealed in an interview with the outlet that Osbourne’s addiction was the worst of them all. “You can’t write or play songs if you’re out of your brains,” he said. “But because [Osbourne] didn’t have to play an instrument, while we were writing he’d be in the bar getting legless or doing all kinds of things.”

Things however got heated and the band fired Osbourne based on his uncontrollable substance use. Osbourne detailed the event in his 2009 autobiography, I am Ozzy. “We were doing some rehearsals in L.A., and I was loaded, but then I was loaded all the time,” he wrote. “It was obvious that Bill had been sent by the others because he wasn’t exactly the firing type. I can’t remember exactly what he said to me … but the gist was that Tony thought I was a pissed, coked-up loser and a waste of time for everyone concerned.”

Ozzy Osbourne, singing with Black Sabbath, at the Moscow Music Peace Festival, 1989.

Osbourne’s exit from the band was quite catastrophic as it altered the original lineup thus bringing in a change in their sound. This eventually led to other members leaving the band on different occasions to start solo careers which were also highly successful. However, all original members of the band came together again in 2011 and released an album together.

What are the original members of the Black Sabbath up to now?

Ozzy Osbourne

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Osbourne launched his solo career immediately after leaving Black Sabbath. He has recorded quite a huge success and has produced 13 albums with the last, Patient Number 9 released in 2022. The singer also featured in the MTV reality show, The Osbournes in 2002 with his wife, Sharon, and two of his children, Kelly and Jack.

Osbourne has also been involved in movies with voice works done for productions like Sherlock Gnomes and Trolls World Tour. He is currently battling health issues including Parkinson’s disease.

Tony Iommi

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He is the only pioneering member of Black Sabbath who never left the band. He stayed through all conflicts and witnessed the growth of the band. Although he also became a solo artist with the release of his album Iommi in 2000.

Iommi has been married to four women and has a daughter, Toni-Marie Iommi with his second wife, Melinda Diaz.

Bill Ward

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Ward was the original drummer of the group and the only member that was not present at the Black Sabbath’s reunion tour in both 2011 and 2017. He started a solo career and eventually formed his band, Bill Ward Band.

In the years following his exit from the band, he released three albums and also started a radio show. Like Iommi, he has been married four times and has three children.

Geezer Butler

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Butler was the band’s lead lyricist. The 73-year-old left the band almost the same time Osbourne was fired to set up his own group GZR, in 1995. He also became a member of the supergroup Deadland Ritual in 2018 but the band did not survive for long.

Butler has been married to his wife, Gloria Butler for over four decades and they share two sons, James, and Biff Butler.

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