“Iron Man” is a song by British rock 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; The single version was included on the Greatest Hits 1970–1978 album.
Upon hearing the main guitar riff for the first time, vocalist Ozzy Osbourne remarked that it sounded “like a big iron bloke walking about”. The title became “Iron Man”, with Geezer Butler writing the lyrics around the title.
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 in the future and of the impending destruction. His attempts to communicate are ignored and mocked. This causes Iron Man to become angry, and drives his revenge on mankind, causing the destruction seen in his vision.
The song won spot number 317 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The song peaked at number 52 on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.
VH1 ranked the song as the greatest heavy metal song of all time.