Guitarist Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Geezer Butler, and Ozzy Osbourne could not have imagined that their band will be seen as one of a kind in the heavy metal realm. The English rock band was formed in 1968 in the Magic City of Birmingham. The band redefined heavy metal with their revolutionary albums Black Sabbath and Paranoid, both of them released in 1970 and the Master of Reality which was released a year later. Iommi is seen as the only consistent member of the band while the band has gone through several changes in members starting with Ozzy’s departure in 1979.
The band initially went with names like Polka Tulk Blues Band and Earth before they settled for Black Sabbath in 1969. They created a riff in the music industry with their lyrics based on themes like mystery, occult, black magic, and horror and their signature down-tuned guitars.
The Evil Woman was the first single song they released while they were recording for Philips Records. Their eponymous album was released one month after the release of Evil Woman. The album drew flak from critics and society but was dubbed as a huge commercial success. The band was so excited that they released another album, Paranoid, in the same year.
Gradually, their growing popularity and acceptance turned the negative comments of critics into favourable responses. By 1973, when Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was released, the band has become a part of mainstream music inspiring others.
Ozzy Osbourne was fired from the band because of his overindulgence in drugs and intoxication in 1979. Ronnie James Dio, who was a Rainbow vocalist, joined the band in his place. The band saw many members coming and going during the 1980s and 90s such as Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin as vocalists and other guitarists and drummers.
The band’s original group was reunited in 1997 to release a live album Reunion in 1998. They continued to tour and participate in concerts till 2005. For six years the band laid down after they again came up with their final and 19th studio album 13 in 2013 having all the original members except Ward. Black Sabbath performed for the last time in Birmingham during their farewell tour on 4 February 2017.
Black Sabbath was reported to have sold over 70 million copies worldwide till 2013. Music pundits hold them as one of the most commercially successful heavy metal bands of all time. MTV ranked them as the greatest heavy metal bands of all time. The band secured second place on the VH1’s list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The English band was included in the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. They have two Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance in their account and were endowed the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 to mark their contributions towards the field of music, especially the heavy metal genre.