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Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi explains how he created the riff for “Iron Man”

Tony Iommi

Classic Rock

Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi explains how he created the riff for “Iron Man”

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, also known as the “riffmaster” explained in an interview with Songfacts how he created the riff for the classic song “Iron Man”. The musician explained that often his riffs just pop in his mind.

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Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi explains how he created the riff for “Iron Man”:

“I was in a rehearsal room, and Bill started playing this boom, boom, boom. He started doing it, and I just went [sings bending string bit before the song’s riff] and came up with this thing and thought, That’s cool. Bill kept playing it, and I just went to this riff.”

“Most of the riffs I’ve done I’ve come up with on the spot, and that was one of them – it just came up. It went with the drum, what Bill was playing. I just saw this thing in my mind of someone creeping up on you, and it just sounded like the riff. In my head I could hear it as a monster, so I came up with that riff there and then.”

What’s the definitive Sabbath song from the Ozzy era?

“I always relate to “Black Sabbath.” And “Iron Man.” A lot of people say “Paranoid,” but the song was written as a filler for the album – it was never intended on being anything else. But it became a single because it was a short song, and because it became what it did, most people knew us because of “Paranoid” in them days.”

During the same interview, Tony Iommi explained the name of the song and how he created the riff for “Supernaut” from the album Vol.4:

“That would be down to Geezer. Geezer came up with some great titles – really unusual titles. As he did with the lyrics. He was really good at that. I can’t remember where he got that from, but it was his idea.”

How did you come up with the riff for that song?

“I had a wah-wah going and started playing this riff, which was “Supernaut.” Everybody liked it, and we made it into the song. That’s how we always went about the Sabbath stuff – I always played something and the others would have to go, “Oh, I like that.” If nobody said anything about it, we’d just carry on and do something else. It always had to be somebody going, “Oh, I really like that,” because I can keep playing riffs.”

“You don’t always know yourself because you think, Is that a good one? I like it, but does everybody like it? And then when they say, “Yeah, I like that,” then you know that’s it. All these songs came about that same way.”

I am a Brazilian journalist, a Classic Rock and Heavy Metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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