Tony Iommi says Black Sabbath could not believe it when Bill Ward left

Tony Iommi revealed they did not actually have many options other than Ronnie James Dio. When they also asked about the probable replacements for Ozzy Osbourne.

When Ozzy Osbourne left the band in 1979, Ronnie James Dio joined Black Sabbath as the new lead vocal. Legendary guitarist of the band, Tony Iommi, looked back on those years in this interview. He talked about how they felt when Bill Ward left, how many names were they thinking of to replace Ozzy Osbourne, and more.

Black Sabbath’s guitarist appeared on a podcast of The Rhino Podcast, looked back on the Dio-era:

Question: “1979, you split ways with Ozzy, you needed a new lead singer, how many names were in the hat as the replacement?”

Tony Iommi answered:

“Well, it wasn’t really, I mean, Ronnie was sort of the first and last choice. I met Ronnie not long before at a party, we got to know each other, and he was the first one we called, really.”

He talked about the idea of forming a new band when Ozzy left as well. As it turns out, Iommi talked to the other guys and they decided they should give Ronnie a try.

Question: “Is it true that you guys discussed forming a new band instead of continuing on as Black Sabbath?”

Tony Iommi answered:

“Well, I talked to Ronnie on the side, I was getting a bit despondent with it all because we were going through a lot of different changes, and at that point, Ozzy Osbourne wasn’t into it anymore.

And I thought, ‘Well, the band’s going to break up and I just want to do a different project, I want to carry on and do something different. And I talked to Ronnie about that, and he was up for that, but when it came to it – Ozzy went, I spoke to the other guys, ‘Why don’t we try Ronnie?

I phoned Ronnie up and got Ronnie over to rehearse with us – we were in L.A. – we got him over and he started singing, and of course, that was it, everybody was, ‘Wow, that’s great!’ And the rest is history.”

Tony Iommi also mentioned the frustration Black Sabbath went through following the shocking quitting of Bill Ward. He said it was a shock to him, and none of them could believe it.

Tony Iommi answered:

No – he just went. And, oh god, I mean, I knew Bill before anybody, before all the rest of the lads, I played with Bill in other bands before we got together with Geezer and Ozzy.

“It was a shock to me. None of us could believe it. It was panic.”

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