top of page

Tony Iommi

There is a chance that without Tony Iommi the Metal world would not have existed. What's sure is that it would not have sounded the way it does today.

(Photo by Adam Bielawki)


So before we write some facts about the metal legend, here are some quotes about the man and the legend, from his colleagues:


Brian May – "The True Father of Heavy Metal"


Eddie Van Halen – "Without Tony, Heavy Metal Wouldn't Exist"


James Hetfield – "The King of the Heavy Riff"


Rob Halford - "The Man Who Invented the Heavy Metal Riff"


Ronnie James Dio – "the Ultimate Riff Master"


Gene Simmons - "The Man Who Came Up With the Riffs That Launched an Army of Guitar Players"


1. He was born on 19 February 1948 in Birmingham, England, the only son of Maria and Frank Iommi. His name at birth was Anthony Frank Iommi.


2. His parents were Italian Catholic and they owned a winery, before immigrating to England.


3. Iommi attended the same school as Ozzy Osbourne studied, just a year below him. He was insecure as a child.


4. He fell and cut his upper lip when he was 8 years old, when another child chased after him. The incision earned him the nickname "Scar Face," which added to his insecurity.


5. Iommi was ashamed of the cut and when he grew up he grew a mustache to hide it. The mustache became his trademark.


6. At the age of 10 he began to learn Karate, Judo, and later also boxing, all so that he could defend himself from the gangs that were in his neighborhood.


7. As a child he wanted to play the drums, but due to the noise, he was persuaded by his parents to learn to play the guitar instead.


8. After graduating he worked as a plumber and later in a metal factory for the production of rings.


9. Beginning in the mid-1960s he began playing in blues-rock bands, the first of which was "Rockin' Chevrolets", in which he played from 1964-1965.


10. In the years 1966-1967 he played in the band "the Rest" where he met drummer Bill Ward.

(Photo: Chris Walter, Getty Images)


11. After "Mythology" - another band of Iommi and Ward, disbanded, Iommi responded to an ad hung by Ozzy Osbourne at a record store in Birmingham, that read:" Ozzy Zig Needs Gig — has own PA". The ad caught the attention of Tony Iommi and Bill Ward and they invited him to join the band. Ozzy brought his bandmate "Rare Breed" - bassist Geezer Butler.


12. The four joined slide guitarist Jimmy Phillips and saxophonist Alan "Aker" Clarke and called their band "Polka Tulk Blues Band", but after only two performances the last two were fired and the band changed its name to "Earth", in September 1968.


13. Shortly afterward Iommi left the band and joined "Jethro Tull". He played with them during two performances, the most famous of which is "The Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus", which was released as an album and a movie.


14. Iommi returned to "Earth" as early as November 1968 and in August 1969 the band changed its name to "Black Sabbath", to avoid confusion with another band operating in England at the time.


15. They released their first album "Black Sabbath", on Friday, February 13, 1970.


16. It was not just a debut album, but the one that is the mainstay of the Heavy Metal genre and the album that will lay the foundations for Doom Metal as well, with a particularly heavy, metallic, and gloomy sound.


17. This sound is attributed in part, to an accident Iommi had in a metal factory at the age of 17, in which he lost the tips of his two middle fingers in his right hand. As a result, he was sure he would not be able to play anymore.


18. He is left-handed so his right hand should be on the neck of the guitar, which could have really prevented him from playing.


19. To overcome the pain and limitation created by cutting his fingers, Iommi wrapped them in small plastic caps, cut, heated and moistened from plastic bottles, which contributed to the metallic sound that emanated from the guitar.


20. What added to the dark and metallic sound was the fact that Iommi used to loosen the guitar strings a bit to prevent pressure on his fingers and allow him to stretch the strings while playing more easily. At first it was half a tone and later even lowered the guitar tuned by a tone and a half, such as on the album "Master Of Reality".


21. In order t play the same scale as Iommi, Geezer Butler also had to lower the tuning of his bass guitar in those halftones, which contributed even more to the heavy and gloomy sound, which became associated with "Black Sabbath".


22. In 1973, Iommi married his first wife - Susan Snowdon. On their way to the alter, the track "Fluff" from the album "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" was played. Iommi's best man at the wedding was "Led Zeppelin" drummer John Bonham.


23. At the same year, Iommi produced one of the songs on the album "Orexis of Death" by the band "Necromandus". This album will only be released in 1999.


24. In 1979, after a number of Masterpiece albums released by "Black Sabbath", Iommi and his friends were forced to let Ozzy Osbourne out of the band, due to addiction and behavior issues. Iommi was the first of the band members to meet with Ozzy's replacement Ronnie James Dio at his home in Beverly Hills.


25. Already in their first meeting the two began writing the materials for the first album of Black Sabbath's second lineup - "Heaven And Hell". In this album, Iommi will be responsible for the updated sound of "Black Sabbath".


26. After two very successful albums with Dio, the idyll ends and Iommi finds himself looking for a singer to lead the band, once again. Many names have been suggested as substitutes but Iommi remembers that Ian Gillan was the most appropriate name. He turned to Ian Gillan, who at first was not enthusiastic, but after a long night of drunkenness in a pub in Oxford Gillan relented and committed to the project.


27. Ian Gillan leaves after only one album, "Born Again", which was released in 1983 and this time Geezer Butler also decides to leave, leaving Tony the only original member.


28. Tony decides to release a solo album and enlists bassist-singer Glenn Hughes for the project. However under pressure from the record company the album "Seventh Star" was released in 1984, under the name of "Black Sabbath".


29. In 1985, Iommi was joined by members of the original lineup of "Black Sabbath" for a one-time reunion as part of the "Live Aid" show.


30. In the mid-1980s Iommi was engaged to musician and singer Lita Ford. At the time he produced an album for her, called "The Bride Wore Black". But, this album was never released as the relationship between the two did not end well and Ford did not want to release the album afterwards.


31. In 1987 Tony Martin's era of "Black Sabbath" had started, with Iommi serving as the only original member of the band, for the most part. During this period the band will release 5 albums over 8 years until 1995, with a short break for the purpose of reuniting the Ronnie James Dio lineup, on the 1992 album "Dehumanizer".


32. In fact Tony Iommi was the only original band member to have played and participated in each and every one of "Black Sabbath's" 19 studio albums, on its various lineups.


33. In 1992, Tony Iommi appears in the Tribute Show in memory of Freddie Mercury, alongside members of Queen. Brian May is a good friend of Iommi and beyond the fact that he was featured on the song "When Death Calls" from the album "Headless Cross" by "Black Sabbath", there has been rumors for many years, that the two are interested in releasing something together.


34. In 1993, Iommi participates in writing and playing the song "Starcrossed (Lovers in the Night)" from the album "Death and Progress", by "Diamond Head".


35. In 1999, Iommi was featured on the song "Utopian Blaster" from the album "The" Carnival Bizarre, by the band "Cathedral".


36. In 2000 Iommi releases his first solo album "Iommi". The album features top-notch metal artists such as Henry Rollins, Serj Tankian, Dave Grohl, Billy Corgan, Phil Anselmo, Peter Steele and Ozzy Osbourne.

(Photo: Larry Hulst)


37. In 2004 he released his second solo album "The 1996 DEP Sessions", which included recordings he made with Glenn Hughes in 1996, but have not been released since.


38. Iommi will continue his collaboration with Glenn Hughes on his third solo album "Fused", released in 2005.


39. In 2006, Iommi is featured on Ian Gillan's album "Gillan's Inn".


40. In October 2009 Iommi was reunited with Ian Gillan and the two formed the supergroup "WhoCares" which also includes Jon Lord, Jason Newsted and Nicko McBrain.


41. This supergroup releases the single "Out of my Mind" in 2011 and later also released a full album to raise funds for the rehabilitation of Armenia, after the earthquake that struck it in the late 1980s.


42. In October 2006, Iommi joins the Dio era lineup of "Black Sabbath", this time under the name "Heaven & Hell". The band went on a tour and released the studio album "The Devil You Know", in 2009.


43. In 2012 he was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer, and he successfully undergoes treatment.


44. In 2013 he wrote the song "Lonely Planet" which represented Armenia at that year's Eurovision contest.


45. That same year he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Coventry for his contribution to music.


46. ​​2013 was a busy year for Iommi, he also released the excellent album "13" along with "Black Sabbath". An album that marks the return of Ozzy Osbourne to the band. After 4 years of performances, on February 4, 2017, the band will also make its last performance. Read more about it here: The End Of "The End".


47. Iommi has two nationalities - English and Italian.


48. In 2019, Iommi was a guest on the song "Astorolus - The Great Octopus" from "Candlemass's" album "The Door to Doom".


49. In 2011, "Rolling Stone" magazine ranked Iommi in 25th place, out of the 100 best guitarists of all time.


50. In 2012, readers of "Guitar World" magazine ranked him seventh among the greatest guitarists of all time.


Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our website

"Face/Off" - Israel's Rock Blog & Podcast

Kommentare


Enjoying the Blog? Subscribe to get it right to your mail!

Thank you !!

bottom of page