Commonwealth Games 2022: Who is Tony Iommi, did he co-found Black Sabbath and what happened to his fingers?

Black Sabbeth co-founder Tony Iommi is part of the Commonwealth Games 2022 opening ceremony

Tony Iommi is one of the most legendary music figures to come out of Birmingham in the 20th century.

He was a co-founder of Black Sabbeth and is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, by Rolling Stone magazine.

Iommi is set to take part in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2022.

Here is all you need to know:

Who is Tony Iommi?

He is best known as being the co-founder of Black Sabbath.

Iommi was born in Birmingham and grew up in the Park Lane area of Aston.

He went to Birchfield Road School in Handsworth and was in the school year above Ozzy Osbourne.

Prior to learning the guitar, Iommi originally wanted to play the drums but decided against it due to the noise.

Iommi formed the band that would become Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward in 1968 after responding to an advert in a local music shop proclaiming “Ozzy Zig Requires Gig – has own PA”.

The band was originally called Earth and Iommi briefly left the band in late 1968 to join up with Jethro Tull, but he left after two performances.

Earth was renamed Black Sabbath in August 1969 and the went on to become one of the pioneering heavy metal bands.

Tony Iommi. Picture: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty ImagesTony Iommi. Picture: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images
Tony Iommi. Picture: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images

What happened to his fingers?

When he was 17, Iommi lost the tips of his middle and ring fingers in an industrial accident.

Due to this accident, he changed the way he played guitar and this had a profund impact on the sound of Black Sabbath.

Iommi plays the guitar left handed and uses his right hand to form chords.

Because of his injury he detuned his guitar to lower the string tension and ease the pain on his fingers from playing guitar.

Bassist Geezer Butler also detuned his bass to match Iommi.

Black Sabbath were one of the first bands to detune, starting with the 1971 album Master of Reality and it became a mainstay of heavy metal music.

What will Tony Iommi be performing at the Commonwealth Games?

Iommi and acclaimed saxophonist Soweto Kinch will lead a “dream sequence” piece, titled Hear My Voice, based on the lead track from the 2020 film Netflix film Trial Of The Chicago Seven.

The song, originally by Celeste and Daniel Pemberton, will be reimagined by Birmingham-born up-and-coming R&B singers Indigo Marshall and Gambimi.

Who else is performing at the opening ceremony?

Duran Duran, who started in Birmingham, are the headline act tonight.

The ceremony will take place at Alexander Stadium in front of an audience of more than 30,000.

Mezzo-soprano and Birmingham Conservatoire graduate Samantha Oxborough will perform the National Anthem as part of the formal opening of the Games.

She will be supported by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alpesh Chauhan, and also musicians from the Royal Marines.

A choir of more than 700 individuals, drawn from 15 choirs from across the West Midlands, will also be involved in the event.

They will be led by Carol Pemberton, who is music director of Black Voices, one of Europe’s leading female a cappella groups.

Musicians from across the region will also feature in the ceremony, including percussionist Lekan Babalola, singer Ranjana Ghatak, shawm player Jude Rees, bagpiper Chris Crouch, and djembe player Abraham Paddy Tetteh.

How can you watch the opening ceremony?

The Commonwealth Games 2022 opening ceremony is on BBC One/ One HD as well as BBC iPlayer.

Coverage is due to begin at 7.30pm.

Related topics: