This was Eddie Van Halen’s “favourite” Black Sabbath riff, according to Tony Iommi

It’s a certain track from 1971’s Master of Reality…

Eddie Van Halen and Tony Iommi, both pictured on stage in the 1990s, with guitars in hand

Images: Tim Mosenfelder (left) and John Atashian (right) / Getty

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It’s always a special feeling when you work on a new riff and instantly get the feeling that you’ve crafted something good. And if you’re lucky enough to wake up the next day, play through it again, and realise that you still don’t hate it – even better!

For Tony Iommi, he recalls there being a handful of riffs he created for Black Sabbath that he just knew were special. In fact, there’s one in particular he remembers as Eddie Van Halen’s favourite too.

During an episode of Loudwire Nights [via Blabbermouth], Iommi says, “Well, without sounding big-headed, [there were] a few. [Laughs] When we’d first done the Black Sabbath riff, straight away I knew — it just had this vibe and a feeling and it was something so different in them days that you’d never heard that sort of thing before. And I don’t know how it all happened. It’d just sort of come out. And that was the benchmark for that album.”

He goes on to add, “Once we’d done Wicked World and Black Sabbath, then the rest of them flowed along. And the same with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. And also Into The Void. That was a riff that I really liked, and that was Eddie Van Halen’s favourite, to be honest, Into The Void [from 1971’s Master of Reality].

“He’d always say, ‘Oh, play Into The Void.’ So it was great to hear that. So there’s a few that sort of – for me, Iron Man. Oh, there’s a lot that really meant something. Well, they’ve all meant something, but they’re the ones that sort of stood out initially.”

Back in May, Iommi also remembered his experience of working on a song with Eddie Van Halen for Sabbath’s 1994 album, Cross Purposes. During a visit to Birmingham, UK, Eddie was picked up by Iommi from his hotel, whisked to a music shop for a guitar, and then taken down to a rehearsal where he helped to craft the song Evil Eye.

Funnily enough, before they began working on the track, Eddie jammed along to his favourite Into The Void, which Iommi actually called him out for playing wrong. “That’s the sort of relationship we had,” Iommi said. “We stayed friends until he passed away; I spoke to him just before.”

Black Sabbath’s Anno Domini box set is out now. The collection contains newly remastered versions of Headless Cross (1989), TYR (1990), Cross Purposes (1994), and a new version of Forbidden (1995).


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