Thursday, August 25, 2016


Armenia Turns To Metal Legend For Eurovision Song

Legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi
Legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi
He’s a renowned riff merchant, whose driving power chords were the force behind classic 1970s hard rock tunes such as “Paranoid” and “War Pigs.”

Now, influential Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has shocked many heavy metal fans by penning this year’s Eurovision song entry for Armenia.

Taking part in Europe’s annual "kitschfest," which is more famous for crazy costumes and nutty performers than it is for its music, is certainly an unexpected move for the man the rock 'n' roll magazine “Rolling Stone” once ranked as the 25th greatest guitarist of all time. (He himself has described his Eurovision entry as a “new experience.”)

Iommi’s involvement in the contest actually stems from his charity work in Armenia.

He was one of several musicians who helped raise funds after a huge earthquake near the city of Gyumri in 1988, which left tens of thousands of people homeless and killed at least 25,000.

The guitarist subsequently visited Armenia in 2009 when he was given the country’s order of honor and he also became involved in rebuilding a music school there.

This gave Armenia’s Eurovision representatives an opportunity to ask him if he would be interested in writing a song for them.

"I first said, 'Oh God, I don't know' -- it seemed really strange, me doing a Eurovision song, I don't usually do that," he told the BBC earlier this month. "But I said, 'I've got a rock ballad, I'll send it over.'"

After that, it seems one thing led to another and Iommi’s “Lonely Planet” is now set to be performed by Armenian band Dorians in the Eurovision semifinals on 16 May in Sweden.

Although it’s a far cry from the likes of “Iron Man,” Iommi says he’s “really pleased how it’s turned out” despite the fact that he expects it to be “slagged [off].”

It’s been a busy time of late for the legendary guitarist, who recently underwent treatment for cancer.

Besides taking time out to write Eurovision entries, Iommi has been working in the studio with original Black Sabbath members Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler.

The band is scheduled to release its first new album in 33 years later this year.

WATCH: Dorians perform Armenia's Eurovision entry "Lonely Planet."

-- Coilin O'Connor
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
March 28, 2013 21:33
Well,heavy metal this aint ,it can hardly be classified as hard rock either,but 2 thumbs up for Iommi and Gillan for their charity work!!!

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 31, 2013 17:21
Oh, "finally" the Eurovision contest is back - and the RFE/RL is luckily getting back one "topic" with which to divert our attention from the fact that in EU member states (such as Cyprus) the Germans are already openly stealing people's money directly from those people's bank accounts and from the fact that the glorious city of LA (good morning, Konstantin :-) is preparing to get nuked by the DPRK intercontinental ballistic missile forces.
Ok, good, guys, please tell us more about this exciting Eurovision contest! Last year the "big topic" were the grannies from Russia - what is it going to be this year?? Everyone whose money have not been stolen by the Germans YET are really curious :-)).
In Response

by: Jonathan Abramowitz from: San Francisco, CA
April 01, 2013 22:29
This "Eugenio" character is pathetic. Whatever happened to Jack from US? I miss Jack from US. The Eugenio replacement is weak sauce. Ok everyone, chillax and stay cool. Love, Jonnie.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 02, 2013 13:14
Aha, here is one of the last comments from what used to be known as the city of San Francisco and in the near future will be known as another Hiroshima - after Kim Jong Un will have raised this cloaca from the surface of the earth with this intercontinental ballistic missiles :-)).

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

Most Popular

Editor's Picks