Behind the songs: Black Sabbath - War pigs

War Pigs, written and performed by the legendary heavy metal band Black Sabbath, is a song that has stood the test of time and remains a classic in the genre to this day.

The song, which was released in 1970 on the band's second studio album "Paranoid," is an anti-war anthem that takes aim at the military industrial complex and the politicians who profit from war. The lyrics, written by the band's frontman Ozzy Osbourne, paint a grim picture of the horrors of war and the futility of fighting for "the cause."

The song opens with a powerful riff from guitar player Tony Iommi, which sets the tone for the rest of the track. The lyrics are both confrontational and poignant, with lines like "generals gathered in their masses/just like witches at black masses" and "politicians hide themselves away/they only started the war." Osbourne's vocals are raw and powerful, perfectly capturing the anger and frustration of the lyrics.

War Pigs was a bold statement for the band to make at the time, as they were still relatively unknown and the song's political message was a rarity in rock music during the 1970s. The song however did not released as a single at the time, it gained popularity through album sales and concert performances. However, it's the song's enduring message that has helped it to become one of Black Sabbath's most iconic songs.

The song's anti-war message is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. Wars continue to be fought, and politicians continue to profit from them. War Pigs serves as a powerful reminder of the human cost of war and the need for peaceful solutions to conflict.

Black Sabbath went on to become one of the most influential bands in the history of heavy metal, and War Pigs continues to be a fan favourite and concert staple. The band's combination of heavy riffs, Ozzy Osbourne's distinctive vocals, and lyrics that touched on powerful political and social issues set them apart from their contemporaries and cemented their place in music history. 

War Pigs is not only one of their most iconic songs, but also one of the most iconic songs in rock history.
Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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