Tony Iommi Discusses Creating Iconic ‘Iron Man’ Riff, Definitive Black Sabbath Songs
Legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi recently recalled how he came up with “Iron Man” riff.
In a recent interview with Greg Prato of Songfacts, Iommi said the leading bending-note riff for “Iron Man” was inspired by drummer Bill Ward.
“Bill started playing this boom, boom, boom,” he recalled. “He started doing it, and I just … came up with this thing and thought, ‘That’s cool.’ Bill kept playing it, and I just went to this riff. … I just saw this thing in my mind of someone creeping up on you. … I could hear it as a monster, so I came up with that riff there and then.”
He added that most of his riffs were created “on the spot” in a similar manner.
“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,” Iommi said.
Iommi also named “Black Sabbath” and “Iron Man” as the definite song from the Ozzy-era of the band.
“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,” he said.
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