Black Sabbath are an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968 by Ozzy Osbourne (lead vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass), and Bill Ward (drums and percussion). The band has since experienced multiple lineup changes, with a total of twenty-two former members. Originally formed as a heavy blues-rock band named Earth, the band began incorporating occult- and horror-inspired lyrics with tuned-down guitars, changing their name to Black Sabbath and achieving multiple gold and platinum records in the 1970s. As one of the first and most influential heavy metal bands of all time, Black Sabbath helped define the genre with releases such as 1970’s quadruple-platinum Paranoid. They were ranked by MTV as the “Greatest Metal Band” of all time, and have sold over fifteen million records in the United States alone.
Vocalist Ozzy Osbourne’s drinking led to his firing from the band in 1979 and was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. After a few albums with Dio’s vocals and his songwriting collaborations, Black Sabbath would see a revolving lineup in the 1980s and 1990s that included vocalists Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin. In 1992, Iommi and Butler rejoined Dio and drummer Vinny Appice to record Dehumanizer, an album which stands to be Black Sabbath’s heaviest album to date. The original lineup reunited with Osbourne in 1997 and released a live album, Reunion. The early/mid 1980s line-up featuring Iommi, Butler, Dio, and Appice reformed in 2006 under the title, Heaven & Hell.