Throughout the entire month of ‘Sabb’tember I will be serving up songs from significant releases by Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Dio, Black Label Society and others off the Sabbath Family Tree!
Paranoid is the second studio album by Black Sabbath that was released in September 1970. The album contains several of Sabbath’s signature songs, including “Iron Man”, “War Pigs” and the title track. It’s considered by many as a very influential album in the development of heavy metal music. Originally titled War Pigs, the record company changed it out of fear of a backlash from supporters of the ongoing Vietnam War. The band’s label also felt the title track was more marketable as a single. Ozzy said in a 1998 interview. “What the f*** does a bloke dressed as a pig with a sword in his hand got to do with being paranoid, I don’t know, but they decided to change the album title without changing the artwork!
Last December the band released the Paranoid: Super Deluxe Edition which included among other things a rare 1974 quad mix of the album folded down to stereo!
In 2013, Geezer Butler told Mojo magazine that the song “Paranoid” was “about depression, because he didn’t really know the difference between depression and paranoia. It’s a drug thing; when you’re smoking pot you get totally paranoid about people, and you can’t relate. There’s that crossover between the paranoia you get and the depression afterwards.” A lot of the “Paranoid” album was written around the same time as Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut. They supposedly recorded the whole thing in about 2 or 3 days, live in the studio. And the song “Paranoid” itself was written as an afterthought. The band needed a 3 minute filler for the album, and Tony Iommi came up with the riff. Geezer quickly did the lyrics, and Ozzy was literally reading them as he was singing. And the rest as they say was hard rock and heavy metal history!
The song “Iron Man” was originally titled “Iron Bloke”. Upon hearing the main guitar riff for the first time, Ozzy remarked that it sounded “like a big iron bloke walking about”. Bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler composed the lyrics. He wrote a story about a man who time travels into the future and sees the apocalypse. In the process of returning to the present, he is turned into steel by a magnetic field. Rendered mute, unable to verbally warn people of the impending destruction. His attempts to communicate are ignored and mocked. This causes Iron Man to become angry and have his revenge on mankind, causing the destruction that was seen in his vision. (Deep stuff)
Again, many rock critics have cited Paranoid as “one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time”, which “defined the sound and style of heavy metal more than any other record in rock history”. Blender said it was “the greatest metal album of all time”. And nearly every heavy-metal and extreme rock band of the last three decades, owes a debt of gratitude to Iommi’s “crushing” guitar riffs! In 2017, Rolling Stone magazine voted it the greatest metal album ever! And to me if you had to choose on Sabbath album out of their entire catalog this in my opinion is the one that matters the most!