You Say It's Your Birthday: Black Sabbath's Bill Ward

Yep, it's also Echo & The Bunnymen leader Ian McCulloch's birthday today.

Today is the birthday of former Black Sabbath drummer Bill

Ward, who was born in 1948 in Birmingham, England. Sabbath is best known for

its early years as a gloomy, occultish heavy metal band, fronted by

spook-rocker Ozzy Osbourne. Ward had gone to school with Osbourne, as well as

bassist Terry "Geezer" Butler and guitarist Tony Iommi, and the quartet had

played together under the name Polka Tulk before taking their more famous name

from one of Butler's songs.

The band's self-titled debut was released in

1970. But it was Sabbath's 1971 Paranoid album that made its mark, from

the #4-charting single "Paranoid" to the four-million-selling record. By 1974

the group was in a class by itself; their Satanic imagery and contagious music

was an unmatched success. However, over time their dark image subsided, as did

record sales, and in 1979 Osbourne departed on a solo career. The band replaced

him with Ronnie James Dio, but it wasn't the same.

Poor health forced Ward

to leave briefly in 1981 after the release of Heaven and Hell, but

returned a year later when Vinnie Appice, his replacement, left to form another

band. But he left again in 1985, and that time his departure from the group was

a permanent one. The group continues to work together, albeit with none of its

original lineup. Their most recent album is 1992's Dehumanizer. However,

as part of Ozzy Osbourne's OzzFest summer tour, Black Sabbath featuring

Osbourne, Iommi and Butler will perform. Not to be missed.

Other birthdays:

Ian McCulloch (Echo & The Bunnymen/Electrafixion), Johnnie Taylor, Tammy

Wynette, Maggie McNeal (Mouth & McNeal), Sean McLuskey (JoBoxers), Kevin Paul

Mooney (Adam and the Ants), Kevin Saunderson (Inner Circle) and Tim O'Connor

(Frente!). -- Beth Winegarner