Is there a more important guitar riff in the history of heavy metal than the main riff from “Iron Man?” If there is, I certainly can’t think of it.
There’s also probably not a metal riff that’s more recognizable among people who are not fans of the music. Hum those first notes – duuum-duuum-dum-dum-dum – just about anywhere, and I’ll bet there’s someone standing around who can finish it.
Admittedly, over the years, the song has become so pervasive that I’ve often gotten tired of hearing it. I even once included it on a list of songs that I need a break from. Despite that, though, you still have to admit that it’s a near-perfect metal tune – a huge, crushing riff from Iommi, ominous science fiction-inspired lyrics about a doomed time traveler, what more could you ask for?