Tony Iommi painting portrait, Black Sabbath poster, original painted artwork
Tony Iommi painting portrait
Black Sabbath poster, original painted artwork
97 x 130cm (38″x 51″)
acrylics on canvas
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Tony Iommi painting portrait, Black Sabbath original hand-painted poster art : the making of (in steps)
Anthony Frank “Tony” Iommi was born in Birmingham, Egland on 19 February 1948 . He is the lead guitarist and founding member of the pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, and he has been the band’s sole continual member and primary composer. Iommi is widely considered one of the most influential rock guitarists of all time. A prolific riff writer, he was ranked number 25 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
While working in a factory as a teenager, left-handed Iommi lost the tips of the middle and ring finger of his right, fretting, hand in an accident; an event which crucially affected his playing style. Iommi briefly left Black Sabbath’s forerunner, ‘Earth’, in 1968 to join Jethro Tull . In 1969, he returned to ‘Earth’ renaming the group name to ‘Black Sabbath’ and recording their self-titled debut album. By 1970 Iommi had detuned his guitar from E to E♭ (a minor second down), and from 1971’s Master of Reality album, had detuned it further to D♭ (a minor third down), to ease the tension on his fingers. Bassist Geezer Butler did the same to match Iommi play. Sabbath were among the first bands to detune, and the technique became a mainstay of heavy metal music. Iommi combined blues-like guitar solos and dark, minor-key riffing with a revolutionary high-gain, heavily distorted tone with his use of a modified treble-boosting effect-pedal and a Gibson SG.
By the late 1970s, Black Sabbath were suffering from substance abuse, managerial problems, and touring exhaustion. In addition, the band’s slow, blues-driven riffs were outmoded against the rising generation of metal bands such as Judas Priest and Motorhead. After the albums Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die! were critically panned, Iommi and Butler decided that Sabbath needed a fresh start, so in the summer of 1979, they fired Ozzy Osbourne and replaced him with Ronnie James Dio, the former vocalist for Rainbow. With Dio, they produced the masterpiece Heaven and Hell, an album that attempted to update Black Sabbath’s sound for the 1980s and include the soaring vocals that characterised the NWOBM (New Wave of British Metal) scene. Halfway through the 1980 tour, drummer Bill Ward dropped out due to alcohol problems and displeasure with the direction that Dio was taking the band. He was replaced by Vinny Appice. With Iommi and Geezer Butler the only original members, this line-up produced Mob Rules. Dio quit the following year to begin a solo career, so Sabbath went through a revolving door lineup for the next decade with a succession of frontmen – Ian Gillan (formerly of Deep Purple), Glenn Hughes, Tony Martin and Ray Gillen. After Ian Gillan departed the band in 1984, Geezer Butler left as well. With Sabbath in effective hiatus, Iommi recorded his first solo album, entitled Seventh Star. The album featured Glenn Hughes on vocals, but due to label pressures, it was billed as a release by “Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi.”
In 2000, he released his first solo album Iommi, followed by 2005’s Fused, which featured his former bandmate Glenn Hughes. After releasing Fused, he joined Heaven & Hell, which disbanded after Ronnie James Dio’s death in 2010.
In 2011, he published his autobiography, entitled Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath.