Song Meaning and Background of Paranoid by Black Sabbath
"Paranoid" is a song by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in 1970 from their second studio album of the same name.
Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler told Guitar World magazine in 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.”
"Paranoid" eventually became 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.
"Paranoid" drew controversy for apparently encouraging suicide, much like the song "Suicide Solution". Particularly, the lyric "I tell you to enjoy life" was misheard as "I tell you to end your life".
The song reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and number 61 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Lyrics of Paranoid by Black Sabbath
Finished with my woman 'cause she couldn't help me with my mind
People think I'm insane because I am frowning all the time
All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy
Think I'll lose my mind if I don't find something to pacify
Can you help me occupy my brain?
I need someone to show me the things in life that I can't find
I can't see the things that make true happiness, I must be blind
Make a joke and I will sigh and you will laugh and I will cry
Happiness I cannot feel and love to me is so unreal
And so as you hear these words telling you now of my state
I tell you to enjoy life I wish I could but it's too late