The only person in the world who could rock a sweater vest with a print of a man with a top hat and monocle and still look as cool as fuck, Mr. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath.
Now before anyone out there thinks for one second that I’m in any way slagging the heavy metal messiah of Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi, you’d be wrong. Only a fool would have anything but praise for a man who, after losing the tips of his middle and ring fingers on his right hand in an accident when he was seventeen, pressed on to become one of the most influential guitarists in the history. Couple that indisputable fact with the ass-kicking Iommi gave to The Big C—cancer—when it came calling, and you have Tony motherfucking Iommi—metal guitar god.
If you read Dangerous Minds on a regular basis, you probably already know that I’m a Black Sabbath super fan. Thanks to my folks, I played Sabbath’s second album, 1970’s Paranoid forwards and backwards (for those backmasked Satanic subliminal messages) until it would play no more. I look to that record as the reason for my delightful, nearly lifelong obsession with the band. As I’ve said in the past, any day that I get to write about Black Sabbath and get paid for it, is the best day ever. And today is another one of those great days!
Tony Iommi has always been about as metal as they come, and that’s especially true when you consider the look Iommi cultivated over the decades with Black Sabbath. You know, the leather biker jackets with fringe, the satin shirts, the gigantic cross necklaces and the ever present manly display of chest hair. And let’s not forget Iommi’s sweet patchwork jacket (which Iommi wore a lot during the Sabbath’s early days and which is currently on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in Berlin). That one garment could very well be responsible for the birth of the heavy metal fashion staple, the battle jacket.
As I often feel the need to scratch my nostalgic itches, I decided to flip through the Internet looking at photos from the band’s early days when I noticed that there seemed to be quite a few pictures of Iommi wearing of all things, sweaters. It didn’t take long for me to find quite a few images of Iommi rocking everything from a sweater vest to large-collared zip-up knitwear and even a turtleneck, which I found totally amusing given the fact that the look somewhat transforms Iommi into a mustachioed male model as featured in the pages of a vintage 70s Sears catalog. As you’re looking at the photos that follow, you’ll probably notice that Sabbath’s bassist, Geezer Butler was also a fan of quality 70s knitwear.
I’ve also included few images that postdate the fantastic 70s that I had to include because, well, sweaters.
Ian Gillan era Sabbath, mid-80s.
Tony Iommi posing in a sweater holding his Hamer Phantom Custom synthesiser guitar early to mid 1990s.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Did Black Sabbath lift the opening riff from ‘Paranoid’?