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1.6 Paranoia (The Osbournes)


This article is from the The Osbourne FAQ, by Mike L. with numerous contributions by others.

1.6 Paranoia (The Osbournes)

While working on their next album the band released a single called
"Paranoid". The single was very popular, maybe too popular: On October 23,
1970 the band attempts to play the Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle. The crowd
is very drunk and all over the stage and equipment. The band, unsuccessful
in trying to get them off the stage, starts playing their hit single
Paranoid. 70 minutes later the show is done and the band is very upset.
Someone put their foot through one of their big PA speakers, Bill's drum
sticks and cymbals were stolen and a bass drum mic destroyed. The audience
had gone crazy over their new single and Ozzy says, "If it means us having
to give up putting out singles then we will. We want people to listen to
us, not try to touch us. I was really terrified, shocked out of my mind."
This would also be the gig that would give birth to their new song,"Fairies
Wear Boots". While walking down a street some time after the show, the band
was attacked by a group of skinheads. Tony's arm was badly hurt and this
forced them to cancel their next show. Due to the fact the skinheads wore
boots, they decided to make fun of the punks in the song.

It was not uncommon for the band to be verbally abusive if the audience was
not responding properly. If they were talking, the band would just crank up
the music some more. Bands were so loud during this time the Leeds City
Council introduced a "96 decibel law". If any band's music was to rise
above 96 decibels the amplifiers would cut out. Sabbath did not consider
their night's work complete unless they hit at least three cut outs a

The album, 'Paranoid', was recorded in four days once again at
Regent Sound and then released in Jan. 1971. The cover shows a person
running out of a forest with a sword and shield in hand. This seemed to
listeners, a strange representation of being paranoid. The truth is that
the album was to originally be named "War Pigs" (mans constant desire to
have weapons of destruction and killing). The record company objected to
the album title and so it was named after one of the songs. The song "War
Pigs" came about when Sabbath was told tales of horror and war from
soldiers while playing an American air force base. The Paranoid album
reached FIRST place in the UK charts and 12th in American charts. It was
during the span between the Paranoid and Master of Reality albums that Jim
Simpson was fired as the band's manager. The reason for this is will be
discussed in a later chapter.

In 1971 "Master of Reality" was released, charting 5th place in UK
and 8th place in USA song charts. Ozzy also married his first wife, Thelma
Riley and became a stepfather to her son, Elliot. This album would take
an interesting turn with the release of "After Forever" which was clearly a
religious, believe in God, song. The church called this blasphemy. People
disliked the band, perhaps for their After Forever song or perhaps for what
they represented. In any event, 1971 saw some strange events: At a show in
Memphis, their dressing rooms had crosses painted in blood on the walls.
During the show a Satanist jumped on stage with a sacrificial knife. The
local witches coven later gathered outside the band's hotel and Geezer
tried to scare them away with a fake hex. It was also the year that threats
were made that the band would be shot sometime during their US tour. At one
show the lights suddenly failed into their 3rd song and Ozzy stood frozen
solid with fear. The band also included a song titled "Sweet Leaf" which
openly talked about the band's usage of marijuana. The song begins with a
coughing sound (as if someone had just inhaled the drug). In actual fact,
Tony had just finished smoking drugs in a water pipe and the sounds were
included in the final version.

The following year "Volume 4" was released. As with the inverted
cross case and the "War pigs" album title, the record company would again
take authority over the bands wishes. Volume 4 (hence the fourth Sabbath
album) was to have originally been called "Snowblind", another drug
reference. The record company thought this was too controversial and so
they had to change it. The band was becoming involved in hard core drugs by
this time (including cocaine). During the recording of Volume 4, the band
sat around in a Jacuzzi snorting coke all day and would get up every so
often to record a new song. We can see why Snowblind was an appropriate
album title. Not being allowed to use it as an album title, they came up
with this amusing line on the cover sleeve of the record: "Thanks to the
COKE-Cola Company". It was also during this year that Ozzy and Thelma had
their first mutual child, Jessica.


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