Famous Like Me > Composer > I > Tony Iommi
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Profile of Tony Iommi
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||19th February 1948
|Place of Birth:
||Birmingham, England, UK
Frank Anthony "Tony" Iommi (born February 19, 1948) is a guitarist from Birmingham, England, who is best known as a member of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath.
He picked up the guitar as a teenager, after being inspired by the likes of Hank Marvin and The Shadows. In an industrial accident in his youth, he lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his right hand - which, being left-handed, he uses to fret the strings of a guitar. At first he thought his days of playing guitar were over. However, his boss, who knew of his "night job" as a struggling pub band guitar player, paid him a visit during his recovery. During the visit, his boss encouraged him to reconsider. He played a Django Reinhardt record which convinced Tony to pick up the guitar again (Reinhardt lost mobility in the third and fourth fingers of his fretting hand in a fire). After trying to learn to play right-handed, he instead strung his guitars with extra-light strings and wore plastic covers over those two fingers (though he started off using leather, which slowed down his fingering significantly). This also had an impact on the Black Sabbath sound -on some songs in order to ease the tension on his fingers, Iommi detuned his guitar from E to C#, making Sabbath one of first bands to detune, now a mainstay of heavy metal music.
In 1967, Iommi had played in several blues/rock bands, and founded a new one named Earth with three old schoolmates, bassist Terry "Geezer" Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and the infamous John "Ozzy" Osbourne. In 1968 Iommi briefly left Earth to play in Jethro Tull, however after only one performance Iommi was back with Earth once more. The group later renamed themselves first to Polka Tulk, and then to Black Sabbath.
It may be argued that Tony Iommi was a pioneer of heavy metal riffing due to his guitar playing on now famous tracks such as "Paranoid", "War Pigs", "N.I.B.", and "The Wizard". He combined blues-like guitar solos and dark, minor-key riffing with a revolutionary high-gain, heavily distorted tone with his use of a treble-boosting effect-pedal and a Gibson SG guitar.
By the mid 1970s, incessant drug usage had taken its toll on the band, and Ozzy Osbourne was eventually fired in 1979. With Osbourne gone, the other two members eventually left as well, leaving Iommi the only original member. Iommi rebuilt the band with constant lineup changes, including vocalists like Ronnie James Dio, and Ian Gillan (formerly of Deep Purple). The new Sabbath did manage a few hits, but it was nothing compared to the early years. The original Sabbath members reunited for tours in the late nineties.
After Ian Gillan left in 1984, Iommi recorded his first solo album, entitled Seventh Star. The album featured Glenn Hughes (formerly of Deep Purple) on vocals, but due to label pressures, it was billed as a release by "Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi". In 2000, he finally released his first proper solo album, titled simply Iommi. Iommi featured several guest vocalists, including Henry Rollins, Serj Tankian, Dave Grohl, Billy Corgan, Phil Anselmo, and Ozzy Osbourne. In late 2004, Tony's second solo album was released, entitled The 1996 DEP Sessions. This album was originally recorded in 1996, but had not got an official release. However, a copy with an unfinished drum track was available as an illegal bootleg called 8th Star. The vocalist on this album was again Glenn Hughes. Tony released his third solo album, Fused on July 12, 2005, also with Glenn Hughes on vocals and Kenny Aronoff on drums.
Iommi has his own image; 6' 2" (1.88 m) height, Black leather jacket, large silver cross necklace, black mustache, and a left-handed Gibson guitar; a signature Gibson SG, with a narrow (and 24 fret) fret board.
- Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
- Paranoid - Black Sabbath
- Master of Reality - Black Sabbath
- Vol. 4 - Black Sabbath
- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath - Black Sabbath
- Sabotage - Black Sabbath
- We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll - Black Sabbath
- Funkist - Bobby Harrison
- Technical Ecstasy - Black Sabbath
- Quartz - Quartz
- Never Say Die - Black Sabbath
- Heaven & Hell - Black Sabbath
- Heavy Metal Soundtrack - Various Artists
- Live At Last - Black Sabbath
- Mob Rules - Black Sabbath
- Live Evil - Black Sabbath
- Born Again - Black Sabbath
- Seventh Star - Black Sabbath
- Eternal Idol - Black Sabbath
- Headless Cross - Black Sabbath
- Rock Aid Armenia - Various Artists
- Guitar Speak II - Various Artists
- TYR - Black Sabbath
- Wayne's World Soundtrack - Various Artists
- The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert - Various Artists (Including James Hetfield)
- Dehumanizer - Black Sabbath
- Live & Loud - Ozzy Osbourne
- Death and Progress - Diamond Head
- Cross Purposes - Black Sabbath
- Cross Purposes Live - Black Sabbath
- Forbidden - Black Sabbath
- The Carnival Bizarre - Cathedral
- The Sabbath Stones - Black Sabbath
- Twang! A Tribute to Hank Marvin & The Shadows - Various Artists
- The Ozzman Cometh - Ozzy Osbourne
- Reunion - Black Sabbath
- Iommi - Tony Iommi
- Party At The Palace - Various Artists
- Black Box - Black Sabbath
- The 1996 DEP Sessions - Iommi with Glenn Hughes
- Fused (album) - Iommi with Glenn Hughes
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