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7th January 2017

tony iommi

Great news concerning Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi today. Tony revealed just before Christmas that after receiving the news in August that his cancer was is in remission, he would have to undergo surgery to remove what he said was "activity in the throat".

The Godfather of Heavy Metal has now successfully undergone an operation to remove what was a lump in his throat and he is cancer-free. Tony told Planet Rock:

"Well, I had the treatment when I got back from South America. I went in for the throat [operation]. They found a lump at the back of my sinus, in the throat, and we had to have it checked in case it may have been cancerous. But it turns out it wasn't, which I found out Christmas Day, which is brilliant. So far [I'm good]. I daren't say that. I'll probably fall down the stairs now. [Laughs]"

With Black Sabbath's The End tour set to conclude after the final UK leg finishes in February, Iommi admitted that his health troubles are part of the reason he's retiring from touring.

"I was knocked for six when the doctors told me that it was... that it was stage III cancer. It really did change my life as far as what I have to do now. I have to live what life I've got because I have been on the road nearly fifty years. I need to be at home more and I need to pay more attention to my friends and family."

Tony was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2012 and after a four-year battle, he revealed the disease was in remission, although he anticipated that it would reemerge.

"The surgeon told me he doesn't expect the cancer to go away. So, I look at life differently now. I could be here another ten years or just one year — I don't know."


2016 was a busy year for Black Sabbath with the founding fathers of Heavy Metal playing close to a hundred gigs on what they have dubbed 'The End', their final ever dates before they pack in touring for good.

After their splendid headline appearance at Download Festival in the pouring rain, Sabbath finished off their last ever European tour in mid-July and undertook their last ever US and South America tours which wrapped up on December 4th at Estadio Morumbi in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

That Sao Paulo date was thought to be the last ever Sabbath gig until it was announced that Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Tommy would be undertaking their last ever UK tour in January and February 2017 which consists of seven dates at high profile venues in Britain's biggest cities with the last ever Black Sabbath gig taking place in the band's home town of Birmingham on Saturday 4th February.

Tickets for Sabbath's last ever shows are available by clicking here.

Black Sabbath 2017 Last Ever Tour Dates:
January 22nd: Manchester Arena
January 24th: Glasgow – The SSE Hydro
January 26th: Leeds – First Direct Arena
January 29th: London – The O2
January 31st: London – The O2
February 2nd: Birmingham – Genting Arena
February 4th: Birmingham – Genting Arena

Our review of Black Sabbath's performance in the pouring June rain at Castle Donington is right here, along with video and photos and our review of a fabulous day out at the Laszlo Papp Sports Arena, Budapest, Hungary is right here.

And we will be at The Genting Arena for Sabbath's last ever gig in February of course to bring you a full report. In the meantime, here's a reminder of how good Sabbath were when they played London in 2013 right here.

From Thursday...


tony iommi

The riffmeister, the Godfather of Heavy Metal, the inventor of the music we love, Tony Iommi, has recorded a choral work with the Birmingham Cathedral choir and cellist George Shilling.

Premiering tonight, Thursday 5th January 2017, in front of a specially invited audience in the Cathedral in Tony's home town is the five minute long 'How Good It Is', inspired by Psalm 133.

Tony plays acoustic guitar in the track and you can get your first listen right here.

Tony said earlier today: "They're a fantastic choir but the guitar player's crap!

"It's a bit different to Sabbath!" says Tony, in probably the biggest understatement of all time. "We've done instrumental work before with orchestras and it's something I enjoy doing – but this is completely different.

"It’s something we have started from scratch, a completely new piece of music unlike anything I have done before."

And of course, the massive sense of irony that a guitarist once accused of espousing Black Magic should write for the church is not lost on Tony.

"People used to think we were Satanists but we weren't. The songs were the opposite – they were all about the dangers of Black Magic.

"The closest we came was Black Magic chocolates!"

tony iommi

Black Sabbath play their last-ever shows at Birmingham's Genting Arena on Thursday 2nd and Saturday 4th February and Tony says that 'How Good It Is' will be just the first of many new challenges he hopes to explore after the founding fathers of Heavy Metal pack up for good.

"I like new challenges," he says. "Things that are a bit out of the ordinary. Don't get me wrong, I have loved my time in Black Sabbath but the constant touring has worn me down. I want to work at home now – anything without all that travelling.

"I will still be making music, and I have a number of interesting offers and projects that I will look at in good time. I would like to do some film soundtrack work, maybe something else for TV and I would like to resume my mentoring work."

Tony worked with his friend, the Dean of Birmingham, the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, on the work which celebrates peace, harmony and the Cathedral's role in the heart of the city.

"We met through our mutual friend, Mike Olley," he says.

"He suggested that we should work on something for the choir together.

"Catherine and I gave it a lot of thought, then I recorded the tune on which the piece is based at my home recording studio. I sent it to Catherine, she liked it, and came up with the words, which are based on the Psalm.

"Then we recorded the choir inside the Cathedral, which has gorgeous acoustics.

"The whole process took around nine months because I was out on Black Sabbath's final tour and there were lots of things happening at the Cathedral, where work was being done.

"We called in cellist George Shilling, and invited him to work his magic, too, and we're all very happy with the finished result."

Whether Black Sabbath diehards are as happy remains to be seen.


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