30 Astonishing Facts We Bet You Have Never Heard About Black Sabbath


Black Sabbath, a famous English rock band, formed in the year 1968 by Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne, and Bill Ward, has had multiple line-up changes throughout its time. In fact, Iommi is the only constant member of the band till date. Here are some interesting facts about the rock band, often considered as the pioneers of heavy metal music:

  1. Their famous album "Paranoid" is named as "the birthplace of heavy metal," by the Time Magazine, while Rolling Stone calls it the album that "changed music forever." The Rolling Stone magazine also called the band as "the Beatles of heavy metal."
  2. Black Sabbath officially announced on March 7, 2017, that they had disbanded. Osbourne stated in a June 2018 interview that he would like to reunite the band for a performance at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, due to be held in Birmingham, their home city. In the year 2019, Black Sabbath will be presented the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  3. It is said that the band would often set Ward’s beard on fire as a prank, once resulting in third degree burns for the drummer.
  4. Initially, the group went by the name "Polkas Tulk Blues Band," after a talcum powder. However, they even tried other names “Blues Band Margarine”, a riff on popular supermarket spread Blue Band Margarine, before settling on Black Sabbath, after a 1963 horror film.
  5. It is said that singer Ray Gillen recorded all of the vocal tracks for Black Sabbath’s 1987 LP, "The Eternal Idol," but was reportedly replaced with Tony Martin’s vocals after his departure.
  6. Black Sabbath was ranked by MTV as the "Greatest Metal Band" of all time, and was also placed second in VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" list. They were also listed at #85 in "100 Greatest Artists of All Time," in the Rolling Stone magazine.
  7. In the year 2013, Ward underwent gastrointestinal surgery, and is still reportedly recovering from it. In a statement, he has admitted that his health conditions are not bad, but are also not good enough to play in any band, never mind Black Sabbath.
  8. The band's first show as Black Sabbath took place on 30 August 1969, in Workington, following which they were signed by Philips Records.
  9. The "Paranoid" album’s artwork - the blurred neon warrior is said to have been a depiction or reference to the album’s originally intended title, "War Pigs," before it was renamed at the last minute.
  10. In the year 2006, Osbourne appeared in a comedy skit ad campaign for "I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter," opposite impersonator Jon Culshaw. However, this is not the first time as he played an evangelical pastor who hates music in 1983 horror "Trick or Treat." He even voiced a garden deer in the 2011 cartoon "Gnomeo and Juliet."
  11. Since 1989, Iommi was involved in the Rock Aid Armenia project, a humanitarian effort by the British music industry to raise money to help those affected by the 1988 Armenian earthquake. In October 2009 Iommi and his colleague Ian Gillan were awarded the Orders of Honor – Armenia's highest order.
  12. Their debut album "Black Sabbath," though received a negative critical response, it became a commercial success and peaked at #8 in the UK Albums chart.
  13. In early 2012, Iommi was diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, for which he underwent successful treatment. During the band's 2013 tour, the dates were arranged in a convenient way for Iommi to return to the UK once every six weeks to have an antibody administered.
  14. In the year 2015, Osbourne, informally titled as the "Godfather of Heavy Metal," received the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.
  15. It is said that no one is aware of the name or whereabouts of the mysterious woman shown on the cover of Sabbath’s debut disc, and that even the image's photographer has gone into hermit-like seclusion.
  16. There’s a Brazilian version of ‘Where’s Wally?’ a British series of children's puzzle books, titled ‘Where’s Ozzy Osbourne?’ Black Sabbath fans were challenged by a radio station in Sao Paulo to find Osbourne in a huge cartoon illustration.
  17. Black Sabbath were inducted into 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 to their name.
  18. Butler, born as Terence Michael Joseph Butler, received the nickname "Geezer," at the age of 8. He is often noted as being one of the first bassists to use a wah pedal and to down-tune his instrument, and is also regarded as one of the most influential bassists in heavy metal.
  19. In the year 1979, one of the founding member and singer Osbourne, was dismissed from the band, due to his regular use of alcohol and other drugs, and was replaced with former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio.
  20. Their most popular song ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ from "Paranoid," was actually inspired by an encounter with combat boot-wearing skinheads who are said to have disrupted one of Sabbath’s early concerts.
  21. In the year 1983, there was a plan to start a new band, when Deep Purple's Ian Gillan joined Sabbath. The famous 1986’s "Seventh Star" was supposed to be an Iommi’s solo LP; but was released under the Black Sabbath name at the behest of record label suits.
  22. In the year 1981, Osbourne bit the head off a dove, right after signing his first solo career record deal. It was said that he had planned to release doves into the air as a sign of peace, but due to being intoxicated at the time, he instead grabbed a dove and bit its head off.
  23. The band went by the name "Earth" for a while and even played shows in England under the said name in 1969, before realizing that they were being mistaken for another English group with the same name.
  24. Iommi and Ward, were a part of an English Blues rock band, "Mythology," before forming "Black Sabbath." In fact, it was after the break-up of "Mythology," that the duo enlisted Butler and Osbourne to form this band.
  25. Osbourne officially parted ways with Sabbath in 1979, but is said to have already quit the group in late 1977, due to which the band had to recruit former Savoy Brown singer Dave Walker for a single TV performance.
  26. Drumming website Totaldrumsets has listed Ward among "The 100 Most Influential Drummers Ever!" and has defined him "the mastermind behind the unholy birth of heavy metal drumming."
  27. The coughing heard at the beginning of “Sweet Leaf,” off Sabbath’s third studio album "Master of Reality," is actually Iommi, after smoking a joint in the studio. In fact the title of the song was also taken from a packet of Irish cigarettes that said "It's the sweet leaf."
  28. It was reported that the band nearly broke up before recording even a single song, when Iommi left to join the more established Jethro Tull in 1969. However, it seems that he has changed his mind for good.
  29. Osbourne's animal abuse that started off with him biting the head of a dove, had even wilder incidents in the list like throwing a shark carcass through a hotel room window when he got bored, while soaking the entire room in blood.
  30. With a total of over 70 million records sold worldwide, including a RIAA-certified 15 million in the United States, the band was named as the "Heavy Metal King" of the 70s, by Rolling Stone's Holly George-Warren.
  31. Tony Iommi Net Worth: $140 Million

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Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne

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