Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  958 ratings  ·  115 reviews
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 care...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 381 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Da Capo Press (first published January 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Iron Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Iron Man

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,919)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is a GREAT read. Ninety chapters in 366 pages means Iommi writes kind of like he plays; riff-based. And he riffs great. Short, punchy, page-turning awesomeness. You won't want to put this down if you are at all a fan. There's a thorough history of the genesis of the band from the earliest days when Iommi was in a blues band, his reluctance to join up with Ozzy at first, the story of how Iommi lost his fingertips in an industrial accident on the last day of his factory job. His inspiration t...more
David Raffin
I did not go into this with great expectations. When I tell you this book is good I should be clear that I'm saying “it's good” not “it's good because it defied my expectations.” I have read a few terrible books written by people in bands. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath is able to tell his story in a coherent and often amusing way. He manages to not come off unlikable even after setting drummer Bill Ward on fire several times, spray painting him gold so they had to call an ambulance, and dropping h...more
Presented with a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas 2011, for me it was a no brainer that I'd be spending part of it on a book I'd been holding off on purchasing: "Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath," the recently released autobiography by Sabbath founder, guitarist and main man, Tony Iommi.

Unlike "No Regtets: A Rock and Roll Memoir," the (also) recently released Ace Frehley autobiography, "Iron Man" comes to life as you read actually hear Iommi's voic...more
Tony Iommi would probably say I gave him a little too much stick in my review of For The Record 2: Black Sabbath. He’d be correct, too. I could blame Ozzy for the weird animosity I’ve developed toward Iommi over the years. This is with Iommi being one of my very favorite guitarists and a guitarist who’s had an influence on my playing and songwriting.

I remember having this Ozzy home video (that’s VHS, kids) called Don’t Blame Me. I used to work at this recording studio in Spokane, Washington and...more
One of the better rock biographies I've read. Not just drugs and women, but quite a lot about the writing of the music and the various personages who have been associated with Black Sabbath over the years. A solid read, if not the most exciting rock biography I've ever read.
So, you've been playing guitar for some three years and you're really into it. One day you go to work at the sheet metal factory where you work. This is, incidentally, your last day on the job. You're 17, and you don't really have any plans for the future: you're kind of hoping maybe all this guitar playing pays off somehow in the end.

Then you have an accident. A momentary lapse of concentration and somehow you bungle up something, and you lose the tips of your middle and ring finger of your rig...more
Dr. Detroit
For most of junior high and high school, Hoss’s house on Sherwood Court was party central on the weekends since his widowed mother was seldom home, either at work, out on dates, or babysitting bar stools somewhere. Hoss was a good seven months older than the rest of us and able to legally purchase beer, wine, and liquor while we were all still in 11th grade. That’s called a “bonus.” Of course we all took full advantage of the situation, paying absolutely no heed to those drugs-will-fry-your-brai...more
Lizzie Leggs
Errrr. Never really a metalhead, left that to my cousin in the next village who consequently damaged his hearing big time in the 80s and is now the probably the only plumber in Derby who unblocks pipes while listening to Classic FM at the lowest possible volume. My bro and I were of the punk/new wave/indie tribe... so spandex always was the road not taken. However, I heard Tone speaking with wry intelligence, and for me, rock biographies posit the ultimate escapist read, plus there are many mome...more
As a fan of Black Sabbath I thought I'd pick up this autobiography of the man who created their revolutionary sound. Being new to the rockstar genre of life-stories I didn't really know what to expect but first things first, this book is written for the very simple. There's no other way round it! Not to cast aspersions on the average Black Sabbath listener but the turn of phrase and general flow is very child-like.

That said, the content wasn't quite as raucous or inspiring as I had thought eithe...more
A better editor would have improved this book tremendously. I appreciate trying to capture Iommi's voice in print, but at times it's a sloppy read. It's about 100 pages too long and quite repetitive in the last half: snort coke, write a new album, go on tour, buy a Rolls-Royce, and complain about the band's management. It's interesting at first, but loses its steam at the midway point. For diehard Black Sabbath fans only.
Jerry Lannon
Well-written account from Sabbath's lead guitar player. Great insight into the band's history and Tony's experiences. Makes you feel like you're "one of the blokes"
You've got to hand it to Tony Iommi - a career as a guitarist that wasn't stopped by losing the tips off two fingers, a walloping amount of coke or spending so much time with Ozzy Osbourne.
Sadly, what should be a roller coaster of a life just comes across as stuff that kinda happened. Almost as if he's not bothered by it.
Part of it is the tone. Iommi, a fantastic guitar player - make no mistake, is no orator. He's a laid back guy with a slightly monotone voice. Sadly, a voice that is captured pe...more
Gregg Akkerman
Having previously read Ozzy Osbourne's autobiography, I was considerably intrigued to see what the driving force behind all incarnations of Black Sabbath would have to say about many of the same events. Frankly, I was impressed at how often the two band members were in near agreement on the various scenarios of cocaine-laced pranks they played upon their long-suffering drummer, Bill Ward. No wonder it is often Ward who is the last one willing to sign on for the intermittent Sabbath reunions. The...more
Mike O'neill
If you are a fan of Tony Iommi or Black Sabbath I would highly recommend this book. Although it was mostly a story of the band itself, Tony also tells you a little bit about his life, including his troubled childhood, failed marriages, and the battle for custody over his daughter, and lastly his continuing battle with lymphoma. Most of this book left me in stitches while imagining the wild antics that included Ozzy Osbourne. However, this book does reach a dry spell and becomes boring to read. B...more
A fairly perfunctory rock bio. I was amused by how Tony downplays his prodigious cocaine abuse, but then goes on in detail about various paranoid delusions without ever putting 2+2 together (if you're running around your lawn in your underwear at 4am waving a gun and looking for unseen intruders, you should probably cut back on the blow).
Steve Szczepanik
I had the distinct impression (and reminder because I have only read it so many years/decade ago) of the book "Kender Gnomes and Gully Dwarves."
Let me explain.

In this abstract association after reading these two books, is that Mr. Ozzy Osbourne is similar to a kender, Mr. Tony Iommi and Mr. Geezer Butler are both the gnomes (with their tinkering of their mechanical creative minds), and Mr. Bill Ward is the GULLY DWARF! HA HA HA HA LMAO! Poor Bill....Kudos to Mr. Iommi for his tenacity and his de...more
Apr 06, 2014 Sam added it
Due to the subject matter and the writing style this one is probably for Sabbath fans only. But if you love his music and you love reading about the crazy lives of rock stars you'll love this book. One interesting thing is that Tony's version of how they chose their name is different from the account I've read elsewhere. Another fun aspect is Tony's British way of saying certain things. He has a different way of using the F word that I hadn't heard before. Stay away if you don't want a lot of th...more
Tim Wiebe
Quite repetitive. As another reviewer has said, suffers from poor editing. On the other hand gives a very clear picture of the genre of music that I grew up with. From uncertainty to whether the music was "devil music" or not, to burning album after album due to its negative influence, to now looking to repopulate some of my music library with songs from the time, I've come to better understand the misinterpretation and misunderstandings that still rattle the heavy metal genre. I can't help but...more
A good one, but somehow I expected more. "I am Ozzy" is much more rounded and, lets say, human. This one tends to slip into "then we got this guy and that and recorded and toured" kind of chronicles which tends to be hard to read. Throughout the book, I got a nagging feeling that there is a lot untold. People just disappear from the story, there are hints at hard feelings but not a word on how they developed. Maybe it is too much to expect, but I'd have loved more details. On the people around h...more
Although it was clear from the outset that this was done by a ghostwriter (as evidenced by it mentioning on the front cover itself ;P), you could feel Tony Iommi's soul throughout.

The whole thing is quite linear and it's split into a whole load of small chapters which briefly document what went on with some interesting anecdotes in for good measure here and there. It's a different style of reading to any other autobiography that I've ever read but it kind of makes sense in this context. Given th...more
Sep 21, 2013 StormyWitch rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Black Sabbath, Heavy Metal in general
Shelves: music-biography
Tony Iommi, Gründergitarrist der englischen Band Black Sabbath und somit Ur-Erfinder des Heavy Metal, erzählt seine Lebensgeschichte. Alles beginnt ganz harmlos in einem abgehalfterten Viertel der Stadt Birmingham. Dann taucht ein Junge namens Ozzy Osbourne auf. Den Rest kann man sich ungefähr vorstellen.

Ich hatte gemischte Gefühle beim Lesesn dieses Buches. Erst einmal ist es nicht sonderlich gut geschrieben, es wird alles ein bisschen herunter geleiert. Aber man erhält viele Einblicke in das M...more
Over the years, much has been said (and not said) about the turbulent history of Black Sabbath. Many people told their stories, yet, until now, the one man who has lead the band since its beginning has been quiet. As a long time fan, I was excited to read about Iommi's life, and discover unknown information about the band's transitions and evolution. Unfortunately, it seems that Iommi has taken everything in such stride, that he gives a relatively passive view on his own story. The book is writt...more
I've been a Black Sabbath fan since I can remember, joining in at the height of the Dio years. Tony was my idol growing up, and so when I saw he had an autobiography I was excited. I've read a lot about him, but hardly anything from the man himself. Now I would get the inside scoop!

Well, yes and no. Tony's book documents his growing up, the formation of his early bands (The Rockin' Chevrolets!) and the genesis of Black Sabbath. Fully half the book covers his childhood and the classic "Ozzy years...more
For me,the style in which Tony Iommi tells his story in this book(' told to TJ Lammers')is like a string of spoken accounts and anecdotes transferred directly to print.As such,this style is both the book's strength and its weakness.Its strength for the straightforward nature the text itself has and the fact that it comes across as very similar to Iommi in interviews I have seen on TV and heard on radio,giving a real feel of authenticity to it.Its weakness because there is little for anyone...more
The book begins as a "triumph over diversity story" when Tony cuts off the tips of two of his fingers in an industrial press. I wasn't expecting this, but it added a personal dimension to his story. He is not a god. Or infallible. I liked that he spoke about his shortcomings.

I enjoyed learning about the early days of Black Sabbath. After Dio leaves as their second lead singer things gets pretty convoluted as different musicians come in to and out of the band. Keeping up with the line ups was dif...more
Jeff McCormack
Biographies have never really been my reading preference in the past. I have always rather chosen to read books that would broaden my understanding, education, or worldview. However, a couple of years ago I read a biography of someone musical that I was a fan of more or less. At first I was thinking, why read this, it is about the life of someone else, and dealt with things that are not directly affecting me. However, I found it to be really enjoying. As a musician myself, and with so many years...more
Joshua Finnell
Library Journal Review:

Surprisingly, the man who invented the heavy-metal riff didn't do it out of creative inspiration but out of prosthetic necessity. Detailing the gruesome accident that resulted in the severing of two fingers on his left hand, Iommi opens his memoir with both graphic description and honesty. It was this event that shaped his style of guitar playing and the sound that was to define Black Sabbath. While much of his memoir details the trials and tribulations of Black Sabbath, I...more
Jen's Book Den
Tony Iommi is the lead guitarist for the band Black Sabbath. Considered by some to be the father of “heavy metal”, Black Sabbath has had an enormous influence on the music industry, giving birth to the genre of “heavy metal.” In his memoir, Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell With Black Sabbath, he recounts the events in his life that lead him to form the band, as well as tells of how certain events impacted and influenced his life.

From early points in his life, such as the domestic vio...more
Jun 24, 2012 james rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: music
(hopefully, favorite quotes to follow; though some things are an entire PAGE long).

i was fortunate enough to have the book signed by tony; an honor indeed. shortly after my book was signed, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. i wish this giant of metal, all the best. i pray for his full recovery.

should i repeat myself? i loved this book.
great stuff… about tony, about sabbath, about ozzy, etc.
there where times when i had tears rolling down my face with laughter. seriously/literally… lmFao!

O que eu mais gostei em Iron Man é a simplicidade do seu texto. Tony Iommi é um cara simples, muito pé no chão, que teve de batalhar muito para ser o que ele é hoje. Não, ele não é o tipo de cara que se acha importante por ter amigos famosos, ou por ser considerado "apenas" o pai do metal. Ele é um homem muito honesto, e expõe sua história de vida sem nenhuma firula (talvez do mesmo modo que compõe seus riffs).
Iron Man é um livro repleto de histórias interessantes, desde o tempo pré Black Sabbat...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 63 64 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Makeup to Breakup: My Life In and Out of Kiss
  • Run to the Hills: Iron Maiden, the Authorized Biography
  • Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir
  • Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict
  • No Regrets: A Rock'n'Roll Memoir
  • White Line Fever: The Autobiography
  • Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock
  • AC/DC: Maximum Rock & Roll: The Ultimate Story of the World's Greatest Rock-And-Roll Band
  • Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal
  • Far and Away: A Prize Every Time
  • Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett and the Dawn of Pink Floyd
  • Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith
  • Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin Uncensored
  • Heaven And Hell: My Life In The Eagles (1974 2001)
  • Eye Mind: Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators
  • My Appetite for Destruction: Sex, and Drugs, and Guns N' Roses
  • Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd
  • Light My Fire
Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi is an English guitarist and songwriter best known as the founding member of pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, and its sole continual member through multiple personnel changes.

Iommi is widely recognised as one of the most important and influential guitarists in heavy metal music. In 2004, Iommi was ranked number one on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarist...more
More about Tony Iommi...
Black Sabbath - Riff by Riff: Your Guide to the Guitar Style and Techniques of Black Sabbath Tony Iommi [With Lesson Book] Black Sabbath - Anthology

Share This Book