Meaning of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man song

Commercials for the first two parts of the feature film Iron Man (“Iron Man”), included excerpts from the eponymous composition of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. This song sounded directly in both films, which caused a new wave of controversy about what or to whom the track is dedicated. Let’s remember the history of the Iron Man song and try to figure out if it has anything to do with the famous superhero.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Iron Man

To begin with, Iron Man appeared in Marvel Comics in March 1963, and five years later the first separate magazine was dedicated to him. Two years later, Black Sabbath recorded the song Iron Man. Ozzy Osbourne came up with the title and Geezer Butler wrote the lyrics.

The lyrics of Iron Man are about a man who traveled to the future and saw the end of the world. Returning, he fell into a magnetic field and turned into a steel monster. He is unable to speak and therefore cannot warn people of the apocalypse. They ignore him and even ridicule him, which makes him furious and arranges a massacre that he saw during the journey.

Geezer Butler has stated that Iron Man is a “sci-fi story” that he wrote in response to the widespread news about environmental disasters and the possibility of nuclear war. There was no question of any connection with the comic book character of the same name.

But fans of the comics about Tony Stark see in some phrases from the song clear, as it seems to them, allusions to Iron Man. For example, the lines from the first verse “Can he walk at all, Or will he fall if he moves?” reminiscent of how Tony fell while wearing a superhero costume for the first time.

It is possible that Butler was not inspired by Marvel comics. In the sixties, the film Monster A-Go-Go was made about an astronaut who returned from space flight as an ugly monster. At the same time, Ted Hughes wrote The Iron Man, a children’s book about an iron giant who appeared out of nowhere in England. Everyone was afraid of him, except for the little boy. Later, the monster was buried alive by the farmers, but he got out of the grave and saved the Earth from aliens (does it remind you of the fifth verse of the song?).

There are other interpretations of the Iron Man song. Possible prototypes of the protagonist are called various famous and nameless personalities:

  • Jesus Christ
  • Vietnam Veteran,
  • drug addict
  • a schoolboy who was shot
  • and even just metallurgists left idle in the post-industrial society of the future.

In general, the fantasy of music lovers knows no bounds.

The most likely assumption seems to be that Geezer wrote the song after reading fantastic literature, in which such images and plots often appear. Most likely, the Iron Man of Stan Lee and other authors of the Marvel studio also had some influence on him, although it is unlikely that the Iron Man composition is dedicated to him.

Release and achievements

Whoever he had in mind, the song became a heavy metal classic and one of Black Sabbath’s most famous tracks. It was originally included on the 1970 album Paranoid, and six years later was included on the band’s hits compilation We Sold Our Soul for Rock’n’Roll.

In 2000, the original studio version of Iron Man was released and won a Grammy. In the list of the 500 greatest songs of all time according to Rolling Stone, it is ranked 317th. And VH1 placed it at number one on their list of the 40 Greatest Metal Songs.

Clip Iron Man – Black Sabbath

Watch the music video for the song.

Iron Man cover versions

The song has been recorded by Green Day, The Cardigans, Metallica and many other bands and artists.

Interesting Facts

  • Initially, they wanted to call the song Iron Bloke (“Iron Kid”), since Ozzy, upon hearing the guitar riff, said that it sounds “like an iron kid walking around”.
  • In 2007, Nissan used the song in a pickup truck commercial.
  • Iron Man sounds in many feature and animated films: “Iron Man”, “School of Rock”, “The Simpsons”, “Futurama” and others.

Iron Man Lyrics

Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all
Or if he moves will he fall?

Is he alive or dead?
Has he thought within his head?
We’ll just pass him there
Why should we even care?

He was turned to steel
In the great magnetic field
When he traveled time
For the future of mankind

Nobody wants him
He just stars at the world
Planning his vengeance
That he will soon unfurl

Now the time is here
For Iron Man to spread fear
Vengeance from the grave
Kills the people he once saved

Nobody wants him
They just turn their heads
Nobody helps him
Now he has his revenge

Heavy boots of lead
Fills his victims full of dread
Running as fast as they can
Iron Man lives again!

Iron Man Lyrics

Has he lost his mind?
Is he blind?
Can he walk at all
Or will he fall if he moves?

Is he dead or alive?
Is he capable of thinking?
We better just leave it there
What have we to do with him?

He was turned to steel
In a powerful magnetic field
When I traveled through time
For the future of mankind

Nobody needs him
And just stares at the world
Carrying out a plan for revenge
Which he will soon bring to life

And now the time has come
Iron Man sow fear
Revenge from the grave
Kills the people he once saved

Nobody needs him
They just turned away
Nobody helps him
And now he takes revenge

Heavy lead boots
Inspire terror in his victims
They run at full speed
Iron Man is alive!

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