Throwback Thursday: Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”

This song has been in and out of my head for probably around six months now. I’ve wanted to write this edition of Throwback Thursday now for a while, and I figured now would be a good time to finally do it, with Black Sabbath performing at the Centurylink Center last night.

Released in 1970 as the first single and title track of Black Sabbath’s second studio album, “Paranoid” is a symbol of the birth of heavy metal. Black Sabbath is among the founders of metal along with bands such as Led Zeppelin, Cream, and Steppenwolf (who are also among the first to use the term, “heavy metal,” in their 1968 song “Born to Be Wild”). In fact, while many debate on what the first heavy metal song was, “Helter Skelter” by the Beatles isn’t a bad guess, but that’s an article for another time.

Ozzy Osbourne’s lyrics depicting a descent into insanity on top of Tommy Iommi’s simple driving riff is enough to solidify this song’s place as one of the essentials of heavy metal. “Paranoid” is proof that a song doesn’t have to be terribly complex to be great, with it being #253 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list.

“And so as you hear these words telling you now of my state
I tell you to enjoy life I wish I could but it’s too late”

-Mark Austin


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