1948 – Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) is born this day in rock history!
Bill Ward (born William Thomas Ward, May 5, 1948, Aston, Birmingham, England), is the drummer for the pioneering 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!).
Ward’s drumming often closely doubles the rhythms of the bass and guitar riffs, producing a combined effect. An example of this is the song “Iron Man” off the Paranoid album. He is also characterized by playing quick drum rolls in between riffs and his powerful groove.
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. He left the band for personal reasons 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.
Before the full-blown reunion, Bill 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 November 15th, 1992. Sabbath, with ex-Judas Priest singer Rob Halford replacing the recently-departed Ronnie James Dio, opened the show for Ozzy in honor of it being his last show ever. Then the Ozzy Osbourne band (Ozzy, Zakk Wylde, Mike Inez, Randy Castillo and John Sinclair) did a full set before Ozzy was reunited with Tony, Geezer and Bill 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 December 4th and 5th 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. Thankfully he was well enough to return for good in 1999 and has remained with Sabbath ever since.
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, but that he would participate in the tour and new album of the original Black Sabbath lineup in late 2007. Since then, Heaven and Hell have continued to the end of 2007 and drawn up rough provisional plans for 2008.
1970 – Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
1970 – Black Sabbath – Paranoid
1971 – Black Sabbath – Master of Reality
1972 – Black Sabbath – Volume 4
1973 – Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1975 – Black Sabbath – Sabotage
1975 – Rinky Dink & The Crystal – Cameo Roles
1975 – Black Sabbath – We Sold Our Soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll
1976 – Black Sabbath – Technical Ecstasy
1978 – Black Sabbath – Never Say Die!
1980 – Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell
1980 – Black Sabbath – Live At Last
1983 – Black Sabbath – Born Again
1990 – Bill Ward – Ward One: Along the Way
1993 – Ozzy Osbourne! – Live and Loud
1994 – Nativity In Black: A Tribute To Black Sabbath
1997 – Bill Ward – When the Bough Breaks
1997 – Ozzy Osbourne – The Ozzman Cometh
1998 – Black Sabbath – Reunion
2000 – Tony Iommi – Iommi
2002 – Black Sabbath – Past Lives
2002 – Bill Ward – Straws (single)
2002 – Black Sabbath – Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978
2003 – Dio – Stand Up and Shout: The Dio Anthology
2004 – Black Sabbath – Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978)
2006 – Black Sabbath – Greatest Hits 1970-1978
2007 – Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath: The Dio Years
(TBA) – Bill Ward – Beyond Aston