BLACK SABBATH's Original Manager: Using 'War Pigs' In Trailer For 'Napoleon' Movie Was A Masterstroke
November 7, 2023
A variation of BLACK SABBATH's classic song "War Pigs" is featured in the latest trailer for Ridley Scott's upcoming historical epic "Napoleon".
"War Pigs" plays throughout the trailer, which has already been viewed more than 17 million times on YouTube since it was released by Apple Original Films and Sony Pictures Entertainment on October 18.
"Napoleon" will first be released exclusively in theaters worldwide, in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment, on Wednesday, November 22, before streaming globally on Apple TV+.
Directed by Scott from a screenplay by David Scarpa, "Napoleon" stars Joaquin Phoenix as the French emperor and military leader. The film is an original and personal look at Napoleon's origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine, played by Vanessa Kirby. The film captures Napoleon's famous battles, relentless ambition and astounding strategic mind as an extraordinary military leader and war visionary.
Jim Simpson, BLACK SABBATH's original manager, told Westside BID that using "War Pigs" in the trailer was a masterstroke.
"The ultimate proof of SABBATH's enduring appeal is that they still have an army of fans all around the world across many different age groups and cultures.
"In the trailer for a film set more than 200 years ago, you can hear a crystal-clear Ozzy [Osbourne] singing Geezer's [Butler] lyrics in the anti-war song 'War Pigs': 'Generals gathered in their masses, just like witches at black masses…' and it sounds absolutely perfect.
"Like Beethoven, Mozart and all of the other great composers, you can imagine SABBATH's made-in-Birmingham music will still be played and appreciated in 200 or more years’ in the future, too."
In October 2022, Geezer lamented the fact that his lyrics to "War Pigs" "remain relevant" more than 50 years after they were originally written.
The now-74-year-old British-born musician made the comment while praising a cover version of "War Pigs" from Mike Geier, a.k.a. giant unhappy clown Puddles Pity Party.
Geezer took to his Twitter to share a link to the Puddles Pity Party rendition of the track, and he included the following message: "Great rendition. Sad that my lyrics remain relevant. - maybe megalomaniacs like Putin should have another listen."
Butler previously said that he was inspired by the Vietnam War when he penned "War Pigs", which says that military leaders and politicians are the real Satanic forces.
"The Vietnam war was scaring the hell out of everyone," Butler told Australia's Wall Of Sound in a 2020 interview. "There was a real sense of it turning into World War III. Australia and New Zealand were dragged into it, and as we were allies in Britain, we fully expected to be dragged into it, and that gave me the inspiration for 'War Pigs'."
Butler recalled to Mojo in 2017: "Britain was on the verge of being brought into [the war]. There was protests in the street, all kinds of anti-Vietnam things going on.
"War is the real Satanism. Politicians are the real Satanists. That's what I was trying to say."
"War Pigs" starts with the lyric, "Generals gathered in their masses. Just like witches at black masses." Butler was asked during a 2013 interview with Spin magazine why he used "masses" twice rather than coming up with a different word. "I just couldn't think of anything else to rhyme with it," he admitted. "And a lot of the old Victorian poets used to do stuff like that — rhyming the same word together. It didn't really bother me. It wasn't a lesson in poetry or anything."
"War Pigs"'s original title was "Walpurgis", which is a festival with origins in Paganism and witchcraft, according to Songfacts. Ozzy released the original version of the song on his 1997 album "The Ozzman Cometh".
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