Tony Iommi recalled the time he told Bill Ward to “forget” the idea of starting a band with Ozzy Osbourne, just before they began working with Geezer Butler on the project that became Black Sabbath.

The moment took place in 1968, after guitarist Iommi and drummer Ward spent six months in the north of England with their group Mythology, before heading south to their native West Midlands.

“When we broke up, we came back to Birmingham, and we decided that we wanted to stick together and form a band together,” Iommi told Gibson in a recent interview. “We went into the music shop in Birmingham and there was an advert saying, ‘Ozzy Zig requires gig.’ And I said to Bill, ‘I know an Ozzy, but it can’t be him. He can’t sing.’”

Regardless, the pair visited the address Osbourne listed. “We followed the advert, knocked on the door," Iommi recalled. "His mum came to the door, and we said, ‘We’ve come about the advert.’ And she said, ‘John, it’s for you!’ So he comes up, and I’m seeing him walk up the hall, I said to Bill, ‘Forget it, forget it! I’ll tell you later.’”

You can watch the interview below.

Iommi and Ward wound up talking to Osbourne “for a bit” and then left without making a decision on whether they wanted to work with him.

“And then two days later, Ozzy came around to my house, because I lived not that far from where he lived,” the guitarist continued. “We all lived in the same sort of area, so he came around with Geezer to my house. And we had a shop – my mother and brother’s shop at that point – so they came around and said, ‘Do you know any drummers?’ I said, ‘Yeah, Bill’s a drummer.’ And Bill said, ‘I’m not doing anything unless we go together.’ I said, ‘We’re sticking together.’ So we decided to get together and give it a go, and what a rally it was.”

Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut album was released 50 years ago this month. Iommi noted on Facebook that he "learnt something new" about the LP's cover artwork during the golden celebration.


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