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“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” ~ General Douglas MacArthur

In honor of Veterans Day I am serving up songs with war-related themes.

“War Pigs” by Black Sabbath, is the opening track from their 1970 album Paranoid. The original title was “Walpurgis”, dealing with the witches’ sabbath, which is sort of like Christmas for Satanists. “To me, war was the big Satan”, said bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler. “It wasn’t about politics or government or anything. It was about evil. But when we brought it to the record company, they thought it sounded too Satanic. And that’s when we turned it into ‘War Pigs’. But we didn’t change the lyrics, because they were already finished.” Prior to its official release, the band often altered the lyrics significantly when performing it live. An example of this can be found on Ozzy’s compilation album The Ozzman Cometh, which features an early version recorded by Black Sabbath for BBC Radio 1 on 26 April 1970. While Geezer has said that “War Pigs” is “totally against the Vietnam War, Ozzy has stated that at the time the group really “knew nothing about Vietnam. It’s just an anti-war song.” And now it is considered to be one of Sabbath’s classic compositions!

“Masters of War” is the title track from the album of the same name released by Mountain in 2007. The album consists entirely of Bob Dylan covers. Dylan’s lyrics for “Masters of War” were written as a protest against the Cold War nuclear arms build-up of the early 1960s. The cover by Mountain features guest vocals by Ozzy. He and Mountain frontman Leslie West are long-time friends. Leslie played the guitar solo on Ozzy’s cover of the Mountain classic, Mississippi Queen for his 2005 Under Cover album and Ozzy once stated that Leslie was the first to teach him how to do cocaine properly! Zakk Wylde has often cited Leslie as one of his guitar heroes. Tonight it’s all about real American heroes, our Armed Forces.

Sadly, there can be no peace without war. And there will always be war and casualties of it.

“Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom and democracy is the very foundation of Veterans Day.” ~ Charles B. Rangel

“For those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we are grateful that such men and women were among us. For those who continue to serve, we honor their commitment. And for those who return to civilian life, we honor their service.” ~ Steve Buyer

Thank you again veterans for your selfless service! I salute you. ~ Oz

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