“No Sabbath, No Life.” The legendary band performed their final 15 song setlist in their hometown of Birmingham, England, ending with their 1970s hit Paranoid.
Black Sabbath’s The End tour totaled around 81 dates across the world including North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. The band decided to make this their last tour due to Iommi’s cancer diagnosis back in 2011, and because he cannot travel on doctor’s orders after his cancer went into remission.
In a recent interview with U.K. radio station Planet Rock[x], guitarist Tony Iommi said:
“I’m going to miss playing on stage because that has been my whole life, the band and playing on stage. I like [playing on stage] and I’m sure it’s not going to end like that; I’m sure we might do a one-off show somewhere. It’s just the touring for me – it’s time to stop roaming the world and be at home for a bit… I’m still going to write and put stuff out.”
While he stated that touring is now off the table for Black Sabbath, no comment was made about another album in the possible future by Iommi or by bassist Geezer Butler. However, Ozzy Osbourne is reportedly working on another album and is set to make a couple live appearances over the summer, including Chicago Open Air.
Black Sabbath began in Birmingham, England in 1969 with Tony Iommi on the guitar, Geezer Butler on the bass, Robert Ward on drums, and Ozzy Osbourne doing vocals. Considered to be the creators of the heavy metal sound, Black Sabbath has made amazing, riff-filled tracks like Iron Man, Paranoid, Sweet Leaf, Supernaut, Symptom of the Universe, and Hole in the Sky.
Many modern metal artists have felt the impact of Sabbath. Machine Head’s Robb Flynn commented on the first time he heard the band when he was 13 years old, “I had never heard anything so terrifying and dark and evil.” In his speech inducting Black Sabbath into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, Metallica’s vocalist James Hetfield spoke on when he encountered the band for the first time growing up, “a powerful, loud, heavy sound that moved his soul. Those monstrous riffs lived inside him and spoke the feelings he could never put into words, sending chills of inspiration through him, from those gloomy lyrics and outlaw chords and all. They helped crack the shell he was in.”
Black Sabbath has seen many lineup changes throughout the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. The original lineup came together one last time in 2011 for a new album and tour, although Ward dropped out due to financial issues. Since then, Sabbath has used Ozzy’s regular touring drummer Tommy Clufetos for live work.
In the words of Metal Hammer writer Paul Brannigan[x]:
“It’s easy to take the old gods for granted. Because Sabbath have been around since the dawn of time – an exaggeration, but only by a few years – it would be entirely understandable if younger metal fans, with heroes and anthems of their own, were to look at the elegantly crumpled Osbourne, Iommi and Butler today and dismiss these aging men in black as irrelevant to their own lives, as relics of another time. Equally, one might pick apart the likes of Technical Ecstasy or Born Again or Forbidden or even 13, to argue that Sabbath’s legacy is over-rated, and there are undoubtedly truths in the harshest criticisms which might be levelled here. But the simple fact remains, that if you truly belong in this world – and presumably if you’re reading this, you do – it doesn’t actually matter if you identify yourself as a Sabbath fan, because Sabbath’s industrial revolution belched forth the very air that you breathe, whether you’re aware of the fact or not. No Sabbath, no life.”