Tony Iommi recollected how serious he disliked the guitar solo on Black Sabbath’s classic hit single “Paranoid,” and continued that he spent time disliking the song.
It was composed at the last minute when the group was informed their second LP was too brief and took about two hours to create. Understanding the resulting track had caught promise, Sabbath’s label issued it in August 1970 and renamed the LP in its honor – another progress that agitated Iommi.
During an interview with Kerrang, the guitarist stated that producer Rodger Bain had combined a ring pitch 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.”
Iommi said of the album title transition from War Pigs – their choice – 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.”
Pondering on Black Sabbath’s career as a consequence of Paranoid’s success, he stated: “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.”