Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath - Tony Iommi, T.J. Lammers (2011)

Chapter 10. How three angels saved heavy metal

After I passed my driving test I bought an MGB sports car. I was eighteen or nineteen, I was working and I paid so much towards it every week. My mother never wanted me to have it, because I was a bit frantic in that thing. And I actually had a serious accident in it.

Driving along a dual carriageway I overtook this other car. I looked over and it was a girl driving. And suddenly . . . bang! I’d driven over something and two tyres went and it pulled me straight off the road. I went flying over into some trees and saw the wings coming off the car as I was sitting there. As I remember it, it all happened in slow motion. It sounds mad, but I saw three figures come down, one to the left and two to the right, like angels. And I thought, this is it.

I hit a tree, the car flipped over and I was knocked out. When I came to, I smelled petrol and I thought, fuck, I hope it doesn’t blow up. It was a convertible and it had no roll bars. It was upside down, but I managed to get out because I had landed in soft earth. It was a big drop and I scrambled up to the road. I had concussion and I didn’t know what was going on. Some guy picked me up and apparently I was ranting to him: ‘Don’t tell my parents, don’t tell them!’

The next thing I knew my mum was screaming at me in my hospital bed: ‘You barmy bastard, fancy doing that. You should have never bought that car!’

Bloody hell.

Everybody who saw the car said: ‘You should have been killed.’ They brought the wreck to my house, on a trailer. Mum saw it and just burst out crying. Even the people who towed it said: ‘How the hell did you get out?’

I said: ‘I don’t know.’

I should have been killed, but all I had was concussion. I was bruised a bit, but nothing very serious.

Seeing those three figures, it was so vivid. It made me think, Christ, I’ve been saved here. And saved for a purpose: to do something. Someone once suggested it was to invent heavy metal. What a great purpose. The angels must have said to each other: ‘Oops, that went wrong!’

It took me a while to get back into a car after that. But I had to drive the band’s transit van, so I didn’t have all that much time to get over it. And I did have sports cars again later.

But I don’t look at women now when I overtake them.