Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell With Black Sabbath

January 01, 1970


With his memoir, Black Sabbath lead guitarist Tony Iommi shows the band is much more than Ozzy, crosses or whatever satanic images are linked to it. In Iron Man, Iommi tells how he waded through a childhood of poverty and violence in Birmingham, England, to become the leader and lead guitarist of one of the most important bands in rock. “At school, if you didn’t get one in first someone would get you. That’s why I ended up fighting all the bloody time,” writes the author.

Although it has been more than 40 years since Iommi faced down schoolmate bullies, his adult life has been an almost continual battle. In 350+ pages, he talks about how an industrial accident took part of two of his fingers and almost ended his fledgling music career (“But I thought bloody hell, there has got to be something I can do.”), his parents’ lack of support (“‘A bloody nuisance you are! You ought to get a bloody proper job!'”), and the ever-negative critics. What makes this autobiography compelling is Iommi’s unpretentious stories about the band, the money, the music, the groupies, the hijinks and the
animosities. And although he doesn’t confirm rumors the original band members are recording, fans will be heartened that he says a new album has been discussed at length: “It’s still not set in stone, but I talked to Ozzy at the end of 2010 and he went ‘I’m really looking forward to doing something’… But you never know.” This guilty pleasure of a book is a must-read for all rock fans.

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