Paranoid (album)

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Paranoid
A blurred photograph of a man wearing a helmet and sash and brandishing a sword with the title of the album and artist written in the background
Studio album by Black Sabbath
Released

(UK & EUR) 18 September 1970 (1970-09-18)

(US) 1 January 1971 (1971-01-01)
Recorded 16–21 June 1970 at Regent Sound Studios and Island Studios, London
Genre Heavy metal
Length 42:07
Label Vertigo
Producer Rodger Bain
Black Sabbath chronology
Black Sabbath
(1970)
Paranoid
(1970)
Master of Reality
(1971)
Singles from Paranoid
  1. "Paranoid" / "The Wizard"
    Released: August 1970 (1970-08)
  2. "Iron Man" / "Electric Funeral[1]"
    Released: October 1971 (US only)

Paranoid is the second studio album by the English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Released in September 1970, it was the band's only album to top the UK Albums Chart until the release of 13 in 2013. Paranoid contains several of the band's best-known signature songs, including "Iron Man", "War Pigs", and the title track. The album has sold over 12 million copies worldwide.

About[edit]

To capitalise on the chart success of their debut album in the US, the band returned to the studio in June 1970, just four months after Black Sabbath was released. The new album was initially set to be titled War Pigs, which was critical of the Vietnam War; however, Warner changed the title of the album to Paranoid when what would become the album's lead-off single, "Paranoid", was written in the studio at the last minute. As Bill Ward explains: "We didn't have enough songs for the album, and Tony just played the (Paranoid) guitar lick and that was it. It took twenty, twenty-five minutes from top to bottom."[2] The single was released in September 1970 and reached number four on the UK charts, remaining Black Sabbath's only top ten hit.[3] The album followed in the UK in October 1970, where, pushed by the success of the "Paranoid" single, it made number one in the charts.

The US release was held until January 1971, as the Black Sabbath album was still on the charts at the time of Paranoid's UK release. The album reached No. 12 in the US in March 1971,[4] and would go on to sell four million copies in the US,[5] with virtually no radio airplay.[3] Like Black Sabbath, the album was panned by rock critics of the era, but modern-day reviewers such as Allmusic's Steve Huey cite 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".[6] The album is currently ranked at No. 131 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Paranoid's chart success allowed the band to tour the US for the first time in October 1970, which spawned the release of the album's second single "Iron Man". Although the single failed to reach the top 40, "Iron Man" remains one of Black Sabbath's most popular songs, as well as the band's highest charting US single.[7] Paranoid is Black Sabbath's best selling album, selling over 4 million copies in the U.S by 1995 and over 1.6 million copies in America since the beginning of the SoundScan era by 2011.[8]

Background and recording[edit]

After the release of their debut album in February 1970, Black Sabbath returned to the studio in June that year, again with producer Rodger Bain, to record their second album. The album was recorded at Regent Sound Studios and Island Studios in London, England. The album's eponymous single "Paranoid" was written in the studio at the last minute to fulfill the record label's request for a single.[citation needed]

The album was originally intended to be called Warpiggers which was a slang term for a black magic wedding.[9] It was then shortened to War Pigs and eventually Paranoid after the record company became convinced that the song of the same name had potential as a single.[9] As drummer Bill Ward explains: "We didn't have enough songs for the album, and Tony just played the "Paranoid" guitar lick and that was it. It took twenty, twenty-five minutes from top to bottom."[2] The record company thought the album would fare better commercially if it were named after the first single.[9]

The song "Iron Man" was originally entitled "Iron Bloke". Upon hearing the main guitar riff for the first time, Ozzy Osbourne remarked that it sounded "like a big iron bloke walking around". The title was later changed to "Iron Man" as bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler composed the lyrics.[10]

Album title and artwork[edit]

The album was originally titled War Pigs, but allegedly the record company changed it to Paranoid, fearing backlash from supporters of the ongoing Vietnam War.[11] At the time, the band were surprised that the song they'd created in such a short period of time would become the album's title track, though they did concede that it had the potential to become a single.[12] Additionally the band's label felt the title track was more marketable as a single. Ozzy Osbourne states in I Am Ozzy that the name change had nothing to do with the Vietnam war, and was entirely due to the record company deciding the album would be easier to sell if it was named after the single, which had already had significant success by the time the album was released, reaching number 4 on the UK Singles Chart.

The original UK vinyl release was in a gatefold sleeve. The inner of the gatefold had a black-and-white photo of the band, posed outdoors on a grassy hill, and was their first appearance on album artwork. To spread the original picture over the gatefold, Ozzy Osbourne was separated from the other members of the band and a section of the grass was copied and dropped into the gap. The album cover features a man in red with a sword.

Release, reception and legacy[edit]

In the early 1970s, an American nurse committed suicide and the Paranoid album was found on her turntable.[13] The album's possible influence in her decision to commit suicide was mentioned in the inquest, but ultimately it was decided that Black Sabbath were not to blame for her death. "A lot of the words in the songs—a lot of the moods of the songs—are aggressive," Iommi acknowledged. "Especially in the early days—Satanic, if you like... That was the way it felt, so that was the way we played. But it got out of hand. With Paranoid in England, for instance. There was a girl found dead—a nurse she was: dead in her room with our album on the turntable going round. And it was taken to court saying that it was because of the album that she was depressed and killed herself, which was totally ridiculous, I think."[14]

In the decades succeeding its initial distribution, Paranoid has been regarded by many as Black Sabbath's best album, and by some the best heavy metal album of all time.[15] The "Paranoid" single, released before the album, reached number four in the UK. Pushed by its success, the album hit number one in the UK, and was the only Black Sabbath album to have done so until "13". The US release was held until January 1971, as the Black Sabbath album was still on the charts at the time of Paranoid's UK release. The album broke into the top twenty in the US in March 1971, Paranoid's chart success in the US allowed the band to tour there for the first time in October 1970. This spawned the release of the album's second single "Iron Man", and although it failed to reach the top 40, "Iron Man" remains one of Black Sabbath's most popular songs. In addition, it is considered to be Vertigo's breakthrough release.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[16]
Blender 5/5 stars[17]
Robert Christgau C−[18]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[19]
Sputnikmusic 4.0/5[20]

Like its predecessor the album was panned by music critics of the era, with Robert Christgau grading it a C−, though admitting that the band took "heavy to undreamt-of extremes."[18] However, modern-day music critics are much more favourable towards the album than those of the time. Allmusic's Steve Huey cites Paranoid as "one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time", which "defined the sound and style of metal, more than any other record in history"[16] and Ben Mitchell of Blender calling it "the greatest metal album of all time".[17]

  • In 1989, Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 39 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time".[21]
  • In 1999, Q magazine (12/99, p. 170) included it in their list of The Best Gothic Albums of All Time, writing that, "[Black Sabbath] stamped their bombastic and doom-laden imprint on British rock forever."
  • In 1999, Vibe (12/99, p. 162) included it on their list of 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century.
  • In 2003, the album was ranked number 130 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[22]
  • In 2006, the album was ranked number 6 on Guitar World magazine's list of The Greatest 100 Guitar Albums of All Time.[23]
  • In 2010, Paranoid was covered as part of the Classic Albums documentary series, which examines albums "considered the best or most distinctive of a well known band or musician or that exemplify a stage in the history of music".

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Geezer Butler, except where noted, all music composed by Black Sabbath (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne).

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "War Pigs"   7:57
2. "Paranoid"   2:53
3. "Planet Caravan" (Osbourne/Butler) 4:32
4. "Iron Man"   6:00
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Electric Funeral"   4:53
6. "Hand of Doom"   7:08
7. "Rat Salad"   2:30
8. "Fairies Wear Boots" (Butler/Osbourne) 6:15
2009 Deluxe Edition disc two
No. Title Length
1. "War Pigs"   7:55
2. "Paranoid"   2:47
3. "Planet Caravan"   4:30
4. "Iron Man"   5:58
5. "Electric Funeral"   4:47
6. "Hand of Doom"   7:07
7. "Rat Salad"   2:29
8. "Fairies Wear Boots"   6:13
2009 Deluxe Edition disc three
No. Title Length
1. "War Pigs" (instrumental) 8:00
2. "Paranoid" (alternate lyrics version) 2:50
3. "Planet Caravan" (alternate lyrics version) 6:01
4. "Iron Man" (instrumental) 5:57
5. "Electric Funeral" (instrumental) 4:52
6. "Hand of Doom" (instrumental) 7:14
7. "Rat Salad" (alternate mix) 2:29
8. "Fairies Wear Boots" (instrumental) 6:16
  • Disc three features original, alternate and demo takes from Regent Sound Studios.
Notes
  • On the North American edition of the album, the songs "War Pigs" and "Fairies Wear Boots" were entitled "War Pigs/Luke's Wall" and "Jack the Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots", respectively.
  • The Castle Communication edition (1986) featured a live version of "Wicked World". This later appeared on Past Lives.

Personnel[edit]

Black Sabbath
Additional personnel

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
United Kingdom 18 September 1970 Vertigo Records LP album 6360 011
Europe September 1970 Vertigo Records LP album 6360 011
United States 7 January 1971 Warner Bros. Records LP album WS 1887
United Kingdom (reissue) December 1973 WWA LP album WWA 007
United States (reissue) 1975 Warner Bros. Records LP album WS4
United Kingdom (reissue) January 1976 NEMS LP album NEL 6003
United Kingdom (reissue) 28 February 1996 Castle Communications Compact Disc ESMCD302
United Kingdom (reissue) 2004 Sanctuary Records Compact Disc SMRCD032
United Kingdom (deluxe) 30 March 2009 Sanctuary Records Double CD+DVD 1782444
Japan 25 August 2010 Universal Music SHM-SACD UIGY-9034
Japan 24 November 2010 Universal Music SHM-CD UICY-20039

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (1995). The Great Rock Discography. Edinburgh, Great Britain: Canongate Books. p. 65. ISBN 0-86241-541-1. 
  2. ^ a b Rosen 1996, p. 57
  3. ^ a b Black Sabbath Biography at Rolling Stone
  4. ^ "Black Sabbath. Billboard 200.". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum database-Paranoid". Retrieved 22 February 2009. 
  6. ^ Paranoid Review at AMG
  7. ^ "Black Sabbath – Music Biography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ a b c Osbourne, Ozzy (2011). I Am Ozzy. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-0446569903. 
  10. ^ Classic Albums – Paranoid, by Isis Productions/Eagle Rock Entertainment
  11. ^ "The 100 greatest albums". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 26 January 2005. Retrieved 7 September 2004. 
  12. ^ Tice, Russell H. (1 January 1999). "Classic Tracks: Black Sabbath's "Paranoid"". Mix. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Iommi, Tony (2011). Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-30681-9551. 
  14. ^ Sounds, 21 October 1978
  15. ^ http://www.rockhall.com/inductee/black-sabbath
  16. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Review Paranoid". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  17. ^ a b Mitchell, Ben. "Review Paranoid". Blender. Alpha Media. Retrieved 7 September 2009. [dead link]
  18. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Review Paranoid". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  19. ^ "Black Sabbath: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  20. ^ Stagno, Mike. "Review Paranoid". www.sputnikmusic.com. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  21. ^ Kaye, Don (21 January 1989). "Black Sabbath 'Paranoid'". Kerrang! 222. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. 
  22. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. 18 November 2003. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  23. ^ Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time at Rate Your Music
  24. ^ "Discography Black Sabbath". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  25. ^ "Chart Stats – Black Sabbath". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  26. ^ "Black Sabbath > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". allmusic. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  27. ^ "Search Certification Database". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 19 December 2009.  Note: User must manually define 'title' search parameter as "Paranoid".
  28. ^ "Search Results". Recording Industry Association of America. 19 December 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  29. ^ http://www.bpi.co.uk/certified-awards.aspx

References[edit]

  • Rosen, Steven (1996). The Story of Black Sabbath: Wheels of Confusion. Castle Communications. ISBN 1-86074-149-5. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bridge over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel
UK Albums Chart number-one album
10–17 October 1970
Succeeded by
Bridge over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel