BLACK SABBATH's TONY IOMMI: How I Came Up With 'Iron Man' Guitar Riff

March 1, 2021

In a new interview with Greg Prato of Songfacts, legendary BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi was asked to name the definitive song from the band's Ozzy Osbourne era. He responded: "I always relate to 'Black Sabbath'. And 'Iron Man'. A lot of people say 'Paranoid', but the song was written as a filler for the album — it was never intended on being anything else. But it became a single because it was a short song, and because it became what it did, most people knew us because of 'Paranoid' in them days."

During the same chat, Iommi also talked about how he came up with the classic "Iron Man" guitar riff. He said: "I was in a rehearsal room, and Bill [Ward, drums] started playing this boom, boom, boom. He started doing it, and I just went [sings bending string bit before the song's riff] and came up with this thing and thought, 'That's cool.' Bill kept playing it, and I just went to this riff.

"Most of the riffs I've done I've come up with on the spot, and that was one of them — it just came up. It went with the drum, what Bill was playing. I just saw this thing in my mind of someone creeping up on you, and it just sounded like the riff. In my head, I could hear it as a monster, so I came up with that riff there and then."

The 73-year-old Iommi, who was diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma more than nine years ago, revealed last month that he received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Tony is the third member of BLACK SABBATH to get a COVID-19 vaccine, after singer Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler.

Iommi is currently promoting the upcoming deluxe editions of BLACK SABBATH's "Heaven And Hell" and "Mob Rules" albums.

Tony revealed his cancer diagnosis in early 2012, shortly after SABBATH announced a reunion tour and album. He underwent treatment throughout the recording of the disc, titled "13", and the subsequent tour to promote it.

The BLACK SABBATH guitarist successfully underwent an operation in January 2017 to remove a noncancerous lump from his throat.

"13" was the first album in 35 years to feature Osbourne, Iommi and Butler all playing together.

In February 2017, SABBATH finished "The End" tour in Birmingham, closing out the quartet's groundbreaking 49-year career.

"The End" was SABBATH's last tour because Iommi can no longer travel for extended amounts of time.

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