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Geezer Butler recalls how Black Sabbath got its name

Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler remembers seeing apparition that inspired band’s name and signature song

Geezer Butler has recalled seeing the apparition that inspired Black Sabbath’s name and signature song – and he says it’s one of the last disturbing visions he ever saw.

He woke up in bed one night in 1969 to see an undefinable creature at the foot of his bed, and later recounted the experience to bandmates Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Bill Ward about it.

Butler tells Rolling Stone: “I woke up in a dream world and there was this black thing, staring at me. It just lasted a second, but it freaked me out.

“I told Ozzy, Tony and Bill about it – it was pretty scary at the time. I think that’s what inspired Ozzy to come up with the lyrics that open the song: ‘What is this thing that stands before me?’”

Osbourne says: “When I sang that song the line just came out of nowhere. It was born, not written.”

Butler continues: “As I child I always had a lot of psychic experiences. That was one of the very last ones I had.

“That was before I did drugs – maybe doing drugs killed that part of my brain.”

Looking back on the band’s five-decade career, Osbourne says: “One of the greatest things is that Black Sabbath were not created by some business mogul in London. We all came from a three-mile radius, got together and had a go.

“Here we are, nearly 50 years up the road, and we’re still relevant today.” 

The icons are nearing the end of the first leg of their farewell tour. Dates follow in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America. They headline this year’s Download festival at Donington on the weekend of June 10-12.

Black Sabbath The End tour dates so far

Mar 02: Edmonton Rexall Centre, AB (rescheduled date)
Mar 04: Calgary Scotiabank Saddledome, AB (rescheduled date)
Mar 07: Vancouver Rogers Arena, BC (rescheduled date)
Apr 15: Perth Arena, Australia
Apr 17: Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Australia
Apr 19: Melbourne Rod Laver Arena, Australia
Apr 23: Sydney Allphones Arena, Australia
Feb 25: Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Australia
Apr 28: Auckland Vector Arena, New Zealand
Apr 30: Dunedin Forsyth Barr Stadium, New Zealand
Jun 01: Budapest Arena, Hungary
Jun 08: Berlin Waldebuhne, Germany
Jun 11: Download Festival, UK
Jun 13:Verona Arena, Italy
Jun 15: Zurich Hallenstadion, Switzerland
Jun 17: Dessel Graspop Metal Meeting, Belgium
Jun 19: Hellfest, France
Jun 23: Halden Tons of Rock, Norway
Jun 25: Copenhagen Copenhell, Denmark
Jun 28: Vienna Stadthalle, Austria
Jun 30: Prague 02 Arena, Czech Republic
Jul 02: Krakow Tauron Arena, Poland
Jul 05: Riga Arena, Latvia
Jul 07: Helsinki Monsters of Rock, Finland
Jul 09: Stockholm Monsters of Rock, Sweden
Jul 12: Moscow Olympisky Arena, Russia
Aug 17: Wantagh Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, NY
Aug 19: Philadelphia Susquehanna Bank Center, PA
Aug 21: Washington Jiffy Lube Live, DC
Aug 23: Holmdel PNC Bank Arts Center, NJ
Aug 25: Boston Xfinity Center, MA
Aug 27: Uncasville Mohegan Sun Arena, CT
Aug 29: Toronto Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, ON
Aug 31: Detroit DTE Energy Music Theater, MI
Sep 02: Indianapolis Klipsch Music Center, IN
Sep 04: Chicago Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, IL
Sep 07: Dallas Gexa Energy Pavilion, TX
Sep 09: Albuquerque Isleta Amphitheater, NM
Sep 11: Salt Lake City USANA Amphitheater, UT
Sep 13: Portland Sunlight Supply Arena, OR
Sep 15: Oakland Oracle Arena, CA
Sep 17: Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena, NV
Sep 19: Hollywood Hollywood Bowl, CA
Sep 21: Phoenix AK-Chin Pavilion, AZ

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