Classic Rock Wiki

"Paranoid" is a song by the British rock band Black Sabbath, featured on their second album Paranoid (1970). It is the first single from the album, while the B-side is the song "The Wizard". It reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.


  • 1 About
  • 2 Legacy
    • 2.1 Accolades
  • 3 Track listing
  • 4 Chart positions
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


"Paranoid" was the first Black Sabbath single release, coming six months after their debut album was released. Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler (from Guitar Worldmagazine, March 2004):

A lot of the "Paranoid" album was written around the time of our first album,"Black Sabbath". We recorded the whole thing in about 2 or 3 days, live in the studio. The song "Paranoid" was written as an afterthought. We basically needed a 3 minute filler for the album, and Tony came up with the riff. I quickly did the lyrics, and Ozzy was reading them as he was singing.[2]

Paranoid was also used as the name of the album, and somewhat unusually, the word paranoid is never mentioned in the lyrics. Originally the band had wanted to call the album "War Pigs" after the song of the same name, but the record company persuaded them to use Paranoid instead because it was less offensive.[3]


"Paranoid" was ranked No. 34 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs.[4] In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at number 11 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.Rolling Stone ranked it number 250 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time[5] and called the song, "a two-minute blast of protopunk".[6] Johnny Rotten, ex frontman of Sex Pistols, described the song as "one of the world's greatest ever singles".[7]

The original Black Sabbath recording has been used numerous times in various films and television shows including Sid & Nancy,[8] Dazed and Confused,[9] The Stoned Age,[10] Any Given Sunday,[11] Almost Famous,[12] and We Are Marshall.[13] The song was used in the Sega Mega Drive game Rock n' Roll Racing in 1993.

In 1985, Black Sabbath performed the song at Live Aid in Philadelphia. In 2002, Osbourne and Iommi were joined by Genesis drummer Phil Collins and The Who's bass player Pino Palladino in a performance of the song at Buckingham Palace during the Party at the Palace, which celebrated Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee.


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank NME United Kingdom "All Time Top 100 Singles"[14] 1976 41
Spin United States "100 Greatest Singles of All Time"[15] 1989 81
Radio Veronica Netherlands "Super All-Time List"[16] 1989 16
Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame

United States "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs

that Shaped Rock and Roll"[17]

1994 *
Guitarist United Kingdom "Top 100 Guitar Solos of All-Time"[18] 1998 84
Rolling Stone United States "500 Greatest Songs of All Time"[19] 2004 250
Q United Kingdom "1010 Songs You Must Own!"[20] 2004 *
Q United Kingdom "100 Greatest Songs of All Time"[21] 2006 100
VH1 United States "40 Greatest Metal Songs"[22] 2006 34
VH1 United States "100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs"[23] 2008 4

(*) designates unordered lists.

Track listing[edit][]

7" single (Vertigo 6059 010)[24]
  1. "Paranoid" – 2:45
  2. "The Wizard" – 4:20
7" single (Vertigo 6059 014)
  1. "Paranoid" – 2:50
  2. "Rat Salad" – 2:30
7" singles (Vertigo AS 109)
  1. "Paranoid" – 2:50
  2. "Happy Being Me"[I] – 15:54
7" 1977 re-release (Immediate 103 466)
  1. "Paranoid" – 2:50
  2. "Evil Woman" – 3:25
7" 1977 re-release (Nems SRS 510.044)
  1. "Paranoid" – 2:50
  2. "Tomorrow's Dream" – 3:11
7" 1980 re-release (Spiegelei INT 110.604)
  1. "Paranoid" – 2:45
  2. "Snowblind" – 5:25
  • I^ "Happy Being Me" is performed by Manfred Mann Chapter Three and appears on their second album Manfred Mann Chapter Three Volume Two.

Chart positions[edit][]

Chart (1970) Peak


Australian Go-Set National Top 60[25] 18
Austrian Singles Chart[26] 3
Danish Singles Chart 1
German Singles Chart[27] 1
Irish Singles Chart[28] 12
Italian Singles Chart[29] 9
Netherlands Singles Chart[26] 2
Norwegian Singles Chart[26] 6
South African Springbok Radio Top 20[30] 3
Swiss Singles Chart[26] 2
UK Singles Chart[31] 4
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[32] 61
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[33] 79