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Monday, August 23, 2010

Black Sabbath – Paranoid – Classic Albums DVD review
Released by Eagle Rock - Available now.

OK, here’s the thing that most of my mates already know and would most likely tell you about me, I was never really a fan of the Ozzy Osbourne fronted Black Sabbath days. Ronnie James Dio (RIP) was always my preferred choice, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they still produced some really good material with Ozzy.

So you guessed right, if you wondered if I had a copy of this original 'Paranoid' album, as the answer would be, ‘No I don’t!’
That’s not to say I’m not familiar with the obvious tracks on this album, such as the controversial ‘War Pigs’ and the other two probably best known Sabbath tracks from this album, ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Paranoid’ itself.

I’ve got to tell you that I’ve seen a number of these ‘Classic Album’s’ presented on VH1 Classic and I think for trivia ‘freaks’ such as myself and many other rock fans they are a great behind the scenes gaze into how each release came into being.

This one starts with each of the four band members, saying a little piece each, with:
Ozzy Osbourne – I think ‘She Loves Me’ was the first record that turned me on and then I wanted to be a Beatle!
Tony IommiThe music is very honest and what you see is what you get!
Geezer Butler The stuff we wrote was very valid at the time and it still stands!
Bill WardIt was just put it down there, play your hearts out, play everything you’ve got and put it on a piece of tape!

The guests that they pulled in to interview about the album and what it’s effect was in their eyes, include: Henry Rollins, Phil Alexander (Kerrang / Mojo magazines), original band manager Jim Simpson, Tom Allom (Engineer on Paranoid and very successful producer) and Geoff Barton (Classic Rock magazine) and a few others too.

Discussions start and it’s not long before the mention of how ‘Earth’ then became ‘Black Sabbath’ as no one was getting much of a buzz from the name ‘Earth’ and ironically it was Geezer Butler who threw the name suggestion out.

The track ‘Black Sabbath’ apparently started with Geezer playing around with ‘Mars’ from the Holst piece ‘The Planets Suite’ and Tony Iommi came up with a riff alongside the bass line and Bill Ward joins is and Ozzy starts singing some words he’s making up just to string it all together. Incidentally, you’d be forgiven if you’ve never been sure if it was ‘that’ track, as the word ‘Black Sabbath’ are not mentioned anywhere within!

Apparently it was something Ozzy did with most songs, to get them through as a guide line before Geezer would typically write the full lyrics later. The band all felt they equally contributed on the album's completion, so all members were credited with contributing to lyrics and music.

Some funny stories are scattered throughout and a funny one comes up early here about how they got a gig at The Star Club in Hamburg and thought great! The Beatles played there.

When they got there, reality struck as the place was apparently a dump and they were expected to play about eight, forty five minute sets and they only had 8 songs, so each song became a mega jam just to get through! Oh and their first set started at 2pm in the afternoon and there were just about three people there at the time. Some weirdo, a prostitute and someone else who they can’t really remember …

Tom Allom was the Engineer on the album and it was produced by one Rodger Bane who was not a part of the interviews, although not really sure why … The guy seems a bit of a mystery these days. Anyway Tom goes over quite a few of the events that took place at the time and plays back the various different parts in detail, fading each instrument and Ozzy’s vocals in and out here and there.
It’s incredible that the original recording was done in just two days, in two sessions.

Geezer talks about what his inspiration or influences were at the time for writing each song, although they all say that the songs all came together wherever! Sometimes, in the van between gigs or possibly anywhere else?!
Geezer and Tony talk about how Tony lost the tips of two of his fingers and how he was inspired to carry on.

It’s funny that the track ‘Paranoid’ was in fact the last to be written, when the band were asked to come up with a track that will take up about three to four minutes, so the band gave them two minutes, fifty seconds!
The album got to number one in the UK, displacing Simon and Garkfunkel at the time and in the USA it started getting support here and there and went up to number twelve. Not bad for how the album was pulled together.
This is an interesting DVD, the bonus features here are extra interview pieces that will entertain a little too.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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