Frank Anthony Iommi was born Frbuary 19, 1948, and grew up in Birmingham,
England. Known to the world as Tony Iommi, he started playing guitar as a teenager after being inspired by the band Hank Marvin and The Shadows. When Tony was seventeen he lost his middle and ring finger on his right hand while working in a sheet metal factory. He considered giving guitar up, but Tony's boss encouraged him to continue his dream. To compensate, Tony began stringing his guitar with banjo strings because of their very light guage. He also made plastic covers, for his two fingers, out of liquid soap bottles and leather. To do this he had to melt the plastic into a ball shape then use a soldering iron to burn a hole in the plastic. While the plastic was still soft he would put it over his finger to shape it, after he had the shape he liked he would put leather over the plastic for a better grip on the strings.
Iommi played in many different blues rock bands, in 1966 he left his factory job and
began to play with the band The Rest. In that band, Tony played with future Black Sabbath
drummer Bill Ward for the first time. For half the year in 1968, Iommi also played in a band called Mythology, which, once again, featured Bill Ward on the drums. The band split up in August of 1968, around the same time another band called Rare Breed broke up. The singer for Rare Breed, John "Ozzy" Osbourne, and the guitarist Terry "Geezer" Butler teamed up with Tony and Bill to form the band, Polka Tulk Blues Company. The Polka Blues Company was a six piece band which after just two shows shortened to a four piece, and became Pulka Tulk.
Iommi, Butler, Ward, and Osbourne later became known as the band Earth in September of 1968. Together the band played until December of 1968 when Iommi left the band for a short period of time to play in Jethro Tull. After only playing one show, Tony was once again back in Earth..
It wasn't until August of 1969 that the band Earth finally changed their name to Black Sabbath, after being confused with another band named Earth. Tony's factory accident did not affect the band until their third album when he began to tune his guitar from E to C#. This detuning technique stayed with Black Sabbath and helped create the heavy metal sound of today. In 1979, Ozzy's constant drug use forced Iommi to fire the vocalist and Rainbow's Ronnie James Dio was asked to fill the void. Black Sabbath, with Dio and all original members, released one of their most classic records, entitled "Heaven and Hell". The album was quite successful and eventually went platinum (selling over 1 million copies). Drummer Bill Ward soon left the lineup and was replaced with drummer Vinnie Appice. That version of Black Sabbath would only record one other studio album, "Mob Rules", and one live album "Live Evil". After Dio left the band, to pursue a solo career, that line up did not reform until the early nineties. They recorded one album, "Dehumanizer, and did a world tour. Throughout the eighties, Black Sabbath had a number of other singers, Deep Purple's Ian Gillan being the most significant, recording one album with the band, "Born Again". But it wasn't until 1997, the full original band (with Ozzy and Bill Ward) toured together again.
In 2000, Tony released his first solo album, entitled "Iommi". His second solo album was released in 2004 and was named "The 1996 DEP Sessions". Although recorded in 1996, it was not released until 2004. Iommi's third album, "Fused", was released in July of 2005.
Today Tony Iommi is still playing with Black Sabbath (featuring Dio on vocals), however, they are now calling themselves "Heaven and Hell". There has been a lot of speculation as to why the band would go by Heaven and Hell, instead of Black Sabbath, but the members insist that it was done to avoid any confusion as to which Black Sabbath was touring. The reunion spurred a new release, "The Devil You Know," in April of 2009, followed by a world tour.