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The 2 Black Sabbath songs with Bill Ward on lead vocals

Bill Ward and Black Sabbath's logotype


The 2 Black Sabbath songs with Bill Ward on lead vocals

Formed by Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath released their groundbreaking debut album in 1970 and created Heavy Metal music. During almost a decade that line-up stayed together and really created a whole new music genre, inspiring countless artists all over the world.


Ozzy Osbourne was the vocalist of the band during those first years but he wasn’t the lead vocals on all the songs the group released back then. The drummer Bill Ward sang on two tracks.

The 2 Black Sabbath songs with Bill Ward on lead vocals

“It’s Alright” (Technical Ecstasy – 1976)

The first Black Sabbath song with Bill Ward on vocals was the ballad “It’s Alright” from the 1976 album “Technical Ecstasy” released in 1976. The track was written by Ward and he was at first afraid of singing the song because he didn’t want to offend Ozzy but it was encouraged by his bandmates to do it.

In an interview with The Quietus back in 2015, Ward recalled that Ozzy gave him his blessing to record the track. “Well, I’d done that a year before and I’d done it as a party piece. Ozzy really liked that song. When he’d have some songs he’d play them to me and say, ‘What do you think?’ I’d say, ‘That’s fucking great. We should record that!’”

“So he really liked ‘It’s Alright’ and he said, ‘You really need to record that.’ We were in Criteria Studio in Florida recording Technical Ecstasy. I guess we were a song down so we just threw that together. And I asked Oz if he was OK with it and he was like, ‘Yeah, fine, no problems…,’” Bill Ward said.

It really is a powerful ballad with an incredible Tony Iommi guitar solo. It was covered by Guns N’ Roses during their live shows especially in the 80s. Their version was featured on their 1999 album “Live Era ’87-’93”.

“”Swinging the Chain” (Never Say Die – 1978)

Two years later, on “Never Say Die”, which was the final album with Ozzy Osbourne before he was fired in the 70s, Bill Ward was the lead vocalist again in one song. That happened mainly because Ozzy quit the band for three months when his father was ill and eventually passed away.

In the meantime they invited the singer Dave Walker to be his replacement and wrote a few songs with him. “Swinging The Chain” was one of them and after Ozzy rejoined the band he refused to record tracks which have been written with Walker. So it was Bill Ward who ended up singing in that particular track.

In an interview with Metal Edge, Geezer Butler recalled how Bill Ward ended up recording the song. “Ozzy had lost interest towards the end of it. And yes, his drug use has gotten really bad. But in fairness, we were all doing a lot of drugs back then. It just wasn’t working anymore musically.”

“I think Ozzy felt deeply left out of the writing process. It got to the point that we couldn’t carry on any longer. When we were recording Never Say Die!, Ozzy refused to sing ‘Swinging the Chain’. We had to have Bill [Ward] sing it. And then, we had lyrics for ‘Breakout,’ but Ozzy refused to sing those, too. From there, we disintegrated and went in different directions,” Geezer Butler said.

Bill Ward was a member of Black Sabbath from 1968 t0 1980. Returning in 1983, 1984, 1994, 1997 to 1998, 1997 to 2006 and 2011 to 2012.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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