Black Sabbath

War Pigs

Composed by Bill Ward / Geezer Butler / Ozzy Osbourne / Tony Iommi

Song Review by

When Black Sabbath started during the late '60s in Birmingham, England, the quartet (singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward) was a reaction against the thriving hippie movement. While the band was definitely "pro-peace," the sunny songs that the majority of rock bands were writing back then didn't really pertain to them -- they came from a bleak, industrial town, and they realized the hippies weren't preventing the senseless Vietnam War from raging elsewhere in the world -- hence, their gloomy lyrics and molten-heavy music reflected this. "War Pigs" (the leadoff song from their classic 1970 release, Paranoid) has become one of the band's most popular songs, serving as one of the best heavy metal songs of all-time. The lyrics dealt with rich, power-mad, and heartless politicians who continued to spread war and hatred (aka "War Pigs"), who finally get what they deserve, while several classic Iommi guitar riffs serve as the song's musical foundation. "War Pigs" remains one of Sabbath's most venomous compositions.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Paranoid 1970 BMG / Noise 7:53
No Image 1972 Tendolar
We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll 1976 Rhino
Live at Last 1980 Noise / Sanctuary
Mob Rules 1981 Universal 7:40
Live Evil 1982 BMG / Noise / Sanctuary 9:19
No Image 1984 Media Records
Seventh Star 1986 Universal
Black Sabbath Greatest Hits 1986 Sanctuary 7:52
No Image 1992 Sanctuary
No Image 1994 Spectrum Music
The Ozzy Osbourne Years 1994 Import
The Metal Box Set 1994
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 7:57
Rocktastic 1994
Various Artists
Between Heaven & Hell 1970-1983 1995 Sanctuary
Under Wheels of Confusion: 1970-1987 1996 Castle/Essential 7:56
Rock Giants 1998 Universal Music
Reunion 1998 Epic 8:27
The Last Supper 1999 Epic / Sony Music
The Best of Black Sabbath [Sanctuary 2000] 2000 Raw Power Records 7:56
Complete 70's Replica CD Collection 2001 Castle Music Ltd.
Past Lives 2002 Rhino 7:37
Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978) 2002 Rhino / Rhino/Warner Bros. 7:56
Never Say Die: Live in 1978 [Video/DVD] 2003 Sanctuary
Simply the Best Guitar Album 2004
Various Artists
Black Box: The Complete Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978 2004 Rhino 7:57
Black and Blue 2005 Universal International
Ozzfest: Tenth Anniversary [DVD/CD] 2005
Various Artists
Clear Channel Radio
Greatest Hits 1970-1978 2006 Rhino / Rrw 7:54
We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 1 2006 Power Sound 2001 10:40
Past Lives, Vol. 1 2007 Earmark 7:36
Timeless Rock Legends 2007
Various Artists
No Image 2007
Various Artists
St. Clair
Live at Hammersmith Odeon 2007 Rhino
The Rules of Hell 2008 Rhino/Warner Bros. 9:19
The Greatest Hits 2009 BMG / Sanctuary / Universal Distribution 7:53
Children of the Sea 2011 Disc Media / IDS
Iron Man: The Best of Black Sabbath 2012 Sanctuary / Sanctuary Records 7:56
Paranoid - Live: Black Sabbath, Live 1970-1978 2012
The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978 2012 Sanctuary
blue highlight denotes editor's pick