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

Chapter 84. Entering the Halls of Fame

We were up for it probably seven or eight times, and on 13 March 2006 we were finally inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And a couple of months before that we’d already been inducted in the UK Music Hall of Fame.

When it rains, it pours.

We were inducted into the UK one in November 2005 at Alexandra Palace in north London. We played ‘Paranoid’ at that ceremony and that went great. Brian May inducted us. There was a bit of a commotion about that, because Sharon wanted Angus Young of AC/DC to do it. I wanted Brian. Then she wanted Angus and Brian to do it together, but Brian just didn’t want to do it that way. I’m glad he stuck to his guns. He wasn’t going to do it and I had to phone him up and said: ‘Please do it. Do it for me.’

He came and made a great speech, absolutely fantastic. I was really proud of him.

Ozzy was playing there as well with his band and Angus Young said about three words about that. Well, his first few words were: ‘Hello, can you hear me? Can you hear me?’ He’s probably as good a talker as I am on those bloody occasions.

We went into this TV station to do an interview right after the presentation, and the bloke said: ‘Last year we had Michael Jackson in here. He came in with his award and when he walked out again he forgot it. I’ve got it in my bathroom at home now.’

I said: ‘Oh, really? Fancy him doing that!’

And, blimey, if I didn’t do exactly the same thing. In fact, he probably had mine sitting in his bathroom for a while next to Michael Jackson’s. But I’ve got it back now, so everything is good.

When we collected our award for the American Hall of Fame, we stayed at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. The event was held in the hotel ballroom. It was great; you could just go downstairs, go to the presentation, collect your award and clear off. Well, supposedly, but you don’t do that, because from then on you go into the different TV stations that are hooked up at the back there to do interviews. In doing so I held on to my award like it was glued to me, because I didn’t want to lose it like I had at the UK Music Hall of Fame.

When we finally got it after all those years of being nominated, I was really pleased. Ozzy had said some stuff in the past, like: ‘I don’t give a fuck about being inducted.’

I thought it was a great honour and I am very proud of it.

They wanted us to play there, but there was some problem so Metallica played instead of us. They did ‘Hole In The Sky’ and ‘Iron Man’. They were really good and they inducted us as well, which was really nice of them. Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield said some wonderful things about us. They are genuine blokes and they do love what we’ve done. In fact, James came along to a few Heaven & Hell gigs later, so he’s a big fan. And in turn I think they are really good. I like them a lot.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a funny old do, really, because it gets a bit stuffy. Fortunately we could loosen up a bit with the guys we knew there. And, of course, I loosened up a lot later, when I sat in the bar with Geezer Butler until God knows what time. The next day I felt bloody awful.

When I left New York about four days after the event, I put my award in my hand baggage, just to make sure I didn’t lose it. It’s a big thing, maybe a foot long, and when I passed security at the airport they said: ‘You can’t take this through.’

‘What do you mean? It’s an award!’

‘I know, but you could use it as a weapon.’

I thought, oh no, it’s taken me thirty-eight bloody years to get it, and now they are going to confiscate it. But everything was sorted out and I managed to get it home safe and sound.