Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Power Drummer: Bill Ward‏

by Tristan Andrews

Ward is from Birmingham, England and was born May 5, 1948. He started drumming at shows when he was 15 years old. He made Tony Iommi's acquaintance in 1964. They were in a band called Mythology prior to meeting Geezer Butler and Ozzy Osbourne and joining Polka Tulk, which became Earth and in turn Black Sabbath.

Ward imparted the swing-time beat to the original self-titled album Black Sabbath. He imitated jazz drummers Gene Kuppa and Buddy Rich. He pumped his hi-hat on Wicked World on the first album and on War Pigs from the second album entitled Paranoid. Ward shows off some double bass drum work with Children of the Grave on the third album Masters of Reality. Again, on the title song of the album Never Say Die, Ward plays impressive double bass drum sounds.

Ward was the drummer for Black Sabbath, during the period considered the "classic time" of the band, despite Osbourne's unceremonious departure in 1978. He was the drummer for the Heaven and Hell album that highlighted Ronnie Dio as the lead singer and front man that replaced Ozzy.

Ward left and returned several times. His first departure was in 1980, he joined Max Havoc in 1981. During 1983, he came back to Black Sabbath for the album Born Again. In 1882, he departed once more and in 1985 he drummed for England's Glory, but did Live Aid with the Sabs. In 1986, he started the Bill Ward Band. Later in 1989, after a five year's of sobriety, Ward wrote and produced his solo album called Ward One: Along the Way.

Eight year's later, Ward's band released When the Bough Breaks. Ward play with Black Sabbath in 1992 for the Ozzy Osborne show in Costa Mesa, California. He did a hasty stint with them in 1994 touring South America and rejoined Black Sabbath in 1997 for the Reunion album. In 1999, his health allowed him to reunite with the original members.

Besides being the innovative drummer for Black Sabbath, Bill Ward sang the lead on Swinging the Chain off of Never Say Die and It's Alright off of Technical Ecstasy. Ward's drumming technique paralleled the lead and bass guitar on songs like Iron Man.

An interesting fact about Ward is that a university once tested him with sensors, while he was performing live and found that his drumming workout equaled to a 15 mile run, during the band's 90 minute set.

Tristan Andrews is a freelance author who writes about Black Sabbath for

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