Grammy hon­our for Brum band with a very heavy heart

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Paul Cole

BIRM­ING­HAM rock leg­ends Black Sab­bath are to re­ceive a pres­ti­gious Life­time Achieve­ment tro­phy at The Grammy Awards.

It is recog­ni­tion that sees the band in an elite group that in­cludes the likes of Bing Crosby, Elvis Pres­ley and Chuck Berry.

Among other big names to have re­ceived the award in the past are Johnny Cash, Bob Mar­ley, Louis Arm­strong and Irv­ing Ber­lin.

“That’s great com­pany to be in,” said Sab­bath founder Tony Iommi. “There are some amaz­ing names there.

“The only con­cern I have is that all of them are dead, and we’re not quite there yet!”

He need not worry. There are plenty of other hon­orees who are alive and kick­ing, Paul McCart­ney, the Rolling Stones and Tina Turner among them.

An­nounc­ing the Sab­bath salute, Grammy or­gan­is­ers The Record Academy, said the in­flu­ence of the Birm­ing­ham fore­fa­thers of heavy metal was huge.

“Each year, the Record­ing Academy has the dis­tinct priv­i­lege of cel­e­brat­ing mu­sic in­dus­try giants who have greatly con­trib­uted to our cul­tural her­itage,” said Grammy pres­i­dent Neil Port­now.

“This year, we have a gifted and bril­liant group of hon­orees and their ex­cep­tional ac­com­plish­ments, con­tri­bu­tions and artistry will con­tinue to in­flu­ence and in­spire gen­er­a­tions to come.

“From their power riffs to their dark, gothic im­agery, Black Sab­bath ar­guably in­vented the heavy metal sign­posts, and in­flu­enced every heavy rock band that fol­lowed. They have made an out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the field of record­ing.”

Oth­ers to re­ceive the life­time award along­side Black Sab­bath on May 11 in Los An­ge­les will be Ge­orge Clin­ton and Par­lia­men­tFunkadelic, Sam and Dave, Dionne War­wick, Julio Igle­sias, Donny Hath­away and Billy Eck­s­tine.

It will be the third Grammy Award on the man­tel­piece for Iommi, 70. His band won the Grammy for Best Metal Per­for­mance with Iron Man in 1999, and again with God Is Dead in 2013. In to­tal, they have had five nom­i­na­tions dur­ing their ca­reer.

“Who would have thought, as a young kid walk­ing along the streets of Birm­ing­ham, that you would one day be men­tioned in the same breath as Chuck Berry and Elvis Pres­ley,” said the guitar hero. “I used to lis­ten to Chuck Berry a lot when I was a young­ster.

“I lis­tened to Elvis Pres­ley, too, but it was Chuck that I wanted to play like. Now, I think most peo­ple in the mu­sic busi­ness owe a lot to him.”

He added: “It’s been lots of hard work, too, mind. We’ve worked hard to achieve what we have. And although we stopped tour­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2017, we still seem to be getting awards – so we must have been do­ing some­thing right all this time.” Iommi is not look­ing for­ward, he ad­mits, to the flight to Cal­i­for­nia for the awards. The toll taken by non-stop trekking around the globe was one of the rea­sons Sab­bath called it a day as far as tour­ing was con­cerned, es­pe­cially given his bat­tle with lym­phoma. In fact, Iommi has just had to turn down an in­vi­ta­tion to visit Cal­i­for­nia in Jan­uary for a giant Gib­son guitar event, but says he won’t miss the Grammy pre­sen­ta­tion. Cur­rently he’s hard at work remix­ing Black Sab­bath’s For­bid­den al­bum, which orig­i­nally came out in 1995 to mixed re­views, and which the Ul­ti­mate Guitar web­site un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously brands the worst in the band’s back cat­a­logue. The line-up found Iommi with singer Tony Martin, drum­mer Cozy Pow­ell, bassist Neil Mur­ray and key­board­s­man Ge­off Ni­cholls, but none were present when the al­bum was pro­duced in the US, and they were all un­happy with the re­sult. “It wasn’t what we wanted,” he ad­mits. “And that has al­ways dis­ap­pointed me. Cozy and Ge­off are no longer with us, and I want to give them jus­tice by bring­ing the al­bum back to life, sound­ing as we orig­i­nally in­tended it to.”

> Black Sab­bath will join the likes of Elvis Pres­ley, Bing Crosby, and Chuck Berry, below, in re­ceiv­ing Life­time Achieve­ment Awards

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