Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” Lyrics Meaning

The lyrics of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” capture the weight of depression felt by a typically paranoid person, just as the title suggests.

The singer (Ozzy Osbourne) admits in the beginning that he has made efforts to deal with his loneliness, such as being with a woman and thinking all day long. His efforts have however, proved futile as he realizes that nothing seems to give him the inner satisfaction he needs.

He does not trust anyone with his emotions yet at a point he asks if anyone can help him occupy his brain.

The singer sounds more desperate in the second verse as he describes how he needs to see things in life that cause true happiness. This reveals his desire to experience something different from the usual gloomy life he has had to live all the while.

The subsequent verse expresses his lack of emotional sensitivity, where love and happiness are strangely lost in his life. The verse ends with him advising his listeners to enjoy life as they have it, because it is too late for him. It is not very clear what may have caused the writer to delve into a state of depression. It could have been his own self-imprecating thoughts or probably a drug thing.

Geezer Butler, who wrote “Paranoid” with the band revealed to Mojo Magazine that the song is basically about a transition between depression and paranoia. He explained that the song captured his true feelings at the time; downcast, gloomy and dark.

paranoid lyrics

When was “Paranoid” released?

Black Sabbath released this classic via Vertigo Records in August of 1970. It was the first single to be issued from their highly influential second studio album which shares the same name as this song.

Chart Success

“Paranoid” reached number 1 in both Denmark and Germany. It also managed to enter into the top 5 in many countries, including the following:

  • Australia
  • The Netherlands
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • The United Kingdom

On the United States’ Hot 100, it enjoyed a peak position of 61.

Writing Credits

This Black Sabbath classic was penned by the following core members the band:

  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Tony Iommi
  • Bill Ward
  • Geezer Butler

And the song’s production credit goes to Rodger Bain. Bain gained global stardom for his production works with a number of famous heavy metal bands, including Black Sabbath.

“The Paranoid”

The song was originally titled “The Paranoid”. However, the band removed the definite article “the” from the title because for some reason they and their management felt “Paranoid” was a more suitable title.

A great classic

“Paranoid” is considered one of the music industry’s greatest and most influential songs ever released. Owing to this, it has over the years appeared in numerous “Greatest Songs of All Time” lists, including that of Rolling Stone.

Black Sabbath featuring Phil Collins

One of the band’s most notable live performances of “Paranoid” happened in 1985 at the famous Live Aid charity concert. Another notable performance happened at the Diamond Jubilee Concert of 2012. That concert, which took place in front of the Buckingham Palace, saw Black Sabbath team up with English singer and drummer Phil Collins to perform the song.

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