Sabbath’s Second Slab Released 49 Years Ago Today
In 1968, four blue-collar working men in Birmingham, England, formed a group called the Polka Tulk Blues Band. Not much of a name, eh? They then tried the more listener friendly moniker Earth, but that didn't change their fortunes, either. Then they renamed themselves after a 1963 horror film starring Boris Karloff. Black Sabbath would be the name that would bring them fame and fortune...but not right out of the gate. In February 1970, they would release their first album, the self-titled "Black Sabbath". Looking back, it is a much better album than the critics thought so at the time, but still did not set the world on fire.
In September of the same year, Black Sabbath released their monster second album, "Paranoid". It topped the British charts and was the only Sabbath album to do so until they released the "comeback" album "13" in 2013 which also topped the UK Albums Chart. In the US, the album release was delayed until January, 1971. However, since the album was so successful in Britain, the band was allowed to tour the States to promote it and Americans took notice. Interest in Black Sabbath pushed "Paranoid" to number 12 on the US Albums Chart in March, 1971.
The first single from "Paranoid" was also called "Paranoid" and wasn't even written until the last minute. The album didn't have enough songs so the band was looking for something else to put on the album. Guitarist Tony Iommi fired up the iconic main riff and the rest of the band jammed it out. According to drummer Bill Ward, the song was banged out in 20-25 minutes from start to finish.
Other highlights from the "Paranoid" album include the band's scathing indictment of the Vietnam conflict called "War Pigs" and "Iron Man". Although failing to reach the Top 40 when released as a single, "Iron Man" remains one of the band's most popular songs to this very day. Happy Anniversary to Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill for giving us the amazing hard rock classic, "Paranoid".