After the release of their debut album in February 1970, Black Sabbath returned to the studio in June that year, again with producer Rodger Bain, to record their second album. The album was recorded at Regent Sound Studios and Island Studios in London, England. The album's eponymous single "Paranoid" was written in the studio at the last minute to fulfill the record label's request for a single.
As drummer Bill Ward explains: "We didn't have enough songs for the album, and Tony just played the "Paranoid" guitar lick and that was it. It took twenty, twenty-five minutes from top to bottom."
The song "Iron Man" was originally entitled "Iron Bloke". Upon hearing the main guitar riff for the first time, Ozzy Osbourne remarked that it sounded "like a big iron bloke walking around". The title was later changed to "Iron Man".
The album was originally titled War Pigs, but allegedly the record company changed it to "Paranoid", fearing backlash from supporters of the ongoing Vietnam War. At the time, the band felt that the song was lighter, with the potential to become a single. Additionally the band's label felt the title track was more marketable as a single. However, the band's visual interpretation of a "war pig" was still featured on the cover; a distorted, eerie photograph of a bearded man with a sword and shield jumping out from behind a tree.
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