Meaning of “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath

The first thing that probably comes to mind when you hear Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” might be Marvel’s comic character which has the same name. As far as the lyrics are concerned however, the song isn’t about Marvel’s Iron Man.

The first verse coupled with an alarming, discordant guitar riff sends a picture of a man who may have experienced something and has had certain physical effects as a result. The singer questions if the man is still sane, has his sight and is able to move.

The writer continues to question the man’s mortality, while people avoid showing concern. It is in the subsequent verses that the story begins to really unfold.

Apparently, the man travelled through time to see the future of mankind but was turned to steel in a magnetic field. The chorus explains that after his ordeal, no one cared about what he did for them and its aftermath, and they actually reject him. As a result of this rejection, he starts planning to take revenge and eventually kills them with this heavy lead boots, and sends them running with fear as he now becomes the villain in the story.

Geezer Butler, bassist for the Black Sabbath has revealed that vocalist, Ozzy Osbourne suggested the title “Iron Man”, and he was inspired to write based on his fascination of what might happen to a man who transforms into a metal being. The man still has a brain and prefers to do the right thing by warning people of an impending danger in the future. Eventually, he gets frustrated by the hostile reaction he receives from people and takes vengeance on them

Iron Man lyrics

2 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    THE SONG IS ABOUT A FORGOTTEN RED DWARF STAR. OUR SUN’S DYING BINARY TWIN.
    “HE WAS TURNED TO *STEEL, IN THE GREAT **MAGNETIC FIELD…”

    *Red IRON oxide

    **Possibly the electomagnetic field generated by our primary star/sun, in which IRON MAN comes in close proximity with, during the cycle of HIS thousands of years-long orbit.

    “NOW THE TIME IS HERE-
    FOR IRON MAN TO SPREAD FEAR.”

  2. LONG LIVE METAL says:

    I believe this song is talking about the technology of the future. A man goes to see what will happen and he warns them, but no one listens because they want money and a “better” life. This leads to his frustration and taking revenge. He is steel because the is now a robot with a consciousness. He shows the power it brings, but what could happen if it falls in the wrong hands.

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