Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has been named the greatest heavy metal guitarist of all time in a new survey posted by Gibson Guitars. According to Classic Rock, the list of the top 10 metal axemen also includes Metallica's James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, late Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads and others. Gibson said about Iommi, "Tony's dark, distinct guitar textures in Black Sabbath helped spearhead the heavy metal movement. 'Iron Man' and 'Paranoid' boast some of the most memorable riffs of all time, with crushingly heavy choruses. His playing is immortalized through the generations of bands that have followed."

Incredibly, Iommi had to re-learn how to play guitar as a teenager after severing two fingertips. He told us that he's always been determined to fight his way through anything: ["I've always been the same. I always have to try to get over that barrier, whatever it may be, and do it, you know. And that's continued in what I do with the music. People have said over the years, 'Well, why do you still keep playing and why do you still hold Black Sabbath together through the different lineups?' Because I'm determined to do it, I'm determined to carry on. And it's been with everything like that."] SOUNDCUE (:20 OC: . . . everything like that.)

Iommi was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, and his treatments forced Black Sabbath to cancel all but two tour dates after announcing their reunion last November.
The original band, minus drummer Bill Ward, has also been working on its first studio album since 1978.
Singer Ozzy Osbourne has collaborated with three of the guitarists on the list -- Iommi, Rhoads and Zakk Wylde.

1. Tony Iommi - Black Sabbath
2. Kirk Hammett & James Hetfield - Metallica
3. Randy Rhoads - Ozzy Osbourne band
4. John Petrucci - Dream Theater
5. Dimebag Darrell - Pantera
6. Eddie Van Halen - Van Halen
7. Zakk Wylde - Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society
8. Adam Jones - Tool
9. Dave Murray & Adrian Smith - Iron Maiden
10. George Lynch - Dokken, Lynch Mob

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