Black Sabbath are often cited as the pioneers of the heavy metal genre, with their eponymous debut introducing the world to alternate guitar tunings, thunderous drums, dark lyrics and a maniacal new singer named Ozzy. Interestingly, the reason for some of the unique twists to traditional rock that the group came up with were, it turns out, accidental art.
For example, the detuning and unique chord constructions that Sabbath founder and guitarist Tony Iommi (pictured below in 1970) introduced to the rock world. The real reason that Iommi detuned his guitar strings was to make the strings easier to bend.
This was important because, as a 17-year-old working in a sheet metal factory, he was the victim of an unfortunate accident in which he lost the tips of his right middle and ring fingers. As a left-handed guitarist this was, crucially, his fret hand and needless to say this was an extremely traumatic injury. After initially thinking his guitar playing days were over, he persevered and at first relearned to play by creating makeshift plastic finger tips (from an old Fairy brand liquid soap bottle no less) to re-extend his injured fingers.
The resulting lower register created by the detuned strings and the way he had to adapt his playing technique made for a very heavy sound. This was further augmented by bassist Geezer Butler's decision to similarly detune his instrument. Butler's grounding as a guitar player also had him playing more active bass lines and this combined with Iommi's adaptive creativity and the contributions of Bill Ward and Ozzy to conjure up the group's unique sonic signature.
Iommi's influence on rock and metal musicians is legendary. Queen's Brian May has referred to him as "the true father of heavy metal." Eddie Van Halen has said that "without Tony, heavy metal wouldn't exist. He is the creator of heavy!"(source: blabbermouth.net).
Metallica's James Hetfield has called him "The king of the heavy riff" (source: blabbermouth.net).
So with that mini-bio of the legendary heavy rock guitarist we're thrilled to announce a collection of three record awards previously owned by Iommi that are now up for sale here at MusicGoldmine.
These awards came to us courtesy of a person who worked for Iommi over the years who the famed guitarist kindly gifted them to. This person has also provided a letter of provenance, a copy of which will be included with the purchase of each of these three awards:
1971 RIAA* Gold Award for debut album Black Sabbath: First is a RIAA Gold LP "white matte" award for Sabbath's self-titled debut album presented to Tony Iommi (mispelled "Iammi") and signed by Iommi. Widely considered the first heavy metal album, it was released on February 13, 1970 and was certified Gold by the RIAA on June 14, 1971. In addition to its rarity as a white matte and its stellar presentation, this award also features a rare misspelling, which is made all the more interesting by the fact that the Sabbath guitarist himself signed the gold LP.
Rare as a white matte is, this one is clearly one-of-a-kind with its misspelling and autograph from the recipient himself. You can see more details on this award here.
1970s Phonogram UK Label Award for Paranoid: The second award is also signed by Iommi on the gold disc. It is a Phonograph UK record label award from the early 1970s recognizing more than 100,000 in sales of the group's second LP Paranoid.
With its gold frame, gold disc and purple matte, this is a regal Black Sabbath award you won't see again. See more details on this award here.
1972 Australian Label "Double Gold" Award to Black Sabbath for Paranoid: The final award in the trio is unsigned but is an equally rare Australian label award presented to the group. It celebrates "20,000 Australian" sales of this iconic album, which was a worldwide hit.
See more details about this Australian award, which is dated June 1972, here 7/31/20 UPDATE: This Australian award has been sold.
See all the pre-owned RIAA awards MusicGoldmine.com currently has for sale here or visit our home page for other memorabilia collections.
Interested in learning the top 10 highest prices attained by RIAA awards sold in the marketplace? See them in our article here.
*Note: The RIAA is a U.S. record industry trade organization that created the Gold® and Platinum® record award program. The awards recognize milestone sales levels for U.S. sales of recorded product.