BLACK SABBATH's 'Paranoid' Surpasses One Billion Streams On SPOTIFY

March 4, 2024

BLACK SABBATH has joined Spotify's "Billions Club" with the band's classic song "Paranoid".

Billions Club is a playlist first launched in 2020 which includes all of the songs on Spotify that have surpassed one billion streams on the platform. After the achievement, Spotify gifts artists the Billions Club plaque.

"Paranoid" joins other tracks — including METALLICA's "Nothing Else Matters", AEROSMITH's "Dream On", SURVIVOR's "Eye Of The Tiger", ABBA's "Dancing Queen", PAPA ROACH's "Last Resort", GUNS N' ROSES' "Paradise City", EVANESCENCE's "Bring Me To Life" and Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" — to reach the achievement. The milestone has reportedly been achieved by nearly 500 songs so far.

During a November 2023 appearance on BBC Radio 4's "Loose Ends" program, BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi was asked if he remembered writing the guitar riff to "Paranoid". He responded: "I can remember that one for sure. We were in the studio doing 'Paranoid' album, and the producer said… The other guys went out for something to eat, and I sat in the studio, and he said, 'We need another song. We haven't got enough songs on the album. Can you put one together?' I went, 'Well, no.' We were only in there for a couple of days, you see. And I said, 'Well, I don't know. I've never written a three-minute song.' SABBATH's always [written songs that were] five minutes or six minutes [long]. So I came up with this idea and waited till the others came back from the pub. And then I played them the idea. And, basically, we'd done it there and then."

Three years ago, Iommi told Planet Rock that "Paranoid" was "done as a filler. We had never done a three-minute song before … and it's amazing what it did."

Widely regarded as one of the greatest heavy metal songs of all time, "Paranoid" reached No. 4 on the U.K. singles chart and number 61 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

"The only thing in them days for us with 'Paranoid' was it attracted a different audience to what we were used to," Iommi told Planet Rock. "We saw a lot of screaming girls and things, which we weren't used to at the gigs. And we were doing [the U.K. TV show] 'Top Of The Pops' and stuff like that. It was attracting a different audience to what we were expecting, and people would come in to hear the band play, who didn't know us. They only heard 'Paranoid' on TV and thought, 'Well, let's go and see them.' And of course, they ended hearing 'Iron Man' and all of the rest and thought, 'Oh my God. What's all of this?'"

In a 2004 interview with Guitar World magazine, BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler said that the "Paranoid" album was recorded "in about two or three days, live in the studio. The song 'Paranoid' was written as an afterthought. We basically needed a three-minute filler for the album, and Tony came up with the riff. I quickly did the lyrics, and Ozzy [Osbourne] was reading them as he was singing.

In the liner notes to SABBATH's "Reunion" album, Butler said that the music to the "Paranoid" title track was written "in five minutes, then I sat down and wrote the lyrics as quickly as I could. It was all done in about two hours."

Regarding the lyrical inspiration for "Paranoid", Butler said: "['Paranoid' is] about depression, because I didn't really know the difference between depression and paranoia. It's a drug thing; when you're smoking a joint, you get totally paranoid about people. You can't relate to people. There's that crossover between the paranoia you get when you're smoking dope and the depression afterwards."

In February 2017, SABBATH finished "The End" tour in Birmingham, closing out the quartet's groundbreaking 49-year career.

"The End" was SABBATH's last tour because Iommi — who was diagnosed with lymphoma in late 2011 — can no longer travel for extended amounts of time.

Iommi revealed his cancer diagnosis in early 2012, shortly after SABBATH announced a reunion tour and album. He underwent treatment throughout the recording of the disc, titled "13", and the subsequent tour to promote it.

The BLACK SABBATH guitarist successfully underwent an operation in January 2017 to remove a noncancerous lump from his throat.

"13" was the first album in 35 years to feature Iommi, Osbourne and Butler all playing together.

Bill Ward was on board for the SABBATH reunion when it was first announced 11 years ago, but backed out soon after. The drummer later claimed that he sat out the recording and touring sessions because of unfair contractual terms, although the members of SABBATH have hinted in other interviews that he wasn't physically up to the task.

All four original members of SABBATH were present when the band announced its final reunion in late 2011. But Ward split from the group in 2012, citing an "unsignable" contract, and Osbourne, Iommi and Butler carried on with their Rick Rubin–produced "13" LP and extensive international touring without him.

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