Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi has written a moving acoustic arrangement for Birmingham Cathedral in the U.K, saying he wanted to “give something back” to his home city.

Riff legend Iommi worked with his friend the Dean of Birmingham, the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, on the five-minute arrangement, which celebrates peace, harmony and the Cathedral’s role in the heart of the city. Called “How Good It Is”, the ‘hymn’ features the Black Sabbath star on acoustic guitar with lyrics inspired by Psalm 133 performed by men and boys from the Cathedral Choir.

Iommi, 68, is currently on The End world tour with Black Sabbath, and will be performing two last-ever gigs at Birmingham’s Genting Arena on February 2 and 4 2017.

“It’s great to be involved with the Cathedral and doing something for it,” Iommi said. “When Catherine mentioned it, it felt like a nice thing to do, to be able to give something to the city. It’s just a little bit different to Sabbath!”

Iommi has mentioned many times how he always wanted to record more acoustic music, even with Sabbath. “We’ve done instrumental work before with orchestras and it’s something I enjoy doing. It’s completely different from any of the heavier stuff. This is a completely new piece of music and I’m really pleased with it.”

Dean Ogle added, “Tony and I were introduced by a mutual friend and we discussed a possible music collaboration sometime in the future. Then, when Tony was unwell, we got to know one another better when I began to pray for him and kept in touch with Tony and his wife about his health. This is a most wonderful gift Tony offered to the Cathedral.

“Tony has a huge fan base in the city. The Cathedral is here to serve everyone so we want to connect with them too. The words come from scripture and are really positive about people living together in peace and harmony. This is what Birmingham is all about.”

Iommi adds that he always appreciates Sabbath’s legend status in their home city. “So much has changed,” he said. “The city is hard to recognise these days. There’s so much building work going on, it’s really great that the city is expanding and offering people more to do here. It’s different from my day. It’s great to know after all these years we’ve been recognised in our city. It’s something we’re really proud of.

“Fifty years ago we never would have thought that one day we would be honoured with things like the Broad Street stars and Ozzy’s Metro tram, it’s really great and makes us proud.”

Tony Iommi

Photos: Edwin Ellis Creative Media