GRAMMY winners Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Butler and Osbourne discussed their love for the Beatles, collaborating with GRAMMY-winning producer Rick Rubin on their latest studio album, 13, songwriting, and founding Black Sabbath 45 years ago, among other topics.
"The way [Black Sabbath] came about, we used to rehearse ... at this community center in Birmingham … and one of [the] guys said, 'Isn't it strange that people pay money to get scared? Why don't we start writing scary music?'" said Osbourne. "And that's really the way it happened. It spun off the jazz and blues into what it became [and] I'm f***ing glad it happened."
Considered the architects of heavy metal, Black Sabbath — currently comprising Osbourne (vocals), Butler (bass) and Tony Iommi (guitar) — formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. In 1970 the group, rounded out by drummer Bill Ward, released their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album and follow-up, Paranoid, which both cracked the Top 25 on the Billboard 200.
Black Sabbath subsequently released platinum-selling albums such as Master Of Reality (1971), Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 (1972) and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973). Osbourne left the group following the release of 1978’s Never Say Die!, embarking on a solo career. Through the '80s and beyond, Black Sabbath carried on with a string of new lead vocalists, including the late Ronnie James Dio. The original lineup launched a full-scale reunion in 1997.
In 1999 Black Sabbath earned their first GRAMMY for Best Metal Performance for a live version of "Iron Man," which was originally featured on Paranoid. In 2006 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In June 2013 Black Sabbath released their most recent studio album, 13, which debuted at No. 1 in 13 countries and was the first studio album to feature Osbourne on vocals since Never Say Die! Produced by Rubin, 13 garnered Black Sabbath three GRAMMY nominations, including Best Rock Album. The group took home Best Metal Performance for "God Is Dead?"
On May 12 Osbourne will receive the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award at the 10th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert in honor of his dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund, and for his commitment to helping others with the addiction recovery process.
Black Sabbath are currently in the midst of an international tour with dates scheduled through July.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include The Drop: Carlene Carter (April 15), The Drop: Mary Gauthier (April 21) and Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin: Common Ground (April 24).