Iron Man

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“Iron Man” is a signature song of Birmingham, England heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath. It was first released on their second album Paranoid (1970) and later included on their initial greatest hits compilation We Sold Our Soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll (1976), as well as all subsequent greatest hits compilations. Many musical acts have recorded cover versions of the song, and the song is frequently used and referenced during sporting events and in television shows and films. Trailers for the 2008 feature film Iron Man, as well as the film’s closing credits, have portions of this song. Iron Man is also a playable song in Guitar Hero.

The lyrics concern a champion of humanity who travels Time, presumably to ensure “the future of Mankind” — his original mission was to save our species. We learn that this champion unfortunately encountered a “Great Magnetic Field,” turning him into steel and rendering him immobile. He has been in this state for so long that humanity has forgotten his original identity and his original mission. Rather than hailing him as a hero, the human race now regards him as an oddity, little more than an enigmatic statue from another age. The first few lines of the song are the musings of curious passersby, wondering if he’s alive or dead, if he can see, if he can move, et cetera. Although the exact nature of his transformation is not elucidated, we know that Iron Man is not solid steel, but is in perhaps an organic/inorganic state, in which he can still perceive the physical world and can still think, but cannot take action. Because humanity has forgotten everything he’s done for them in the past, Iron Man has grown increasingly bitter and plans his vengeance upon the ungrateful human race. Evidently, his bizarre state of suspended animation is only temporary — when Iron Man regains his freedom to move, he “kills the people he once saved” in a dreadful manner.

The title of the song was conceived by Ozzy Osbourne; As a child Ozzy would spray paint Ironman and Ozzy Ironman everywhere he went. Geezer Butler took to writing the lyrics around the title, but was careful not to make it about the comic book character so as to avoid a copyright infringement lawsuit.

There have been many re-releases of “Iron Man”. It was also a B-side for the 1981 picture disc single Paranoid.

* In 2000, 30 years after the song was first released, it won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.
* “Iron Man” also won spot #310 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
* “Iron Man” was awarded the #1 spot on VH1′s 40 Greatest Metal Songs in 2006.
* Peaked at #52 in 1971

- adapted from Wikipedia

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