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Tony Iommi

Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi is one of only two guitarists (the other being Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page) that can take full credit for pioneering the mammoth riffs of heavy metal. Born on February 19, 1948, in Birmingham, England, Iommi picked up the guitar after being inspired by the likes of Hank Marvin & the Shadows as a teenager. By 1967, Iommi had played with several blues-based rock bands, and formed a group (Earth) with three old acquaintances from his school days -- bassist Terry "Geezer" Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and signer John "Ozzy" Osbourne. But Iommi's musical career was nearly derailed prematurely when he suffered a horrible accident at a sheet metal factory, when a machine sliced off the tips of the fingers on his right hand. Depressed and figuring that his guitar playing days were behind him, a friend turned him onto gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt (who lost use of two fingers in a Gypsy caravan campfire accident), inspiring Iommi to give the six-string another go, with soft plastic tips attached to the ends of his fingers. Shortly thereafter, Iommi received a tempting offer to join Jethro Tull's band in 1968, which he reluctantly accepted. After only a single performance with Tull (playing the track "Song for Jeffrey" on the Rolling Stones' never-aired TV special "Rock & Roll Circus"), Iommi split from Tull to return back to his pals in Earth.

With another band already playing around England by the name of Earth, Iommi & co. were forced to change their name, taking "Black Sabbath" from the classic horror movie. With the name switch came a change in musical direction -- the band would explore dark lyrical subjects, while the music would be repetitive, plodding, and H-E-A-V-Y. In the process, Sabbath created the blueprint for heavy metal with such incredibly influential, all-time classic releases as their 1969 self-titled debut, 1971's Paranoid and Master of Reality, 1972's Vol. 4, and 1973's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, becoming one of the world's top hard rock bands in the process. Iommi's guitar playing propelled such metal standards as "Black Sabbath," "N.I.B.," "Paranoid," "Iron Man," "War Pigs," "Into the Void," and "Children of the Grave," which boast some of the most recognizable guitar riffs in rock history. But by the mid- to late '70s, constant touring and drug abuse began to fracture the band, resulting in several uninspired albums and Osbourne's exit by 1979, which led to a revolving door of singers coming and going over the years (with sometimes Iommi being the only original member remaining).

After keeping the Sabbath name alive with several inspired non-Osbourne releases (1980's Heaven & Hell, 1981's The Mob Rules), and more than a few missteps, the original Sabbath lineup reunited for several highly successful tours in the late '90s, making new Sabbath fans out of a whole legion of people too young to have caught the band in their '70s heyday. And although a few Sabbath albums from the '80s and '90s could have arguably been considered Tony Iommi solo albums (1986's Seventh Star was labeled a Sabbath album at the last moment by Warner Bros.), he issued his first true solo release in the form of 2000's Iommi. The ten-track disc featured many of rock's top names lending their vocal talents (Henry Rollins, Dave Grohl, Billy Corgan, Phil Anselmo, and even Osbourne, among others), receiving favorable reviews upon release. While Sabbath's 1999 world tour was supposed to be their swan song, the group announced to the delight of their fans that they would be headlining the 2001 edition of Ozzfest. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Comments

but toni is his daughter... this is at kvons1
tony and jimmy...man
I love the song Tony did w/ Dave Grohl. And the one w/ Philip Anselmo!
OMFG!!! how could I have never heard of this before!?!?!? it's f**king AMAZING!!
Peter Steele steals the show on this one
kvons1
Who IS fooling who???
kvons1
check out Toni Iommi playing that left handed lead fill in on Jethro Tull's --Song For Jeffrey on the '68 Rock and Roll Circus video on You Tube!
bocult is obviously a complete IDIOT.
Tony Iommi INVENTED Heavy Metal !
Tony Iommi is really talented. I wish Dio were still alive so they could continue playing together. It'd be really interesting to see what music they could have made together. R.I.P. RONNIE JAMES DIO.
Tony Iommi took the relatively standard blues riffs of Cream, Led Zeppelin, and such and fused them with the classical, technical playing of Richie Blackmore while simultaneous l y taking the epic, focused song structure from classical music itself, thus creating a formula for an entire genre of music. Tony Iommi invented Heavy Metal songwriting.
Tish... the f**k?
frankgrimes9
Simmons is right. Tish is wrong. Also, K.K. Downing is pussing out on their tour, so unless he is dying, f&*k that guy.
uh...Iommi came before any of the people ben mentioned. all of them are great guitarists who were very influential but Iommi, in conjunction with the other members of sabbath, created a new genre. the guitarists you cited admit that freely.
yep randy rhodes was definitely talented
bocult
Tony Iommi did not "invent" heavy metal. Sorry Folks. He may have invented "Goth" Metal, or inspired a lot of Grunge bands though. The real credit should go to Glen Tipton, K.K. Downing, Randy Rhodes, Yngwie Malmsteen, Kai Hansen, and Many, Many other GREAT Guitar Players. Iommi is Just one of many. Get it Right.
bob5243
How could any writeup of the fantastic "Fused" album leave out the fantastic contribution s / s i n g i n g of Glenn Hughes?!?!?! This album wouldn't have got off the ground without Hughes. Pathetic!
This is a great bio for Sabbath, but this was supposed to be the Iommi solo page, so wtf? Shouldn't there be more than a casual mention that the guy did solo albums?

Iommi invented 'heavy metal'.
TONY IS THE OMNIPOTENT OMINOUS ONE OF THE BAND
For all us Musicians - Every Sound from any Metal Band ever - came from one place - Iommi's Guitar
"Diabolous Tristata" - the Devils 3 notes/chords - Toni Iommi is Eternal
who are you kidding? yeah hey a power chord and then guess what, another power chord!!! Hes my hero caus i like sabbath so much but, rhoads is soooo much better.
brendan.donk e r s
Tony is the best riff maker but jimmy page is a better guitarest
One word, or rather hand gesture. \m/>_<\m/
if you watch "the rolling stones rock'n'roll circus" you can see Tony Iommi playing w/ Jethro Tull, and he doesn't have the mustache. Its a weird little footnote to rock history. completely awesome, though.

Sabbath is so awesome. The true Kings of all metal. Period. Only the original lineup though. Has anyone seen them live? You can't even see Geezers hand as he plays bass. its a blur, seriously! I was staring from ten rowws and i couldn't see it, it was moving so fast. Amazing. Hes got to be at least 60.
They shall never die.
go sabbath
Brilliant
kessler.m5
benchmark riffs

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