Geezer Butler says Tony Iommi “doesn’t get the credit he deserves as a guitarist”

“I saw one of those Best Rock Guitarists of All Time lists, and Tony was down in the 30s. Whoever wrote that list needs their head testing!”

[L-R] Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi

Credit: Getty Images

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Though Tony Iommi is widely regarded as one of the most influential metal guitarists of all time, his former Black Sabbath bandmate Geezer Butler believes he “doesn’t get the credit he deserves”.

In a new audio clip taken from Butler’s autobiography Into the Void: From Birth to Black Sabbath – obtained by Planet Rock – the bassist recalls the moment Iommi came up with the riff of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath some 50 years ago in 1973.

“I remember Tony walking into the studio and saying, ‘Well, I’ve got one thing’ before launching into the riff for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” he says.

“It was a glorious moment. Relief washed over me because that riff – one of the best I’ve ever heard – meant we had a present and a future. We weren’t done yet. Sabbath would live!”

He adds: “While I’m on the subject of Tony’s uncanny ability to conjure a monster riff, I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves as a guitarist.

“I recently saw one of those Best Rock Guitarists of All Time lists, and Tony was down in the 30s. Meanwhile, Eddie Van Halen wasn’t in the top 10 and Keith Richards was at number two. Whoever wrote that list needs their head testing! Anyway, there’s no such thing as the best guitarist or the best drummer or the best anything. It all depends on the genre and it’s totally subjective.”

“I know how great Tony is because I had a ringside seat for almost 50 years, we’d be jamming away and he’d be coming up with riffs left, right and centre. And I defy anyone to name three better rock riffs than Iron Man, Supernaut and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.”

Despite placing in the 30s in the unnamed publication’s list of top rock guitarists, Iommi still ranks highly by most people’s standards. We’d wager he’s certainly ranked number one by Swedish palaeontologist Mats Eriksson, who recently named a 469 million-year-old fossil after the Black Sabbath hero.


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