BIOGRAPHY – Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi, born Francis Antony Iommi, was born in 1948 in Aston Birmingham, the son of Italian parents. He is best known as the lead guitarist and a founding member of Black Sabbath.
Tony Iommi a lefty, started learning the guitar as a teenager, inspired by artists such as The Shadows. He became a sheet metal worker after leaving school, playing gigs in pubs and clubs at night with local bands.
Whilst at work, aged 17, he suffered an industrial accident and caught his right hand in a machine, slicing off the tips of his middle and ring finger. However, Tony Iommi’s boss knew about his guitar playing ambitions and gave him a Django Reinhardt LP to inspire him. (Jazz legend Django Reinhardt had damaged fingers on his fret hand and still had managed to go on to worldwide success). This worked and Tony Iommi got round the disability by making two thimble style coverings to replace his damaged finger ends.
Tony Iommi played in a number of bands and in 1969 founded Black Sabbath along with Ozzy Osbourne and other local musicians who knew each other from rival bands.
The first album was titled “Black Sabbath” and was followed by a succession of successful albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Tony Iommi adopted a unique guitar sound by detuning his guitar from E to C# to help ease the stress on his damaged finger ends. Detuning created a darker tone and has since become a feature of the heavy metal sound worldwide. Tony Iommi’s most famous riff is on Paranoid – the title track of the second album of the same name.
Black Sabbath ran through many changes, Ozzy Osbourne was sacked in 1979 and replaced by Ronnie James Dio, and eventually all members of Black Sabbath had changed apart from Tony Iommi, coming together on occasions to reform and then split up again in true rock and roll style.
Tony Iommi released his first solo album in 2000 titled Iommi. Subsequent solo albums followed with contributions from guest musicians including Dave Grohl. Billy Corgan, and Ozzy Osbourne.
In 2006 Tony Iommi founded another band Heaven and Hell, who toured, and released one album. Unfortunately, the premature death of close friend Ronnie James Dio – the vocalist, in 2010 put an end to this project.

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