Black Sabbath - Iron Man

Black Sabbath - Iron Man

‘Iron Man’ is a song by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in 1970 from the band's second studio album, Paranoid and as a single in the US in October 1971. The song peaked at number 52 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, becoming their highest-charting single on the chart. It also reached number 68 on the Canadian RPM Magazine Top 100. The live version of the song from their Reunion (2001) album won them the 2000 Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance.

Upon hearing Tony Iommi's main guitar riff at rehearsal for the first time, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne remarked that it sounded "like a big iron bloke walking about", with "Iron Bloke" quickly becoming a placeholder title as the band developed the song. Iommi had created the riff "on the spot" in response to a bass drum beat drummer Bill Ward started playing, creating a mood of "someone creeping up on you". While recording the song, producer Rodger Bain and studio engineer Tom Allom had tremendous difficulty capturing the "power and depth of the sound" of his bass drum in the studio due to the limitations of the microphones available at that time.

The lyrics, composed by bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler, tell the story of a self-fulfilling prophecy in which a man travels into the future and witnesses the apocalypse. In the process of returning to the present day to warn the human race, he is turned into steel by a magnetic field and is subsequently ridiculed and ignored by the people he intended to save. Feeling resentful, Iron Man retaliates by actually causing the apocalypse seen in his vision.

Butler has been clear that there is no link between the song and the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name, explaining that he had not read American comics as a child. Rather, he took his lyrical inspiration from Osbourne's "iron bloke" remark and he decided to compose the lyrics as a science fiction story. Raised in a devout Catholic family, Butler also intended the song's subject as an allegory for Jesus Christ, but rather than forgiving his doubters and tormentors, Iron man instead seeks vengeance. Butler recalled, "I liked the Hammer horror films in the 1960s and magazines such as Man, Myth and Magic, but I had a few supernatural experiences as a child and dreams that came true and that, more than anything, shaped my interest in the occult", additionally citing H.G. Wells's novels as inspiration.

‘Iron Man’ was used in the end credits of Iron Man (2008), as well in its video game adaptation and the trailer for the 2010 sequel, Iron Man 2. The character Tony Stark, alter-ego of Iron Man, also wears a Black Sabbath t-shirt in the 2012 film The Avengers. The song won spot number 317 in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time as of 2004, and number 7 on their "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Songs of All Time" list in March of 2023. VH1 ranked the song as the greatest heavy metal song of all time.

Label – Warner Bros.
Songwriters – Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward
Producer – Rodger Bain


I am Iron Man
[Verse 1]
Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all
Or if he moves, will he fall?
[Verse 2]
Is he alive or dead?
Has he thoughts within his head?
We'll just pass him there
Why should we even care?
[Instrumental Bridge]
[Verse 3]
He was turned to steel
In the great magnetic field
When he travelled time
For the future of mankind
Nobody wants him
He just stares at the world
Planning his vengeance
That he will soon unfurl
[Instrumental Bridge]
[Verse 4]
Now the time is here
For Iron Man to spread fear
Vengeance from the grave
Kills the people he once saved
Nobody wants him
They just turn their heads
Nobody helps him
Now he has his revenge
[Guitar Solo]
[Verse 5]
Heavy boots of lead
Fills his victims full of dread
Running as fast as they can
Iron Man lives again
[Instrumental Outro]
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