Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi Writes Eurovision Song for Armenia

Guitarist pens rock ballad for annual international contest

Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath in Chicago, Illinois.
Barry Brecheisen/WireImage
March 6, 2013 4:20 PM ET

Tony Iommi will help bring the rock to this year's Eurovision Song Contest. The Black Sabbath guitarist has written the song that will serve as Armenia's entry in the annual competition. According to the BBC, "Lonely Planet" is a rock ballad and will be performed by the Armenian band Dorians.

Though he was reportedly skeptical when first contacted by Armenia's Eurovision representatives, Iommi has a history with the Eastern European country. After an earthquake ravaged the city of Spitak in 1988, leaving as many as 45,000 injured and 500,000 homeless, Iommi helped raise funds for their recovery, as well as visited Armenia a few years ago to check on the country's progress. He soon became involved in a campaign to raise money for a music school and teamed with Ian Gillan of Deep Purple to form WhoCares and release the benefit album Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi: WhoCares last year.

100 Greatest Artists: Black Sabbath

"I first said, 'Oh God, I don't know' - it seemed really strange, me doing a Eurovision song. I don't usually do that," said Iommi. "But I said, 'I've got a rock ballad; I'll send it over'. . . The thing is, I've always thought, 'Oh no, not the Eurovision,' and here I am in it now."

The semifinals of this year's Eurovision contest kicks off on May 14th in Malmö, Sweden. Iommi is currently planning a riffs-based album with Queen's Brian May and has been working with the reunited Black Sabbath on their new album, 13, their first with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978's Never Say Die! The latter is set for a June release.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »