Biographic by Steve McGarry for July 21, 2013
Biographic Steve McGarry Black Sabbath When budding guitarist Tony Iommi Lost the tips of two fingers on his right hand in an accident where he worked in his native Brimingham, England, the teenager considered abandoning his musical ambitions. Instead, he persevered, and learned to play by extending the missing digits with sewing thimbles! He was soon a professional musician, honing his craft in a succession of local bands. In 1968, Iommi formed blues band Polka Tulk with Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne and "Geezer" Butler. Soon renamed Earth, they toured extensively, and broke the record for house attendance se t by The Beatles at the star-club in Hamburg, Germany. By 1970, they were known as Black Sabbath and were spearheading the emerging heavy metal movement. The multiplatinum album "Paranoid" gave them transatlantic chart success and they went on to become one of the decade's biggest live acts. The band members were infamous for living every bit as hard as they rocked, and the excesses took a predictable toll. In 1979, against a backdrop of musical differences and management upheavals, his increasingly wild and erratic behavior saw Ozzy jettisoned from the ranks. The sack didn't hamper his career - Ozzy has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide! Ozzy was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio - but within a year, drummer Bill Ward quit and was replaced by Vinny Appice. Subsequent personnel turnover was almost constant, and new vocalists included erstwhile Deep Purple Singers Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes. Various members have returned to the fold at various points, with Iommi remaining the one constant. The original lineup, having reunited briefly to play Live Aid in 1985, reconvened to tour and record a live album in the late 1990s. In 2005, Black Sabbath was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. 2013 sees the original lineup back together once more (minus Ward, who bowed out over contractual disagreements) touring behind hit album "13" - their first studio album to feature Ozzy in 35 years!