He continues to influence generations of musicians with his timeless drumming style
Black Sabbath’s drummer Bill Ward turns 72 today
William Thomas Ward, known to the world as Bill Ward, was born on May 5, 1948, in Birmingham, England. As a founding member and drummer for Black Sabbath, he has influenced generations of Metal musicians, but many people don’t know that one of the heaviest drummers ever, was first influenced by the big bands of the 1940’s and Jazz. Ward formed Black Sabbath, first named Earth, with Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, and bassist Geezer Butler during the late 1960’s. The band had an almost immediate success after the release of their 1970 debut “Black Sabbath” and ruled the 1970’s as Heavy Metal pioneers. Bill Ward played on every seminal Black Sabbath albums, his unique and timeless drumming style continues to influence new generations of drummers. Bill left Black Sabbath during the 1980’s and rejoined occasionally the band for special occasions such as the 1985 Live Aid. During his time in Black Sabbath, he was the subject of countless pranks, one, gone wrong, nearly killed him. As he told later by Tony Iommi, during the recording of Black Sabbath “Vol. 4” in 1972, the band were renting a Bel Air mansion belonging to John DuPont of the DuPont chemical company. The band found several spray cans of gold DuPont paint in a room of the house; finding Ward naked and unconscious after drinking heavily, they proceeded to cover Ward in gold paint from head to toe. Ward soon became violently ill and had a seizure and an ambulance had to be called. The paint had blocked all of Ward’s pores, which they were subsequently informed can be fatal. 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 & Hell. However, Ward later decided not to participate in the tour or continue participation in the band because of musical differences with “a couple of the other band members” and a reported concern about extended touring. On 11 November 2011, Iommi, Butler, Osbourne, and Ward announced that they were reuniting to record a new album and to start touring in 2012 but Ward left before work commenced on “13”, the first studio recording to include original band members Iommi, Osbourne, and Butler. He first claimed reasons regarding his contract but later, admitting that his weight had a role in preventing him to tour with Sabbath. Osbourne also suggested in an open letter that Ward’s decision not to take part was down to his health. In April 2015, Ward criticized Osbourne on his Facebook fan page via a letter to his and the band’s fans. Black Sabbath officially called it quit in 2017 after a successful last tour. In 2016, Ward debuted with a new band called Day of Errors. Bill Ward was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 as a member of Black Sabbath, today he turns 72.
Watch Black Sabbath performing “Never Say Die” live at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in 1978
Listen to the compilation “The Ultimate Collection” featuring a selection of some of the best Black Sabbath songs on Spotify