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About Tony Iommi

You can’t tell the story of heavy metal guitar without Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi. Bleak, hypnotic and loud, Iommi’s style stripped the hard-rocking blues of Cream and Led Zeppelin to their most primitive states, shifting emphasis from runs and solos to the muscular simplicity of a good riff and in the process inventing a new approach to the instrument. His most memorable turns—"Sweet Leaf", "Iron Man", "Paranoid"—remain burned into the brains of anyone who heard them, like pop earworms transposed for the underworld. A factory accident at age 17 took two of his fingertips, and as a result, the Birmingham, England–born Iommi began tuning his strings several steps down—making them easier to play but also widening his tone. (It's now a standard practice of metal guitarists.) As for the band’s volume, Iommi considers it the happy byproduct of necessity. “We began turning up because we were fed up with people talking over us while we were playing,” he once told Guitar World. “I remember thinking, screw it, they won’t be able to chatter over this!”

HOMETOWN
Birmingham, England
GENRE
Rock
BORN
19 Feb 1948

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