Certain Songs #61: Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”


Album: Paranoid
Year: 1970

Contrary to popular mythology, it is my firm belief that Black Sabbath’s overarching lyrical theme wasn’t really Satan or whatever ( :: makes devil horns ::), but rather, mental health. Especially the type of mental health issues where the sufferer is continually worried about their sanity.

Since neither Ozzy (or Geezer Butler, who wrote a ton of the lyrics) could ever be mistaken for subtle, it’s right there in song after song:  "Fairies Wear Boots,“ "Am I Going Insane,” “Megalomania,” and of course, their most popular song, the actual world-wide hit single “Paranoid.”  

Anchored by a speedy, bass-filled repeating riff, with drummer Bill Ward heavying it up by lagging behind the beat, “Paranoid” is the musical and lyrical link between Led Zeppelin and the Ramones, and – unlike most great Black Sabbath songs – short, simple and to the point.

“Paranoid” performed in 1970

My Certain Songs Spotify Playlist:

Every “Certain Song” Ever

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