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Song of the Moment: Iron Man

B-side: "Electric Funeral"
Released: October 1971
Format: 45 RPM
Length (Single): 3:33
Length (Album): 5:56

Wikipedia Excerpt: "Iron Man" is a signature song of Birmingham (United Kingdom) heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath. It was first released on their second album Paranoid (1970) and 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. Many musical acts have recorded cover versions of the song, and the song is frequently used and referenced during sporting events and in television shows and films. Trailers for the 2008 feature film Iron Man, as well as the film's closing credits, have portions of this song.

The lyrics concern a champion of humanity who travels Time, presumably to ensure "the future of Mankind" - his original mission was to save our species. We learn that this champion unfortunately encountered a "Great Magnetic Field," turning him into steel and rendering him immobile. He has been in this state for so long that humanity has forgotten his original identity and his original mission. Rather than hailing him as a hero, the human race now regards him as an oddity, little more than an enigmatic statue from another age. The first few lines of the song are the musings of curious passersby, wondering if he's alive or dead, if he can see, if he can move, et cetera. Although the exact nature of his transformation is not elucidated, we know that Iron Man is not solid steel, but is in perhaps an organic/inorganic state, in which he can still perceive the physical world and can still think, but cannot take action. Because humanity has forgotten everything he's done for them in the past, Iron Man has grown increasingly bitter and plans his vengeance upon the ungrateful human race. Evidently, his bizarre state of suspended animation is only temporary - when Iron Man regains his freedom to move, he "kills the people he once saved" in a dreadful manner.

The title of the song was conceived by Ozzy Osbourne; As a child Ozzy would spray paint Ironman and Ozzy Ironman everywhere he went. Geezer Butler took to writing the lyrics around the title, but was careful not to make it about the comic book character so as to avoid a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Trivia: Sir Mix-a-Lot sampled "Iron Man" as a rap song in the late '80s on his album Swass.

Stats:
* #310 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
* The #1 spot on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs in 2006.
* Highest charts position was #52 in 1971.

The Movie: The song is not - wink - related to the comic book character, though it's used in the closing credits of the new movie.

Songfacts Excerpt: This is about a man who travels through time and sees the end of the world. On his way back to Earth to warn the human race, he goes through a magnetic storm and is turned to iron. Nobody believes him about the end of the world and he gets mad, taking his rage out on the human race, thus bringing about the end of the world that he saw.

Lyrics:

Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all,
Or if he moves will he fall?
Is he alive or dead?
Has he thoughts within his head?
Well just pass him there
Why should we even care?

He was turned to steel
In the great magnetic field
Where he traveled time
For the future of mankind

Nobody wants him
He just stares at the world
Planning his vengeance
That he will soon unfold

Now the time is here
For iron man to spread fear
Vengeance from the grave
Kills the people he once saved

Nobody wants him
They just turn their heads
Nobody helps him
Now he has his revenge

Heavy boots of lead
Fills his victims full of dread
Running as fast as they can
Iron man lives again!

Video:

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See also Invincible Iron Man #1.



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Posted on May 23, 2008


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