Tony Iommi Owes Black Sabbath’s Success To His Brief Tenure With Jethro Tull

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Rock music fans cannot imagine Black Sabbath without Tony Iommi, as the lead guitarist has worked with the band for more than four decades. As a matter of fact, their fans never saw the band with another guitarist, unlike many other bands who replace their guitar players from time to time. In addition to these, Iommi was the co-founder, primary composer, and leader of the band.

However, there was one time when the Black Sabbath icon could’ve been the guitarist of another band. Although it’s unimaginable, Iommi actually had a tenure with one of the most eccentric progressive rock bands of all time, Jethro Tull. The timing of the stint was also dangerous as it happened right after Black Sabbath was first formed. Curious? Let’s take a look.

Tony Iommi Had A Brief Tenure With Jethro Tull

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Before conquering the entire world as Black Sabbath’s legendary guitarist, Tony Iommi played in several blues and rock bands during his early career. One of these bands was Jethro Tull as the rocker joined them right after Black Sabbath was formed under the name, ‘Earth.’

When Earth, future Black Sabbath, was founded in September 1968 by Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and Ozzy Osbourne, the lead guitarist briefly departed from the band in the same month. Surprisingly, he left to join Jethro Tull, and Iommi performed with them only two times, one being an appearance on ‘The Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus.’

Despite performing with the band, the Black Sabbath icon did not record any material with Jethro Tull and eventually rejoined ‘Earth’ in November 1968. During his time with Tull, Iommi learned how the band achieved success and decided to apply their methods to Black Sabbath.

Apparently, Jethro Tull made sure that they had a schedule throughout the day to keep things in place and ensure they are doing everything that needs to be done. Realizing that starting the day early to keep things in order worked for them, Tony Iommi began to get up early every morning and drove the van to pick up his band members.

According to Guitar World, Iommi said:

“I learned quite a lot from him, I must say. I learned that you have got to work at it. You have to rehearse. When I came back and I got the band (Earth) back together, I made sure that everybody was up early in the morning and rehearsing. I used to go and pick them up. I was the only one at the time that could drive. I used to have to drive the bloody van and get them up at quarter to nine every morning; which was, believe me, early for us then.

I said to them, ‘This is how we have got to do it because this is how Jethro Tull did it.’ They had a schedule and they knew that they were going to work from this time till that time. I tried that with our band, and we got into doing it. It worked. Instead of just strolling in at any hour, it made it more like we were saying, ‘Let’s do it!'”

Although his tenure with the band lasted less than a month, the Black Sabbath guitarist learned a lot about work ethic from Jethro Tull. In addition to that, now fans get to see him perform with another legendary band, which clearly brought out a different side of Iommi.

You can watch Tony Iommi’s performance with Jethro Tull below.