Black Sabbath played what they said was their final-ever gig together last month in their hometown of Birmingham. Fans weren’t necessarily worried, though, as bands do this all the time: they announce a farewell tour, release a very last album, and swear that this time it’s for real.
Reaction to the news varied widely, with one fan quipping “the Rolling Stones have their final tour every 3 years,” while another wrote “Black Sabbath will live on through their recordings for people to discover and enjoy the band for a long time to come.”
After nearly a half century together, the group — which, on its final tour, included singer Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and Tommy Clufetos replacing original drummer Bill Ward — embarked on their The End Tour in January 2016, putting an end to a 49-year, 19 studio album career that began in Birmingham in 1968.
Sabbath is considered one of the most influential heavy metal acts of all time, putting its stamp on the sound of everyone from Guns N’ Roses to Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Foo Fighters, Metallica and the Smashing Pumpkins thanks to such thundering psychedelic hard rock tunes as “Black Sabbath,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” “War Pigs,” “Paranoid,” “Iron Man” and “Sweet Leaf.”
Last June, Osbourne told Billboard he was “having a blast” with the final go-round, though he was in a bit of denial at that point. “Right now I’m OK with it. I’m sure as it starts counting down to five shows left or something, it’s gonna be kind of emotional, I think,” he said. “I mean, we started off as four guys from Aston who had a dream and it became true beyond our wildest dreams. And then we were manipulated, we were ripped off, we were conned, all of the above. We lost each other within each other, if you like. But it’s great to have got this back just to end on a high note, y’know?”