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Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath [Hardcover]

Tony Iommi
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 2011
Iron Man chronicles the story of both pioneering guitarist Tony Iommi and legendary band Black Sabbath, dubbed "The Beatles of heavy metal" by Rolling Stone. Iron Man reveals the man behind the icon yet still captures Iommi's humor, intelligence, and warmth. He speaks honestly and unflinchingly about his rough-and-tumble childhood, the accident that almost ended his career, his failed marriages, personal tragedies, battles with addiction, band mates, famous friends, newfound daughter, and the ups and downs of his life as an artist.Everything associated with hard rock happened to Black Sabbath first: the drugs, the debauchery, the drinking, the dungeons, the pressure, the pain, the conquests, the company men, the contracts, the combustible drummer, the critics, the comebacks, the singers, the Stonehenge set, the music, the money, the madness, the metal.

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Review

Publishers Weekly, 6/27
[Tony Iommi is] “the undisputed originator of heavy metal.”

Kirkus Reviews, 10/1/11
“[Iommi is] most entertaining when describing the Sabbath’s incessant, hazardous prank-playing…The guitarist is not wholly unaware of the oft-ludicrous nature of his enterprise.”
 
Publishers Weekly, 10/3/11
“An important addition to the Black Sabbath story…Iommi’s autobiography is as direct as his music.”
 
Booklist, 11/1/11
“This memoir [is] dead certain to appeal to heavy-metal fans of all ages…With plenty of behind-the-scenes stories and fresh perspectives on some of music’s most notorious characters…this is a frank and honest look at a special part of rock history.”
 
RollingStone.com, 10/24/11
“The book recounts all the ups and downs the guitarist experienced with Ozzy Osbourne and company.”
 
Houston Press, 10/20/11
“Written in short, easily digestible chapters, Iommi's autobiography is full of revelations and observations of his career…A good read.”

USA Today, 10/31/11
“Iommi has a story that needs to be told…Iommi tells his story simply and chronologically, making it easy for anyone to slip into the fast-paced tale. And yes, while there are plenty of drug-fueled antics, there's no doubt the focus is on the music here, as it should be…Iommi emerges from Iron Man seeming like a true trailblazer without sounding immodest or unkind—and I've learned that's quite a feat, especially after reading, say, Motley Crue's The Dirt.”

New York Daily News, 10/28/11
“A raucous autobiography…He brainstormed one of the heaviest and darkest sounds known to man. But Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi makes a surprisingly sweet narrator of his own life.”
 
Ultimateclassicrock.com, 11/1/11
“In his 350+ page autobiography, Iommi leaves no doubt that he is fully deserving of the rock bad boy title but is even more worthy of the Hall of Fame nod…What makes the book stand out, though, is Iommi’s lack of pretense, his insider perspective and surprising sense of humor in telling classic tales…It’s the rare glimpse into the personal perspective of Iommi that makes Iron Man a must-read for music fans.”
 
Blogcritics.com, 11/1/11
”A personal look inside one of the most unique bands of the past 40 years.”
 
Library Journal, 11/15/11
“Iommi paints an intimate portrait of his own life from childhood to his most recent musical effort in Heaven & Hell…Readers who enjoyed Joel McIver’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath will be drawn to Iommi’s insider perspective.”

January Magazine, 11/18/11
“When it comes to rocker biographies, the 2011 winner is former Black Sabbath lead guitarist, Tony Iommi’s Iron Man. This is the whole package: Iommi is candid, engaging and celebrated and that’s exactly the right combo for this sort of book. Though it’s Iommi’s autobiography, this is also the story of Black Sabbath, one of the most celebrated and seminal rock outfits of all time. And on this journey we take with him we discover that our wildest imaginings about sixties and seventies rock n’ roller behavior were only scratching the service…Iommi is a likable correspondent and you don’t mind spending time in his presence for the duration of the book. If you only buy one rock biography this season, for so many reasons, it should be this one.”

Gibson.com, 11/11/11
“[A] must-read…It contains some near-unbelievable stories: drugs, the Mafia, knife fights, Iommi setting fire to Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, killing Virgin mogul Richard Branson’s prize carp fish with Sabbath pyrotechnics, that Spinal Tap-inspiring Stonehenge stage set, even auditioning Michael Bolton as Black Sabbath singer (true!)…and, of course, all the guaranteed craziness you’d expect from a band involving Ozzy Osbourne.”

TheNervousBreakdown.com, 11/12/11
“A four hundred page monster of a book, as heavy in places as ‘War Pigs,’ as deep and reflective in others as ‘Planet Caravan.’”

WLKY.com, 11/11/11
“In Iron Man, Iommi lays it all bare. Told in an economic, forthright style, the autobiography explores everything one would expect and then some…An enjoyable read and will make a nice holiday gift for the metalheads on your shopping list.”

Rolling Stone, 12/8/11
“There’s good material here.”

Milwaukee Shepherd Express, 11/22/11
Iron Man chronicles a life of ale, drugs and women and a trail of destruction behind every tour.”

Bookviews blog, December 2011
“Fans of the group, Black Sabbath, will enjoy Iron Man.”

Curled Up with a Good Book, 12/6/11
“Many books have been written about Black Sabbath, but this one comes from the horse's mouth and sheds light on moments only Tonio was privy to…This certainly needs to be read by any Black Sabbath fan.”
 
Bookgasm.com, 12/2/11
“Reveals the man behind the icon, yet still captures Iommi’s humor, intelligence and warmth.”
 
The Cleveland Sound, 12/11/11
“Fans will revel in the guitarist’s lucid memory and wicked humor—but casual rock readers will likewise enjoy this tale of one unassuming English kid’s improbable rise into to the pantheon of metal godliness, thanks primarily to Iommi’s fairly objective storytelling, charming prose, and keen sense of the absurd…[Iommi is] a raconteur whose words are as endearing as they are informative.” 

Elmore, January/February 2012
“Iommi dishes on a life of heavy music and even heavier times…Dignified and classy, while still spilling plenty of messy musical beans.”

Guitar World, 12/26/11
“One of the top 15 books of 2011.”
 
Midwest Book Review, January 2012
“[Black Sabbath’s] interactions with other famous music personalities and Tony Iommi's perceptions of the music world make this a 'must' for fans of the group and any collection profiling rock music history."

SLUG, March 2012
“Some obscure gems…It has a rapid-fire ‘quick story’ quality…Tony’s delightfully frank…It’s honest, endearing.”

PowerlineMag.com, 6/8/12
“Though there are a number of books about Black Sabbath available, there aren’t too many by one of the band’s members—and most of those books are, unsurprisingly, by lead singer Ozzy Osbourne. So it’s nice to get another viewpoint from the band’s guitarist and co-founding member. Iommi covers his history from start to finish, with some interesting factoids being served up along the way.”

About the Author

Tony Iommi is a cofounding member and lead guitarist of Black Sabbath and is among the most influential guitarists of all time. Born in 1948, he lives in Birmingham, England.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Tommy Skylar TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath is exactly what it says it is. Tony Iommi tells us in his memoir about his pre-Black Sabbath days, playing various gigs and goes in a linear line from Sabbath day one to Heaven and Hell to now. In many ways it's very much what you would expect out of Tony and there aren't any revelations or "wow!" moments, it's just Iommi being humble and telling his fans about his career exactly as it happened, one event after the other. We're pretty much all aware of the Ozzy years already and the Dio years of the band have been well-covered too. The short-lived Ian Gillan era was well covered and one of the best parts of Iommi's book in my opinion, perhaps because the Ozzy and Dio years are so talked about we tend to forget the album and tour Gillan did with Sabbath. Reading those stories about Gillan and recording and the tour was a highlight. I particularly enjoyed reading about the recording of the albums and the events that surrounded them, the musicians who played (it's easy to forget, especially mid-late 80's era Black Sabbath) and so on. Some of the albums didn't need more details like Paranoid or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath but others like Seventh Star, Forbidden Cross and Tyr beneficiated from the added details and perspective of Iommi. I appreciated reading the kind words that Iommi had to say about Dio and the last days of Heaven & Hell, the final project with Ronnie James Dio and the studio album they did.

I think one of the problems that bring down the book is that Tony Iommi simply isn't all that interesting or doesn't know how to make the stories and what he is attempting to tell seem interesting enough that you WANT to continue reading the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but.... Feb. 5 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I looked forward to reading this book as soon as I found out about its release. As with many rock/metal biographies and autobiographies you really wonder about the validity of the stories presented. Are they factual or one sided? Naturally funny or seriously embellished? I read " I Am Ozzy" months before reading this one, so I expected alot of crossover material from the lads time in Black Sabbath. However, the biggest flaw with this book is Iommi's treatment of certain events. While Ozzy held little back regarding his time in Black Sabbath, Iommi seems reserved as if he was trying to be polite, or hold things back. The whole book seems to present Iommi as a person always in control, or on an "even keel". While there is Ozzy's version and Iommi's version, Iommi's always seems very tempered and even lacklustre.
The real upside to this book is the time frame of the mid eighties onward, when Sabbath was in constant transition. Vocalists and musicians were coming and going pretty much every year. It can sometimes get confusing, but for the most part it does show Sabbath fans, or even curious individuals, what happened. Overall it is a good book, but as noted, the flaw with Iommi's story telling, makes you wonder if the truth lies between his version and the crazy ones presented by Ozzy Osbourne.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars June 29 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
good book
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4.0 out of 5 stars he really explains him shelf well June 6 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
the book gives you detailed accounts about this career from start to finish with black sabbath and even after
not alot on his personal life
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3.0 out of 5 stars Informative, but not a great read Jan. 13 2014
By Yves-Michel TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
I had high expectations for this one. I was looking for a more cerebral Bio than the one from Motley Crue or Iron Maiden.

Unfortunatly, this book is very chronological with a lot of "then after that" and not much insight or substance. Fans of the band or 80s headbangers probably sre aware of 60+ % of the stuff written onthose pages. It will bring back memories (his description of the YES/Black Sabbath tour is priceless), but not much more. THe writing style is dated. I could have lived without the countless swear words punctuating the book. It reads too much like an 80 S magazine like Circus or Hit Parader. THe sections about how they got their gold crosses or how he met Rick Wakeman cannot save the book.

Good, but not entertaining.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! Dec 13 2013
By leigh
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Tony Iommi book on his journey with Sabbath. Betting it's a great read. would use this seller again. bought as a gift
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