14 Things You Might Not Know About Birthday Boy Bill Ward

By Dave Basner

May 5, 2021

On May 5th, 1948, Bill Ward was born in Birmingham, England. We all know the drummer made a name for himself in Black Sabbath, but here are 14 things you might not know about the rocker:

1. Bill started playing drums as a kid, inspired by the big bands music of the ‘40s.

2. One of Bill’s first bands was called The Rest. He played drums and sang for them.

3. Another early band Bill was in was called Mythology. His future Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi was in it as well.

4. During his time in Sabbath, Bill’s bandmates loved pranking him. One time, Iommi sprayed Ward with a flammable solution studio technicians used to clean tape heads. He then lit Bill on fire. Bill wound up with third-degree burns and still has scars on his legs from the incident.

5. Ward once almost died when, after he passed out naked from drinking too much, his bandmates covered him from head to toe with gold spray paint. Bill got very sick and had a seizure because the paint blocked all his pores, preventing him from sweating.

6. The title of Sabbath’s song “N.I.B.” off their self-titled debut was thought to stand for something evil like “Nativity In Black” since the track includes the line “My name is Lucifer please take my hand.” However, the title is actually just a reference to Bill’s goatee, which his bandmates referred to as a nib.

7. In 1980, Bill left Sabbath after a decade with the group. He never said bye to his bandmates, rather just ended a phone call with then singer Ronnie James Dio saying, “I’m off then, Ron.”

8. Before returning to Sabbath in 1982, Bill was in a band called Max Havoc.

9. In 1990, Bill released his first solo album. It was called Ward One: Along The Way and on it, Bill did vocals for some songs while other tracks had guest singers like Ozzy Osbourne and Jack Bruce.

10. Bill’s other solo albums are 1997’sWhen the Bough Breaksand 2015’s Accountable Beasts.

11. Bill had to skip most of Sabbath’s reunion tour in the late ‘90s because he suffered a heart attack while rehearsing for the trek. Apparently, during one rehearsal, Bill asked for a break so he could lay down. His arm went numb and it turned out he was having a heart attack. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler saw an ambulance come but didn’t know what was happening until Ozzy came in and told them Ward had a heart attack.

12. Ward was originally going to be part of Heaven & Hell, the band comprised of his Sabbath bandmates Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi, but he dropped out because of musical differences and a possible concern over extended touring.

13. Bill has two sons named Nigel and Aaron and one daughter named Emily.

14. Bill is a vegan and has been sober for decades.

Happy birthday, Bill!

Photo: Getty

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