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Best Black Sabbath Album – Readers Poll

Jorgen Angel, Getty Images

Without Black Sabbath, there would’ve been no heavy metal — and without Tony Iommi, there would’ve been no Black Sabbath. His musical style, vision and sonic force helped to create an entire musical genre.

Iommi was born on Feb. 19th, 1948 in Birmingham, England. At age 17, he suffered an accident at work in a sheet metal factory where he lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his right hand. It could’ve been the end of his days as a guitarist, but inspired by a story about jazz guitar great Django Reinhardt — who also lost the use of two fingers in an accident — Iommi crafted a couple of “fake fingertips” out of melted plastic, opted for lighter gauge guitar strings, and the rest, as they say, is history.

When Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut album on Feb. 13, 1970, it confused critics but delighted fans worldwide. With each subsequent album, their legend and power grew, and their dark, foreboding sound was always balanced with Iommi’s melody and mood.

So on this, Mr. Iommi’s 64th birthday, we wish him the happiest of days as well as a triumphant victory in his battle with cancer. We ask you to do the same, and we also ask you to pick your favorite Sabbath album. Will it be an early classic like ‘Paranoid’ or ‘Sabotage,’ or perhaps the powerhouse of ‘Heaven And Hell’? Whatever your choice, rest assured it’s got Tony Iommi’s fingerprints all over it.

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