Iron Man (song)

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"Iron Man"
BS IronMan.jpg
Single by Black Sabbath
from the album Paranoid
B-side "Electric Funeral"
Released7 October 1971 [1]
Genre Heavy metal
  • 5:56 (album version)
  • 3:33 (single version)
Label Warner Bros.
Producer(s) Rodger Bain
Black Sabbath singles chronology
"Children of the Grave"
"Iron Man"
"Tomorrow's Dream"

"Iron Man" is a song written and performed by the English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released on their 1970 album Paranoid . The lyrics tell the story of a man who time travels into the future and sees the apocalypse. In the process of returning to the present he is turned into steel by a magnetic field, and his attempts to warn the public are ignored and mocked. Feeling shunned and alone, Iron Man plans his revenge on mankind, causing the apocalypse seen in his vision. [2]



The Iron Man riff Play (help*info) Iron Man riff.svg
The Iron Man riff Loudspeaker.svg Play  

Upon hearing the main guitar riff for the first time, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne remarked that it sounded "like a big iron bloke walking about". [3] The title became "Iron Man", with Geezer Butler writing the lyrics around the title. How the distorted vocals at the beginning that say "I am Iron Man" were created has been a topic of debate. It has been rumored that Osbourne sang through an oscillating metal fan to get the sound, but it's more likely that his voice was run through a processor called a ring modulator, which creates a wobbly electronic effect by mixing the input signal with an oscillator. This is the device used to create the voices of the Daleks on Doctor Who, and it's something Toni Iommi has used - you can hear it on his guitar solo in "Paranoid." [4] Despite the title, the song has no connection to the Marvel Comics character of the same name. [5]

Reception and legacy

The song peaked at number 52 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, becoming their highest-charting single on the chart. [6] It also reached number 68 on the Canadian RPM Magazine Top 100. [7] The live rendition of the song from Reunion won the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. [8]

"Iron Man" was used in the end credits of the 2008 movie Iron Man, as well in its video game adaptation and the trailer for the 2010 sequel, Iron Man 2 . The character Tony Stark, alter-ego of Iron Man, also wears a Black Sabbath t-shirt in the 2012 film The Avengers . The song won spot number 317 in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time as of 2004. [9] "Iron Man" was ranked the sixth best Black Sabbath song by Rock – Das Gesamtwerk der größten Rock-Acts im Check. [10] VH1 ranked the song as the greatest heavy metal song of all time. [11]



RegionCertification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI) [12] Silver250,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png

Double-dagger-14-plain.png Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also

Related Research Articles

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  2. "BLACK SABBATH – FAQ version 2.0". Black Sabbath Online.
  3. Classic Albums – Paranoid, by Isis Productions/Eagle Rock Entertainment
  4. {{Cite web |url=
  5. "The Story Behind Black Sabbath's Iron Man". 102.9 WMGK . 5 August 2016. Archived from the original on 28 August 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  6. Billboard Singles for Black Sabbath at AllMusic
  7. "RPM 100 listing" (PDF). Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  8. "Black Sabbath". 23 November 2020.
  9. "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone . Wenner Media. 9 December 2004. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  10. Rehe, Christoph (2013). Rock – Das Gesamtwerk der größten Rock-Acts im Check: alle Alben, alle Songs. Ein eclipsed-Buch (in German). Sysyphus Sysyphus Verlags GmbH. ISBN   978-3868526462.
  11. archived 2007-11-18.
  12. "British single certifications – Black Sabbath – Iron Man". British Phonographic Industry . Retrieved 10 April 2020.Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Iron Man in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.