was a founding member
of the hugely influential heavy metal band Black Sabbath
Frank Anthony Iommi on February 19th, 1948 in Aston
. He played guitar in at least two bands with Bill Ward
before teaming up with the other Black Sabbath members; Geezer Butler
and the infamous Ozzy Osbourne
ally, Tony and Ozzy didn't like each other as they were in rival Birmingham street gangs
. In 1969 he had a one week tenure
with a band called Jethro Tull
, and was supposedly thrown out because of his drug abuse
After Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice left Black Sabbath in October 1982, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler continued in it. However, the line-up changed several times between 1982 and 1991. Then Ronnie James Dio rejoined the band. After Ronnie had again left them, Tony Iommi continued in Black Sabbath planning the original line-up reunion - which eventually never saw the light. Iommi is the only band member to appear on every Sabbath album, and he has also done many solo albums and side projects.
Tony is a brilliant and innovative guitar player for a number of reasons. Sure there were other 'heavy metal' bands such as Led Zeppelin, Cream and Deep Purple, but none of them ever came close to approaching the gloom, doom and sheer heaviness of Tony's riffage. This deep, dark sound was derived from a bizarre twist of fate...
Due to an unfortunate industrial accident when he was 18, he lost the tips of his middle and index fingers on his right hand. Doctors told him he would never play guitar again, and he was distraught. While he was down in the dumps, something happened that gave Tony a new hope: "A pal of mine brought me a record of Django Reinhardt a world-renowned gypsy guitarist and said, "Listen to this guy play." I went, "No way mate! Listening to someone play guitar is the last thing I want to do right now!"
Due to his friend's persistence, Tony put the record on and liked what he heard. Then his pal informed him of the fact that Django had also had a dreadful accident and, as a result, was only able to use two fingers on his fretting hand. Tony was so taken aback by this revelation that he became inspired to do what ever he could to start playing again. "When I heard what he was able to do with only two fingers it gave me the spirit to give it another go."
After trying unsuccessfully to play right-handed, Tony came up with the rather brilliant idea of making himself thimbles for the tips of his two damaged fingers. Despite not being able to feel the ends of his thimble wearing fingers, Tony set about relearning how to play.
Added to this, Tony detuned his guitar (lowered the pitch of the strings). This meant the pressure on his fingertips was reduced, helping to ease the pain of playing. This was a very unconventional approach, and from it came the deep, dark 'heavy as shit' Sabbath sound that many current metal (and other) bands emulate.
Nearly all of metal and heavy rock music sounds nowadays can be in someway attributed to Iommi and Black Sabbath. For examples of his guitar brilliance listen to Sabbath songs such as Paranoid, War Pigs or Supernaught, to name but a few.
- Black Sabbath
Warner Brothers 1871-2. Released February 13, 1970.
Warner Brothers 3104-2. Released September 18, 1970.
- Master of Reality
Warner Brothers 2562-2. Released July 1, 1971.
- Volume 4
Warner Brothers 2602-2. Released September 1, 1972.
- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Warner Brothers 2695-2. Released December 1, 1974.
Warner Brothers 2822-2. Released July 1, 1975.
- We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll
Warner Brothers 2923-2. Released December 1, 1975.
Capitol ST-11415. Released 1975.
- Technical Ecstasy
Warner Brothers 2969-2. Released October 1, 1976.
Jet Records UAG 30081. Released 1977.
- Never Say Die
Warner Brothers 3186-2. Released October 1, 1978.
- Heaven & Hell
Warner Brothers 3372. Released April 1, 1980.
- Live At Last
Essential/Castle ESMCD337. Released Summer 1980.
- Heavy Metal
WEA/Elektra Entertainment. Released 1981.
- Mob Rules
Warner Brothers 3605-2. Released October 1, 1981.
- Live Evil
Warner Bros 9 23742-2. Released December 1, 1982.
- Born Again
Warner Brothers 23978-1. Released August 7, 1983.
- Seventh Star
Essential/Castle ESMCD335. Released Spring 1986.
- The Eternal Idol
Warner Brothers 25548-2. Released Fall 1987.
- Headless Cross
IRS Metal 24100502. Released Summer 1989.
- Rock Aid Armenia
Life Aid Armenia Records. Released 1989.
- Guitar Speak II
No Speak IRSD 82028. Released 1990.
IRS Metal X2 13049. Released Fall 1990.
- Wayne's World
WEA/Warner Brothers. Released February 2, 1992.
- The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
Hollywood Music Video HR 1780
Filmed live at Wembley Stadium in London on April 20, 1992
Reprise/Warner 9 26965-2. Released Summer 1992.
- Live & Loud
Sony Music 67244. Released June 15, 1993.
- Death and Progress
Essential. Released June 24, 1993.
- Cross Purposes
IRS 07777 13222 2. Released January 1, 1994.
- Cross Purposes (Live)
IRS 7243 4 77806 08. Released March 1, 1995
IRS 7243 8 37532 2 2. Released June 1, 1995.
- The Carnival Bizarre
Earache MOSH 130CD. Released 1995.
- The Sabbath Stones
IRS 7243 8 37532 2 2. Released April 1, 1996.
A Tribute to Hank Marvin & The Shadows
Panagea Records. Released October 29th 1996.
- The Ozzman Cometh
Sony Music. Released November 11th 1997.
Sony Music Entertainment Inc. Released October 20, 1998.