Black Sabbath: 1968-2017
After nearly 50 years as one of the most influential musical acts on its the planet, Black Sabbath put the proverbial tombstone on its grave this week with a post on social media sites officially signaling the band is dead.
The post was powerful in its simplicity. It simply showed the band’s logo and the dates 1968-2017.
This is no surprise: the band had a mammoth farewell tour to say goodbye throughout 2016 and early 2017, which was titled, “The End.” That tour wrapped up with a pair of shows in the band’s native town of Birmingham, England, the last night being Feb. 4.
Nevermind how much the band says farewell, the latest announcement has spurned lamentations from Sabbath faithful worldwide.
“Can’t believe it. Painful to see this,” and “we love you. Thank you so very much,” were just a few of the comments left on the band’s Twitter page. The reviews from the tour were similarly gushing, often a mix of fandom and music criticism.
“Sabbath stayed huge to the end—and in their own way, that’s why they will never truly die,” Taylor Frantum of the Dallas Observer wrote.
“It was exactly the show it needed to be: classics driven, majestically played, and climactic … The show had the kind of momentous mojo you never forget,” Lina Lecaro of LA Weekly wrote.
So often bands claim that their farewell tours are the last chance fans will get to see them, but are then back on the road a few years later when money runs low. Sabbath is going out of its way to indicate that this really is the end, and stated as much in a November press release.
“When this tour concludes, it will truly be THE END, THE END of one of the most legendary bands in rock ‘n’ roll history.”
Scott Legato / RockStarProPhotography.com – Black Sabbath
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, Mich.
That last claim would be difficult to refute. Sabbath recorded some of the most iconic rock songs in history like “Iron Man” and “Paranoid.” The band also went through many different lineups, propelled the careers of Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio, and is widely credited as being the primary progenitor of the heavy metal genre.
The Birmingham Mail reports it expects a live album and documentary from the tour, so fans can still look forward to new Sabbath content in the coming year
The final lineup for Black Sabbath was Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Ozzy Osbourne. Tommy Clufetos joined the band as the touring drummer on the road.
Original drummer Bill Ward was in poor health and was not on the band’s final album or on for the final show, following a publicized contractual dispute.
Iommi was diagnosed with lymphonoma in 2012 and said in a 2015 interview with Mirror that doctors didn’t expect the cancer would ever go away. He has indicated that he might keep writing and recording, but will likely not do much heavy touring moving forward.
Butler sold his Beverly Hills home last year and moved to England with his wife Gloria.
Ozzy still has solo appearances booked at North American festivals in 2017, including Rock USA in Oshkosh, Wis., July 14, Bridgeview, Ill.’s Chicago Open Air on July 16 and Carterville, Ill.’s Moonstock festival on Aug. 21.
The band is still maintaining the website BlackSabbath.com.