In much the same way as last year’s Ozzy Osbourne autobiography, Tony Iommi’s new Iron Man takes a personal look inside of the most unique bands of the past 40 years. Although Ozzy clearly relished his role of class clown over the years, and made many contributions to the music, Tony Iommi was always the soul of the band.
Nowhere is this shown more clearly than on the day Iommi had a work-related accident, which chopped off his two middle fingers. At this point, the group had formed under the name Earth, and featured Ozzy (vocals), Bill Ward (drums) and Geezer Butler (bass), besides Tony.
At first, Iommi was heartbroken. Then he decided to do something about it. He took a number of household products, such as small glass jars, thimbles, and the like, to try and use as extensions for his broken fingers. It took a while, but through trial and error, he did find a solution. This unforeseen development forced Iommi to play differently, and he had to get lighter strings to play with, and when he did, he would often press them extra hard, not feeling them.
Success came very quickly to the members of Black Sabbath, as did the notoriety of being a “Satanic” band. According to Tony Iommi (and Ozzy in his book), all of that was so much smoke, as a way for the band to get noticed in the first place. It certainly worked, as the group and individual members have all been forced to deal with lawsuits stemming from their “encouragement” of fans to commit suicide.
As it turned out, success would be the biggest roadblock to Sabbath’s continuance. Having cranked out eight albums between 1970 to 1978, they were burned out. Ozzy had gone AWOL, and the rest of the members seemed not far behind. But when they got together with former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath soon discovered their second wind.
With Dio leading the way, Black Sabbath entered the '80s with one of the strongest albums of the year in Heaven And Hell. The style was a little different from the classic Sabbath sound, but the fans ate it up. They followed up with The Mob Rules, and finally released the infamous live album that tore them apart. It seems that after having spent a full day on the concert’s mixes, Iommi and company would return the next day to find the vocals had been remixed to the fore. That was it for MK II of Sabbath.