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Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi was born on 19/02/1948 in Handsworth, Birmingham, England. His full birth name was Anthony Frank Iommi. Tony attended Birchfield Road School. His future bandmate Ozzy Osbourne also attended the school and was in the year below him. When he was 8 or 9, Iommi fell and badly cut his upper lip after being chased by another boy. Because of the incident, he gained the nickname "Scarface". He later grew a moustache to hide the scar.
Iommi wanted to play the drums initially but took up the guitar in his teens. He played left handed. After leaving school, Iommi worked briefly as a plumber, in a music store (which he quit after being falsely accused of stealing) and then finally in a factory making rings.
Iommi played in the local band The Birds and Bees after leaving the band The Rockin' Chevrolets. The band were offered work in Germany and Iommi decided to leave his factory job for the band.
When he was 17, Iommi lost the tips of his middle and ring finger on his right hand in an industrial accident on his last day of work in a sheet metal factory before the Germany tour. He was told he would never play again and he gave up the guitar. Iommi's factory foreman played him a recording of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt who inspired him with his two-fingered guitar playing. Iommi briefly tried to play right handed but instead continued to play left-handed using homemade thimbles on his injured fingers. To help his technique further he used light-gauge strings (originally banjo strings as light-gauge strings were not available at first) and tuned them to a lower pitch.
From 1966 to 1967, Iommi played in the band The Rest. The band included the drummer Bill Ward.
In 1968, Iommi was in the band Mythology, with Ward joining him after a month. The police raided the band's practice flat and found cannabis resin. The band members were fined and the band had trouble securing future bookings because of the association with drug use. The band soon split up.
Iommi and Bill Ward responded to an advert called "Ozzy Zig Needs Gig has own PA" that had been put out by vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Osbourne brought in his former bandmate Geezer Butler on bass. They also got slide guitarist Jimmy Phillips and saxophonist Alan "Aker" Clarke. The band was called the Polka Tulk Blues Band. After two gigs, Phillips and Clarke were fired from the band and they shortened the band name to Polka Tulk.
In September 1968, the band name was changed again to Earth.
In December 1968, Iommi left the band to join Jethro Tull. After only one performance, though, Iommi returned to the band Earth again.
In August 1969, after the band were confused with another band called Earth they renamed the band to Black Sabbath. The band signed to Philips Records in November.
In 1970, Black Sabbath released their debut album. The band would become commercially successful and would be highly influential as one of the pioneers of heavy metal.
By the late 1970s, Black Sabbath were suffering from drug abuse, management problems and exhausation from touring.
In 1979, Ozzy Osbourne was fired from the band and they recruited Ronnie James Dio to replace him.
In 1980, Bill Ward dropped out of the band with alcohol problems and also because he was not happy with the direction the band was taking with Dio. Vinny Appice came in to replace him on drums.
In 1982, Dio left the band to start a solo career. After that, the singer position for the band would change several times for the next decade. They would include Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Tony Martin and Ray Gillen.
In 1984, Geezer Butler left the band and Ian Gillan left as well. Black Sabbath went on hiatus and Iommi used the time to record his first solo album.
In 1986, Iommi released his debut album "Seventh Star", it also featured Glenn Hughes on vocals. Due to label pressures, it was billed as Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi.
From 1989, Iommi has been involved in the Rock Aid Armenia project.
In 1992, Iommi appeared at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. In the same year, Geezer Butler returned to Black Sabbath.
In 1993, Iommi joined the band Diamond Head for their album "Death and Progress".
In 1997, Black Sabbath's original lineup were reunited. Bill Ward played at the first two reunion shows but was not present for the following two reunion tours. He was replaced by Mike Bordin and then Vinny Appice.
In 2000, Iommi released his first solo album credited under his name called "Iommi".
In 2004, Iommi released the solo album "The 1996 DEP Sessions".
In 2005, Iommi released the solo album "Fused".
In 2006, Dio, Butler, Ward and Iommi were reported as about to go on tour under the name Heaven & Hell. Ward decided not to participate and Vinny Appice replaced him.
In 2008, Iommi was award a star on the Birmingham Walk of Stars.
In 2009, Iommi and Ian Gillan were awarded the Orders of Honor - Armenia's highest order. In the same year, Heaven & Hell released their only album "The Devil You Know".
In 2010, Dio died of stomach cancer. Heaven & Hell performed a one-off tribute to Dio at the High Voltage Festival, London as their last performance.
In 2011, Black Sabbath announced they were reuniting and recording for a new album. Vinny Appice was in place on drums for the sessions. Also in 2011, Iommi and Gillan formed a supergroup called WhoCares as a charity project to raise money to rebuild a school in Armenia that had been destroyed in the 1988 earthquake.
In 2012, it was announced that Iommi had early-stage lymphoma.
In 2013, Black Sabbath released the album "13". In the same year, Iommi's composition "Lonely Planet" was used as Armenia's entry in the Eurovision Song Concert.
In 2014, it was announced that Iommi would be finishing treatment for lymphoma.
In 2016, it was announced that Iommi's cancer was in remission.
In 2017, Black Sabbath finished their final tour called "The End".

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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