A look back at Black Sabbath’s monstrous performance of ‘War Pigs’ live in Paris, 1970
If you’re looking for a reason to get to know Ozzy Osbourne’s band Black Sabbath then you’re in luck because we’ve got an ungodly amount of wattage to back up our point. This monstrous performance of their anti-war song ‘War Pigs’ in 1970 is seven minutes of hellish performance and heavenly sonics—Black Sabbath’s favourite cocktail.
While the final time and place of the concert in which the footage took place are a little hazy with the band (well, they did like a few other cocktails too, chemical or otherwise), what’s crystal clear for anyone who watches the below footage, are the steely foundations they lay down with this early earth-moving performance.
Black Sabbath formed in Birmingham in 1968 and are largely described as the forefathers of heavy metal. Led by legendary frontman Osbourne, the band was comprised of Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, and bassist Geezer Butler. All of the members were capable of bringing down a house on their own but together they were unstoppable.
With their early incendiary projects, the group always dabbled on the edge of danger, pioneering a new way forward for rock and roll and grabbing everyone by the scruff of their neck as they went.
One such performance was recently shared on the group’s YouTube channel with a dazzling quality. The band describe the clip as ‘Black Sabbath performing “War Pigs” live at the Olympia Theater in Paris, France on December 20, 1970’, so while others claim the venue is too small to be the one in the video, we’re going with that as the location of this powerful rendition of ‘War Pigs’.
A few years before the group’s equally earth-shattering drug-taking and in-fighting would render the band creatively spent and ultimately unable to continue. In 1970, Black Sabbath are at the very height of their magnetic powers. With Paranoid having hit the shelves only a few weeks before, the group were on devastating form and tore through the first act of a powerhouse set.
At the midway point, Ozzy leans into the mic and says: “We’ve got a number now called ‘War Pigs’. It’s a number off our new LP. Hope you like it, thank you.”
What happens next is the stuff of legend as Black Sabbath brings the house down with nearly eight minutes of pure fury. Changing the song’s composition and highlighting their musical prowess Sabbath doesn’t compromise on power as Osbourne delivers a gut-swirling vocal capable of turning anyone upside down.
That’s not the end to the musicianship, as Tony Iommi delivers a fiery guitar solo Bill Ward bides his time until he unleashes the kind of performance that could shake the ground beneath you. It’s a brief insight into the burning early beginnings of the forefathers of heavy metal, Black Sabbath.
So, if you ever wondered what all the fuss was about? Why so many people pay homage to Ozzy and his band, then here it is, Black Sabbath’s monstrous performance of ‘War Pigs’ from Paris in 1970.