CD Spotlight: Paranoid By Black Sabbath

Paranoid Black SabbathBlack Sabbath’s landmark self-titled debut album was released on Friday the 13th, February 1970. Undeniably, one of the most influential heavy metal albums of all-time, but Black Sabbath really became an international force when they released their groundbreaking 2nd album just four months later and embarked on their first U.S. tour. Released during the Vietnam War, the group wanted to shock the world and name their album “War Pigs” but their label, Warner Brothers, changed the title to the first single, “Paranoid”.

The eight song collection was from top to bottom, nothing but classic heavy metal anthems. AllMusic proclaimed Paranoid “defined the sound and style of heavy metal more than ANY OTHER RECORD in rock history.” Critics hated the record, parents denounced the band as Satanic, but the legacy has only grown exponentially over the past four decades. Let’s take a closer look at each of these monumental album tracks:

1. WAR PIGS – With a thundering evil Geezer Butler bass intro, Ozzy proclaims “Generals gathered in their masses, just like witches at black masses. Evil minds that plot destruction,sorcerer of death’s construction.” It’s an incredible timeless indictment of the warmonger mentality still permeating the world today.

2. PARANOID – Written by Tommy Iommi in just 5 minutes, the group finished the final version in 20 minutes. The band’s only Top 10 single in their career.

3. PLANET CARAVAN – Every band has to include a love song on their album. Black Sabbath didn’t comply but they  turned in a beautiful almost-instrumental jam about floating around in the universe. Pantera later did a faithful cover version that holds up well to the original.

4. IRON MAN – To conclude Side 1, you have arguably Ozzy’s signature song and the most recognizable song on Sabbath’s catalog. The original title was “Iron Bloke”.

5. ELECTRIC FUNERAL – Bill Ward’s drum solo here stands out here, but each group member gets a featured solo on the least known track on the album. Kerry King of Slayer called this a “monster riff that has stood the test of time.”

6. HAND OF DOOM – One of the most underrated songs on Black Sabbath’s entire career catalog. Dedicated to the drug addiction issues that soldiers were dealing with overseas, “Hand Of Doom” is actually an ANTI-DRUG message song that brilliantly changes tempo and attitude at least 5 times in this song! Check out Tommy Iommi’s incredible guitar solo that carries the back half of the song.

7. RAT SALAD – A two and a half minute jam session that was expanded to 45 minutes back in the band’s early club days.

8. FAERIES WEAR BOOTS – Ozzy conceived this one after observing some skinheads in a park. Dressed in black combat boots and thinking they ruled the world with their attitude, Ozzy and Geezer described them as “faeries”. The groove on this song is undeniably the funkiest song on the record and has become a concert staple.