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Tony Iommi Explains The Meaning Behind Paranoid’s Album Cover


Pop trivia is a wonderful pastime, especially when you are stuck indoors due to social distancing. With that in mind, have you ever wondered what on earth the cover of Black Sabbath’s first album cover was all about?

Released in 1970, Paranoid set the standard for hard rock and heavy metal, and its cover has had people wondering what it’s meaning was all about.

Sabbath’s guitarist/co-founder Tony Iommi has set the record straight in a recent interview with GibsonTVexplaining that the cover gave a mischaracterization of the band as Satanic, and at the same time earned it a ton of publicity early on, but it also meant that Sabbath wasn’t allowed to call its sophomore album what it wanted.

Iommi said: “The album cover on Paranoid has nothing to do with [the song] ‘Paranoid.’ It was going to be called War Pigs, so we had a bloke with the shield and a [sword], which remotely made sense — more so than Paranoid,” adding: “But they banned that, you couldn’t use [War Pigs] as a title in them days. …It was so awkward for us to move forward with things.”

The album didn’t suffer because of its name that’s for sure. Paranoid the album took the No. 1 in the U.K. on the strength of tracks like “Paranoid,” “War Pigs” and “Iron Man.

By the way, if you loved Iommi’s guitar tone of that very same album, he recently unveiled Gibson’s limited-edition reproduction of his ‘Monkey’ SG— a replica of the guitar he used in Black Sabbath during the ’70s.


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