'Paranoid' redux

A couple of weeks ago I got my third copy of Black Sabbath’s 1971 classic Paranoid. It was something like 30 years ago I bought the vinyl edition; replaced it much later with a relatively poor sounding CD; then recently got the newly remastered version.

In line with other remastered re-releases (i.e. Ten ), the newly beefed-up Paranoid disk sounds much clearer and sharper than the original CD release. Along with a cleaner sound, the re-release features the long sought after quadraphonic mix of the album, as well as alternate versions of most of the album’s tracks.

Most interesting of these alternate versions – many of which are just instrumental tracks – is "Paranoid" itself. The story behind this song is that Sabbath basically rushed it together as filler for the album. “There was some spare tape left,” drummer Bill Ward said in an interview with the Shropshire Star newspaper. “So we said let’s see if we can get another song and we all went down the pub which is the best place to work – well, it was then – and when we got back Tony had got a really, really good riff.”

The original lyrics are very different from the classic we now know: “Why are you on my mind all day long / I can't think straight no more.” The alternate version of “Paranoid” is about an obsessive love, whereas the final version is about paranoia and loss of hope (although I'm sure someone can connect the topics...). I’ve heard the original so many times that hearing alternate lyrics sounds like someone trying to force a square peg into a round hole. It just don’t fit.

Paranoid (alternate lyrics).mp3
Paranoid (original).mp3

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At 4:30 AM , Blogger rodsmine said...

I agree - I didn't even listen to half of the song before deleting it. It's not just that I'm used to the original lyrics, the alternate lyrics do indeed sound forced. Then again, it seems to me that most alternate versions are not as good as the original releases...


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