TONY IOMMI Names The BLACK SABBATH Riffs He Immediately Knew Were Exceptional

In a recent chat with Loudwire Nights, Tony Iommi, the guitar wizard behind Black Sabbath, looked back on the riffs that just clicked the moment he strummed them. “Well, without bragging too much, there were a few,” he admitted with a grin.

He shared the story of crafting the iconic “Black Sabbath” riff, explaining how it instantly felt special because it was so different from anything else at the time. “When we first played the ‘Black Sabbath’ riff, I just knew — it had this vibe and feeling that was unlike anything else. It was something totally fresh. I don’t know how it happened. It just flowed out. And that set the tone for the whole album. Once we nailed ‘Wicked World’ and ‘Black Sabbath,’ the rest came naturally.”

Iommi also recalled other riffs close to his heart. “Into The Void” was one, especially because it was a favorite of Eddie Van Halen’s. “Same with ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.’ And ‘Into The Void.’ Eddie loved that one. He’d always ask for it. So that was cool to hear. There are a few that really stood out to me — ‘Iron Man,’ for example. Well, they all meant something, but these were the ones that grabbed me from the start.”

Interviewer Chuck Armstrong pointed out the significance of the first three notes of “Black Sabbath,” dubbed “The Devil’s interval.” Iommi agreed, noting how it attracted a lot of attention, especially from religious groups and Satanists in the early days.

“That stirred up quite a bit for us, you know. Every type came to our shows, oh my. We got flak from churches and Satanists and all sorts in those early days.”

When asked if he regretted the religious controversies, Iommi saw it as a positive thing, drawing attention to their music. He didn’t intend any religious undertones initially; it was simply about the sound, which naturally evolved into Ozzy’s melodies and Geezer’s lyrics, fitting perfectly for the band.

“It definitely got people talking. I think it was a good thing. We didn’t even think about the religious stuff at first. It just resonated with me when I played it. We liked it. Then Ozzy added his melodies, Geezer penned the lyrics, and it all just clicked. And that’s how we launched.”

Reflecting on the pre-MTV and pre-Internet era, Iommi emphasized the importance of live performances and word of mouth in building their reputation. He mused on how things might have been different with modern tech but acknowledged the crucial role of live shows back then.

“Yeah, back then, there was no MTV or Internet. It was all about word of mouth. You had to play gigs and earn your stripes — whether good or bad. If we had the Internet back then, who knows what would’ve happened? Or MTV.”

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