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Bill Ward

Drummer Bill Ward is celebrating a birthday today.


He was born on 5 May 1948 in Birmingham, England, as William Thomas Ward.

He started playing drums at an early age, after being influenced as a child by Big Band bands from the 1940s.

His great inspiration in drumming came from jazz and drummers like Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, and Louie Bellson. Later he was also influenced by drummers like Ringo Starr, Jim Capaldi, and John Bonham.

His first band from the mid-1960s as a drummer and singer, was "The Rest".

He met guitarist Tony Iommi in the blues-rock band "Mythology" of which they have been members since 1967.

After the band disbanded, he and Tony, bassist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy Osbourne formed the band "Earth", which later changed its name to "Black Sabbath".

(Photo: Black Sabbath On Instegram)

Ward was a part of all of the band's albums in the early days along with Ozzy Osbourne, including masterpieces such as "Paranoid", "Master Of Reality", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", "Sabotage" and more.

Beyond his drumming work, Ward also sang two "Black Sabbath" songs during the Ozzy era, "It's Alright" from the album "Technical Ecstasy" and "Swinging the Chain" from the album "Never Say Die!".

Ward also starred on the band's first album with Ronnie James Dio - "Heaven And Hell", as well as on the 1983 album "Born Again" with Ian Gillan as lead singer. Before returning to the band with Ian Gillan, Ward was a member of "Max Havoc".

Ward participated in the Black Sabbath reunion show on "Live Aid" which was held in 1985.

What led Ward out of "Black Sabbath" were his drug and drinking problems that worsened during the 1970s and which peaked in alcohol consumption and drug use even during the band's performances, among other things to resolve his panic attacks.

Ward returned to brief reunions with the band in 1992 with Rob Halford as a singer, in 1994 with Tony Martin, and on the reunion album from 1998 - "Reunion".


He suffered from many health problems over the years, that prevented him from drumming, including a heart attack and a shoulder surgery.

Geezer Butler wrote the song "N.I.B." about Bill Ward's beard which looked as sharp as the tip of a pen (Nib).

During the recording of the album "Heaven and Hell," Tony Iommi sprayed him with detergent from the reel tape that was in the studio and set it on fire. He suffered burns on his leg.

Another prank by the band members almost led to his death in 1972 during the recordings of the album "Vol. 4". After fainting from drinking too much, his bandmates undressed him and painted his whole body with a golden paint that clogged his pores and did not allow him to sweat in a way that caused him to seizure.

Ward released his first solo album - "Ward One: Along the Way" in 1990. The album featured Ozzy Osbourne and guitarist Zakk Wylde, among others. Ward later released two more solo albums in 1997 and 2015.

In 2000, Ward participated in Tony Iommi's album called "Iommi".

Since 2002, Ward has been taking part in a WPMD radio show called "Rock 50" where he plays a variety of musical styles.

(Photo: Robert Lachman)

In October 2006 there were rumors that he would join "Heaven & Hell" along with three members of "Black Sabbath", Geezer, Tony, and Dio, but Ward eventually decided not to join.

The story repeated itself on the band's reunion album with Ozzy Osborne - "13". It was initially reported that Ward would be part of the union, but in the end, he did not join.

Ward had a unique and innovative drumming style that included a combination of elements from jazz and rock. His unique style and groundbreaking playing contributed, together with his friends to Black Sabbath, to create a new genre - heavy metal.

The site "Totaldrumsets" ranked him among the 100 most influential drummers of all time and defined him as the brain behind the heavy metal style drumming.

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