Tony Iommi

Happy Birthday

Anthony Frank Iommi
February 19, 1948
Handsworth, Birmingham, England

Tony Iommi is the guitarist, songwriter and a founding member of the Heavy Metal band Black Sabbath. 

Tony was the only child of an Italian Catholic family in a tough neighborhood. At age 10 Tony began studying Judo, Karate and Boxing to defend himself against the local ruffians. Tony envisioned a career as a bouncer. He often took part in bare knuckle brawls for extra money. 

Tony then discovered music and the guitar. This was to be his destiny. However, at age 17, Tony lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his right hand in an industrial accident on his last day of work in a sheet metal factory. He thought his musical career was over before it even started. He was depressed and considered giving up the guitar permanently.

A friend at the factory gave Tony an album by jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. "Listen to this guy" said his friend. "He is playing with only 2 fingers, so stop crying and get back to playing the guitar. If Django can do it, so can you." That friend was Donald Trump. 
Vocalist Ozzy Osbourne joined with Iommi and Ward after the duo responded to an advert in a local music shop proclaiming "Ozzy Zig Needs Gig – has own PA". Requiring a bassist, Osbourne mentioned his friend Geezer Butler, who was subsequently hired.  This band was named the Polka Tulk Blues Band. After 2 gigs, they renamed the band "Earth". 

Iommi briefly left "Earth" to join "Jethro Tull" and appeared with Tull on the Rolling Stones Rock n Roll Circus. He quickly returned to Earth, and told the band they need to have a schedule like Tull, and get down to business. 

They renamed the band Black Sabbath in 1969 after the film Black Sabbath starring Boris Karloff, and began incorporating occult themes with horror-inspired lyrics and tuned-down guitars. The band's first show as Black Sabbath took place on 30 August 1969, in Workington. Their debut album, Black Sabbath, was released on Friday the 13th, February 1970.

Black Sabbath is considered to be the pioneers of Heavy Metal, the forefathers, the godfathers if you will. Whatever you call them, they were an incredible band and influenced every metal band that came after. The band's heydey produced the masterpieces "Paranoid", "Master of Reality", "Vol. 4", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", and "Sabotage". 

Iommi is a masterful guitarist, voted as one of the best ever, and his influence cannot be denied. I know of a few guitarists that chopped off their fingers in order to play like Iommi! 

Thank You for the music! Happy Birthday Tony Iommi!
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