On his very last day as a factory metal sheet worker, a seventeen-year-old Tommy Iommi had an accident which resulted in the teenager losing the top of his fingers on his right hand. A terrible injury to befall anyone but what made this affliction even more unfortunate was the fact that Iommi was a guitarist with ambitions of becoming a fully-fledged musician.
The doctor told the young man in no uncertain terms that his days of playing the guitar were over. But Iommi had other ideas. To overcome his disability, he constructed thimbles for his amputated digits made from melted down Fairy Liquid bottles. He also opted for looser banjo strings to aid his playing and started to incorporate his undamaged and underused little finger in his compositions.
The changes not only helped Iommi play the guitar again but also led to a style that gave his new band, Black Sabbath, a completely different sound to their contemporaries. The group are now widely regarded as the pioneers of heavy metal, influencing countless artists and selling over 70 million albums worldwide.
As I look back at some of the most successful people I’ve worked with, it’s not always the most naturally gifted that have gone on to fame and glory. It’s the ones who simply never gave up – or simply don’t know how to give up – who have risen to the top.
Given the current economic climate, our work will be beset with more setbacks, more doubters and a longer line of no’s than normal this year. So our attitude to protecting the work will be as important as the work itself. But persistence will pay off. Tenacity has an uncanny knack of always getting its way.
Paranoid by Black Sabbath