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Note left by Ozzy Osbourne in a music shop led to start of Black Sabbath, band member recalls

A note that said “Ozzy Zig needs a gig” left in a music shop led to the forming of Black Sabbath, according to its members. 

Founding member Geezer Butler told the Wall Street Journal that he saw Ozzy Osbourne’s note while in a Birmingham shop when he was actively looking for a singer after his band Rare Breed broke up.

“I left word at his house,” Butler said. “The next day, a shoeless, head-shaven Ozzy Osbourne with a chimney brush over his shoulder was at my door.” 

Black Sabbath members Bill Ward and Tony Iommi have also described finding the note in previous interviews but decided against letting Ozzy join them in a band because they knew him from high school and didn’t think he could sing. 


Ozzy Osbourne wearing sunglasses

Ozzy Osboune once left a note in a music shop that said, “Ozzy Zig needs a gig.”  (Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

But Butler told the Journal, “Ozzy promised to grow his hair and said he had a P.A. system, which we didn’t have and needed,” adding that he also recommended Ward and Iommi for the band. 

He said the four of them began playing blues wherever they could get a gig, then started writing their own songs and a year later, in 1969, they were Black Sabbath.

Founding members of Black Sabbath

Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Ozzy Osbourne formed Black Sabbath in 1968. (Chris Walter/WireImage)

The band first called themselves the Polka Tulk Blues Band, then Earth before they settled on Black Sabbath, after a 1963 Boris Karloff movie. 


The band members eventually kicked Osbourne out of Black Sabbath a decade later due to his substance abuse issues, but the “Crazy Train” singer quickly embarked on his hugely successful solo career. 

Black Sabbath members posing

Ozzy Osbourne was kicked out of Black Sabbath in 1979. (Chris Walter/WireImage)

“Black Sabbath always got bad reviews – bad concert reviews, bad album reviews,” he told GQ in 2020, while reflecting on his days with the band. “But it was like punk: the more you hated us the more the fans loved us. People who didn’t understand it would say, ‘It’s s—.’ But I’ve got platinum discs all over my walls. It can’t have been that bad!”

He added, “We were just having fun and if it felt like a good idea, we did it. Tony lommi is an incredible guitar player. There’s no one who can come up with those demonic riffs like him. He’s the king.” 

Osbourne called being thrown out of the band “hypocritical” in his 2010 autobiography, claiming that his bandmates were doing just as many drugs as him.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel betrayed by what happened with Black Sabbath,” he wrote, according to US Weekly. “We were four blokes who’d grown up together a few streets apart. We were like family, like brothers. And firing me for being f—ed up was hypocritical bull—-. We were all f—ed up.”


But more recently, when he reflected on 50 years of Black Sabbath, it seemed like water under the bridge. 

“When they came out, I remember thinking, ‘Well, this will be all right for a few years,'” he told Rolling Stone in 2020. “F—ing 50 years later, it’s still going. Those guys [are] my brothers, you know? They go back to my childhood. It’s more than a friendship with me and them guys; it’s a family. I don’t know any other people as long as I’ve known them.”

Osbourne is set to headline his first show this fall since announcing retirement. In February, the “Crazy Train” singer canceled his 2023 tour dates due to illness.

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