Tony says he thought Sabbath were hard rock band until he returned from States to discover term had been invented

Tony Iommi

Proud: Iommi

Black Sabbath icon Tony Iommi says he was surprised when he first heard the band referred to as a heavy metal act – because he always thought they were a hard rock outfit.

But he’s proud of the label after having lived with it for 40 years.

Iommi tells the BBC: “I wasn’t familiar with the term for quite a few years. I always looked at what we did as heavy rock.

“It was first mentioned to me by a journalist from a well-known magazine. He said, ‘Oh, you play heavy metal.’ I said, ‘What? What’s that?’ He said, ‘Well, that’s what you play.’

“I’d been in America for quite a while and I’d never heard the term. But ever since that it’s been non-stop. I still think we’re heavy rock, but you are put in a bag. I’m quite proud of it now.”

Iommi has been involved in the creation of an exhibition in Birmingham Museum which celebrates the genre’s roots in the midlands area.

He says: “Since we’re so-called inventors of this music, it’s really great for Birmingham and it’s really great for us all.”

The Home of Metal exhibition runs until September 25.

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