Black Sabbath great Tony Iommi has been discussing just how his tastes in his young years shaped the Black Sabbath sound. As a band without any obvious forebears, Sabbath are often seen as unique. But of the time when he started playing guitar, Iommi has singled out UK instrumental quartet The Shadows as the only band he really liked. Iommi told Total Guitar:

“The Shadows were the only band that really appealed to me [in the early 60s]. There was rock’n’roll but I liked the idea of an instrumental band and they had a real sort of demonic sound in some ways - 'Frightened City' and stuff like that had an eerie feeling to it. I really liked what they were doing and they had a nice guitar sound for what they did.”

Black Sabbath

“So I really tried to get that and I did to a point. Bill [Ward] and myself, when we got together we were playing Shadows songs in the early band we were in, with Cliff Richard stuff and rock’n’roll. We wanted this more raw, basic sound, so I got into playing blues and jazz. And from that it went into what we are playing now.”

And, although we know this already, Iommi reiterated that he never saw Black Sabbath as the so-called first heavy metal band. “I never ever classed us as heavy metal in the early days. It’s just that I gave up in the end. Everyone said, ‘You’re heavy metal.’ ‘Okay, we’re heavy metal, call us what you want.’ It was always heavy rock to me."