Rock Chronology #214: Paranoid


“Paranoid”, Black Sabbath, 1971.

Finally, Black Sabbath has arrived. They are a band like no other (unless you count all of the many bands that they have inspired over the years). But in 1971, when the flower power of the 60’s was still fresh in everyone’s minds, they were truly a unique band.

They started out as just four British kids who had formed a band named “Earth”, but they kept getting confused with another band named “Earth”. They needed a new name. About that time they noticed a lot of people watching the Boris Karloff horror film, Black Sabbath. But it wasn’t just the film’s name that inspired them. They decided to focus on making the musical equivalent of horror films. Little did they know, their music would actually scare the parents of whoever listened to it.

The “Paranoid” single was released in the UK in 1970, and the album Paranoid was released a month later. The album flew to the top of the UK charts when released. However in the US, the album was not released until 1971, and their second single “Iron Man” was released late in 1971 in the US only. (For that reason I am lumping all the songs from this album into 1971.)

The album only peaked at #12 in the US, because it received virtually no airplay. It was also panned by critics of the time because the sound was just too heavy. In spite of all that the Paranoid album has sold over 4 million albums in US alone. It has also inspired countless heavy metal bands and tons of other bands that you might not immediately associate with metal, like Nirvana.

This album’s release is yet another huge milestone to happen in 1971. There are so many I am starting to lose count.

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