Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

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Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Saul » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:24 am

Tony Iommi.png
Metal Hammer magazine recently ran a poll on what was the greatest riff of all time and turns out Tony Iommi hit the top spot with his riff "Symptom Of The Universe ".

Metal Hammer asked some of metal’s most proficient players to name their top 50 favourite riffs of all time.

Zeal & Ardor’s Manuel Gagneux says: “Symptom Of The Universe further cements Tony Iommi as a riff machine! The palm-muted opening notes get their unmistakable sheen from the thin strings he uses.

“This song debuted elements that are still echoed throughout the heavy music landscape.”

Although not technically an electric guitarist myself I have always been a fan of Tony Iommi's playing style but was not aware that he was as influential as he turns out to be.

I'll leave it to others to comment on whether the "Symptom Of The Universe" riff is actually deserving of the number one spot?

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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Buzzard » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:17 am

All respect to Tony, he deserves that.



I must admit that I prefer the riff from paranoid.

At the age of 17 Tony lost two of his fingertips in an accident on his last day of work,
but fought his way back, now that's admirable.

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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Saul » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:45 am

Ok well this is probably because I am heavily influenced by acoustic guitar but my favourite little riff was the jazz type thing he did on 'Planet Caravan'



Probably doesn't impress the shredders but I like it :)
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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Buzzard » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:14 am

I like Sabbath, but I'm not really a fan.

I admire Tony for fighting and sticking to his dream, he really is a great guitarist. ((i))
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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Saul » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:31 am

Same here really. I'm more a fan of Tony's playing than Black Sabbath as such.
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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by parametric » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:18 pm

Same here,

I was never really a Fan as such, but I kinda warmed to them (Regulars in here will know why :lol: )

Back in '75 I was lucky enough to sing on this track:





Including the English Chamber Choir on a track was really a leap into the unknown for them at that time, but

I think it works well (spookily), and Tony's Riff is extremely memorable . . . . .

Here's a peek at the score. The small notes at the start are Tony's lead-in . . . .

Supertzar score snippet.jpg



After a few "listens" - you're humming along to it - now THAT's the sign of a GOOD Riff :lol:

A few years ago we were asked to revisit it for the EmeraldSabbath project: http://emeraldsabbath.com/contributors/

- and we re-recorded it at Mark Knopfler's British Grove Studios . . . .

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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Derek » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:04 pm

Buzzard wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:14 am
I like Sabbath, but I'm not really a fan.

I admire Tony for fighting and sticking to his dream, he really is a great guitarist. ((i))
He was going to give up after the accident, but a friend of his introduced him to Django Reinhardt and the adversity that Django overcame (two paralysed fingers after a fire in his gypsy caravan) to become one of the most influential guitar players ever.

So Tony made two new finger tips out of plastic washing up liquid caps, detuned the strings to make it easier to play, and Heavy Metal was born....

Whilst it is a good riff, I personally would not say that a Sabbath Riff could be voted the greatest of all time (not in my book). Tony was great for the sabbath type end of the genre, but Angus/Maclolm Young and Joe Perry are streets ahead when it comes to catchy riffs. Think of “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith, and I rest my case :)

I am also probably a strange Sabbath fan in that I think their best album is ”Heaven and Hell” after they sacked Ozzie who’s drug habit was out of control at the time, and got Ronnie James Dio in. Much the same as I think Marillion were much better after Fish 8O That is not to say that I do not like Sabbath era Ozzie or Fish Era Marillion :)

BTW, if ever there is a underrated, underdog guitar player out there, it has to be Steve Rotherhy of Marillion. That man is a master of tone and melody.
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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Derek » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:12 pm

parametric wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:18 pm
Same here,

I was never really a Fan as such, but I kinda warmed to them (Regulars in here will know why :lol: )

Back in '75 I was lucky enough to sing on this track:





Including the English Chamber Choir on a track was really a leap into the unknown for them at that time, but

I think it works well (spookily), and Tony's Riff is extremely memorable . . . . .

Here's a peek at the score. The small notes at the start are Tony's lead-in . . . .


Supertzar score snippet.jpg


After a few "listens" - you're humming along to it - now THAT's the sign of a GOOD Riff :lol:

A few years ago we were asked to revisit it for the EmeraldSabbath project: http://emeraldsabbath.com/contributors/

- and we re-recorded it at Mark Knopfler's British Grove Studios . . . .

parametric
Just curious, Chris, is that 100% English Chamber Choir the start, or is there a bit of Mellotron choir in it as well (I am currently only listening on iPAD speakers, and it sounds very Mellotronish Male Voice choir until the higher singing comes in.
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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by parametric » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:24 am

Hi Derek,

Yes, it's all ECC.

The Basses are straight in on a low E, with Tony's Guitar (shown with smaller notes in the Tenor Part)

The Tenors then pick up on Tony's Riff and continue with it . . .

Two bars further on, the Girls come in (on the next page):

SuperTzar Page 1.jpg

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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Derek » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:38 am

Thanks for the confirmation. Obviously the Mellotron had recordings of real choirs and instruments .....
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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Saul » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:23 pm

I agree with you Derek, about how Tony Iommi's riff on "Symptom Of The Universe" could be voted the best of all time. That's quite a sweeping statement and often reminds me of all these competitions where someone is crowned "Best In The World' where what it means in reality is "Best out of all those who entered the competition".

There are just so many great guitar players out there both famous and not so famous. So many brilliant riffs so how can anyone definitively say there is just one that is THE BEST? I don't think it's at all possible and again it is only the opinion of the people Metal Hammer asked.

That is not to take anything away from Tony Iommi. He's certainly a fantastic guitarist and has been influential for so many taking up the guitar.
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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Derek » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:28 pm

I agree. He is a brilliant guitar player for the genre, but I could go for 1000s of riffs in my subjective opinion which would be my personal best of all time before I got around to Tony. :)
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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Yamaha Advocate » Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:29 am

I choose not to decide. And I'm not saying Free Will is my favorite riff.

Anyone ever hear about the riffs project that Tony Iommi and Brian May were supposed to release? Did that ever happen?
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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Saul » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:09 am

When it comes down to it this is all really personal preference. Thinking about it now the article in Metal Hammer was actually one of those things "journalists" create in order to pull in readers.

You can only make a judgement based on what you have heard. So what one person or even 50 people consider to be "the best riff of all time" is really pretty meaningless. They would needed to have heard EVERY riff ever created and even then it is the opinion of a VERY small number of guitarists.

I think it's what we call these days "Click Bait" ;)
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Re: Tony Iommi’s riff on Black Sabbath’s classic 1975 track is voted the greatest of all time?

Unread post by Cuthbert » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:37 pm

Derek wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:04 pm


I am also probably a strange Sabbath fan in that I think their best album is ”Heaven and Hell” after they sacked Ozzie who’s drug habit was out of control at the time, and got Ronnie James Dio in. Much the same as I think Marillion were much better after Fish 8O That is not to say that I do not like Sabbath era Ozzie or Fish Era Marillion :)

BTW, if ever there is a underrated, underdog guitar player out there, it has to be Steve Rotherhy of Marillion. That man is a master of tone and melody.
I missed this thread...strange as I am a great Sabbath fan.

I would also agree the best Sabbath was the Heaven and Hell and Mob rules era, even if I have to admit if I had to pick a riff from the Ozzy era sympton of the universe would be on my top list, as it represents the best of Iommi, like the use of tritone interval plus speed that he didn't have in the first albums plus a sophisticated arrangement (the acoustic coda rarely performed is beautiful).

One of the reasons why he's underrated I think it's because everybody associated him with the playing of the first two albums and simple riffs like Iron man, while later he matured significantly to the point that in the 80s he became a master of acoustic guitar (scarlet pimpernel) as well as a shredder (Born again is an album as extreme as Kill'em all IMO).

Unfortunately his last works after Ozzy is virtually ignored, even Tyr and Cross porpuses are very, very good albums.
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