Tony Iommi’s Struggle with ‘Horrible’ ‘Paranoid’ Solo
Tony Iommi recalled how much he hated the guitar solo on Black Sabbath’s breakthrough single “Paranoid,” and added that he spent time resenting the song.
It was written at the last minute when the band were told their second album was too short, and took around two hours to create. Believing the resulting track had hit potential, Sabbath’s label released it in August 1970 and renamed the album in its honor – another move that upset Iommi.
In an interview with Kerrang, the guitarist said that producer Rodger Bain had added a ring modulation sound effect to Ozzy Osbourne’s voice for “Iron Man.” He continued: “Rodger also used that on the guitar solo on the track ‘Paranoid’ itself. At first, I said, ‘What the hell’s that?! It sounds horrible!’ But they went ahead and picked it as the solo that ended up on the record all the same.” He added: “I’ve got used to it now.”
Black Sabbath - ‘Paranoid’
Iommi said of the album title change from War Pigs – their own preference – to Paranoid: “We didn’t have much pull in those days, so we didn’t really have a say in the matter… but we were pretty angry about it.” Going back to the song, he noted: “I really like it. I always have. Nowadays people know what we’ve done and what we’ve achieved so I can accept what Paranoid represents, whereas back then I would’ve been more critical of it because it stood for something else.”
Reflecting on Black Sabbath’s career as a result of Paranoid’s success, he said: “It means that we’ve been there for a purpose, and that people can relate to what we’ve done and learn from it. Our music is, by the standards of today, basic. But what we had comes from the heart.”