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Black Sabbath, Meet Eurovision!

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AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Black Sabbath: The creators of doom-laden, scary, dark heavy metal. Eurovision: The relentlessly cheery international song contest. Normally it would be unlikely that anyone would mention them in the same sentence. Or even in the same day. Until now.

Sabbath’s guitarist and leader Tony Iommi just posted a rather surprising note to his website, starting with something of an understatement: “Well here’s something different…”  He went on to say, “One of my demo ideas has been chosen as the Armenian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest!” Iommi composed the music and a band called Dorians wrote the lyrics to the song “Lonely Planet.”

The guitar legend has been involved with various Armenian charities: Iommi and Deep Purple‘s Ian Gillan visited the country after a major earthquake in 1988, and were involved with recovery efforts back then, raising funds via an all-star re-recording of “Smoke On The Water.” More recently, the duo have contributed time and money towards building a music school in Gyumri, Armenia; they recored two new songs released last year under the name WhoCares to raise funds towards that effort.

Gillan told Radio.com that on a flight home from a recent visit to Armenia, he and Iommi  “decided to write a couple of songs, not really knowing what we were going to do with them apart from hopefully raise some money for the music school in Gyumri that we – and others – planned to build.” Gillen added: “The existing school was barely standing. After my first visit there not long after the devastating earthquake that killed 25,000 and made ten times that number homeless, there was no music anywhere, churches, schools, radio, even the birds were silent.” “The school is coming along fine, they’ve got the furniture sorted and it will be opened late summer,” Iommi reports on his website.

As for Iommi’s “Lonely Planet,” the song will be performed at the Eurovision semi-final on May 16 in Malmo, Sweden. For those unfamiliar with the contest: Eurovision is one of the most watched television events in the world. First broadcast in 1956, notable entrants include ABBA, Olivia Newton-John, Celine Dion and Julio Iglesias.  The format is simple: countries submit songs which are performed live on television across Europe and citizens of participating countries vote for a winner.  The annual event is held in the country of the prior year’s winner.

– Brian Ives, Radio.com/Andrew Lindenauer, CBS Local

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