Black Sabbath Releases "Paranoid"
Paranoid is the second album by the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in September 1970 through Vertigo Records.
The album consists of some of the band's most readily identifiable work including "Iron Man", "War Pigs", and "Paranoid". It has been certified quadruple platinum with over four million copies sold in the US alone, making it Black Sabbath's best-selling album.
After the release of their eponymous debut album in February 1970, Black Sabbath returned to the studio in June that year, again with producer Rodger Bain, to record their second album. The album was recorded at Regent Sound Studios and Island Studios in London, England. The album's eponymous single "Paranoid" was written in the studio at the last minute. As drummer Bill Ward explains: "We didn't have enough songs for the album, and Tony just played the "Paranoid" guitar lick and that was it. It took twenty, twenty-five minutes from top to bottom." The song was written with no intention of it being a successful hit for the band, only to be a filler on the album.
In comparison with their previous album, the songs on Paranoid were given more focus and direction, with less improvisation. However the lyrical content is equally as dark, exploring themes such as war, mental illness, drug abuse and sci-fi horror. Much of the album could be viewed as a kind of social commentary.
The album was again panned by music critics of the era. However, modern-day music critics are much more favourable towards the album than those of the time. An example is Allmusic's Steve Huey, who cites Paranoid as "one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal albums of all time", which "defined the sound and style of metal, more than any other record in history".