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Tony Iommi Plays

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GS Mini

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Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi, guitarist, songwriter, and founding member of Black Sabbath, has impacted the landscape of rock music more than just about any other guitar player outside Robert Johnson and Jimi Hendrix. Born in 1948 in England, Iommi’s origin story is somewhat infamous. At the age of 17, while he was working at a sheet metal factory, he was injured in an accident that caused him to lose the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his fretting hand. Thinking his guitar playing days were over, Iommi was inspired when he learned that Django Reinhardt, a prolific jazz guitarist, had sustained a similar injury and yet continued to play. He created plastic tips to cover the ends of his fingers, which combined with detuning his strings, allowed him to continue to play and helped him develop the signature heavy sound that would later define Black Sabbath.

As lead guitarist for Black Sabbath, Iommi helped shape the sound of rock and essentially birthed the style that soon became heavy metal. After a massively successful early era, the band changed lineups several times, and Iommi often played with other musicians in the heavy music realm. He formed Heaven & Hell with Ronnie James Dio, whose death ended the band’s run. Iommi has also composed and released two solo albums, Iommi and Fused. Today, he tours sporadically with former Black Sabbath members and other musicians, and continues to write music.