"Iron Man" is a song by British heavy metal band Black Sabbath It is taken from their second studio album Paranoid released in 1970. It was later included on their initial greatest hits compilation We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll (1976), as well as all subsequent greatest hits compilations.


 [hide*1 Writing and recording

Writing and recording[edit]Edit

[1][2]The Iron Man riff. [3] Play (help·info)

The song was originally entitled "Iron Bloke", a title conceived by vocalist Ozzy Osbourne.[1] Upon hearing the main guitar riff for the first time, Osbourne remarked that it sounded "like a big iron bloke walking about".[2] The title was later changed to "Iron Man", with Geezer Butler writing the lyrics around the title.

Despite the song's title, it bears no connection to the Marvel Comics superhero character Iron Man, which was created and first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39, March 1963, seven years prior to the song's publication. However, after the popularity of the 2008 film Iron Man, this connection was made when the fictitious character of Iron Man mentions that he took inspiration from the song.

Butler wrote the lyrics as the story of a man who time travels into the future, and sees the apocalypse. In the process of returning to the present, he is turned into steel by a magnetic field. He is rendered mute, unable verbally to warn people of his time of the impending destruction. His attempts to communicate are ignored and mocked. This causes Iron Man to become angry, and have his revenge on mankind, causing the destruction seen in his vision.[3] The vocal effects on Osbourne's opening line, "I am Iron Man", were achieved by having him sing from behind a metal fan.[4]


This was the second Black Sabbath single in the US, but it was not released as a single in England. It got very little radio play in the US, but developed a cult following, which led to enough sales to give it a chart position.

A new version was included on the 1998 Reunion album. It won the Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 2000. Black Sabbath would win the same award fourteen years later with "God Is Dead?".

Ozzy recorded a new version of this for the 1994 Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black. Ozzy also recorded a version of this with Busta Rhymes in 1998 for Bustas's album Extinction Level Event (Final World Front). The track was renamed "This Means War". The version with Busta Rhymes was included on the Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black II. On his 2001 song "Get Me Through", Ozzy referenced this in the line, "I'm not the antichrist or the Iron Man".

In the film School of Rock, this is the first riff that Dewey (Jack Black) teaches the guitarist, Zack (Joey Gaydos, Jr.), along with "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple and "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC.

In 2007 Nissan used this in commercials for their pickup trucks.

The common misconceived tie between the song and the comic book character was spoofed in the 2008 film Iron Man. The film's novelization goes on to also state that the song is Tony Stark's favorite, hence why he picked the title to baptize his superhero alter-ego.

Frank Zappa once surprised members of Black Sabbath by covering this song with his own band at a gig that Sabbath attended.[5]

Awards and chart position[edit]Edit



In other media[edit]Edit

  • In the Marvel Comics universe, it is implied through retcon that Tony Stark named his superhero identity Iron Man after the song, as he claims he was a fan of the band as a child. The song itself is featured in the 2008 Marvel Studiosfilm Iron Man (closing credits), its initial trailer and the video game tie-in. In reference to the song, Stark wears a Black Sabbath t-shirt throughout the crossover film The Avengers.
  • Sometimes plays in the main menu of Forza Motorsport
  • It is featured in 1999 movie Detroit Rock City.
  • It is featured in 2005 biographical movie Dogtown and Z-Boys.
  • Live performance of it was featured in the program Beat-Club.
  • A shorter but faster cover version is featured in the 2005 music video game Guitar Hero.
  • It is featured in the episode "For Better or Verse" of American TV series Beavis and Butt-Head. Also appears as an air guitar chant in the episode "Plate Frisbee" and the short "Frog Baseball".
  • It is featured in the episode "That Wrestling Show" of American television period sitcom That '70s Show.
  • It is featured in the episode "Bills are Made to be Broken" of the American animated sitcom King of The Hill.
  • It is featured in the episode "The Deer Hunters" of the American television series Gilmore Girls.
  • It is featured in the episode "Anthology of Interest I" of American animated science fiction sitcom Futurama.
  • Main character Dewey Finn (Jack Black) plays its guitar riff to Zack Mooneyham (Joey Gaydos, Jr.) in 2003 movie School of Rock, in order to teach him about rock music.
  • An episode of Duckman ("Apocalypse Not") features the titular character singing the opening line while going on a self-indulgent rampage of destruction.
  • It is featured in The Simpsons episode "The President Wore Pearls", sung by Nelson Muntz. Nelson sings "I am Iron Man! Do do do do do do do vote for me!".
  • Wrestling tag team The Road Warriors used "Iron Man" as their entrance theme song while working in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).
  • In the online game Marvel Super Hero Squad Online one of Iron Man's abilities is to play a one second part of the song.
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