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Throwback Thursday – Black Sabbath Album Artwork

Throwback Thursday – Black Sabbath Album Artwork

I don’t think many people in this world hasn’t heard of Black Sabbath. One of most influential bands ever for rock, they are considered to be pioneers of heavy metal music. Even if you are not into this kind of music, there is no way you haven’t heard at least one song of them somehow. One of the greatest hits ever and the classic song to be requested whenever any rock band plays is “Paranoid.”

My “day job” is doing lighting for concerts, events, theater, and last year I was lucky to see these guys from close while working for them on their gig here in Helsinki. After one of the best shows I ‘ve seen the last years, and while we were loading out, I noticed one of the many fans who stayed there trying to get to see the band in person. One of those guys was wearing a shirt of the Paranoid album. I saw that cover many times since my teenage years, but only then it hit me! I  never noticed before that it was created using Light Painting techniques!


The story behind it

I promised myself to check a bit more about this, so some months later, after listening to their songs again, I remembered it again and did a small research about it. Here is the funny story behind it.

Paranoid was the second album by the band. Containing songs that later meant to be hymns for the metal scene like “War pigs”,”Iron Man” and “Paranoid”  the group wanted to name the album “War Pigs“. The band’s record label hired the photographer Marcus Keef to create some artwork for the “War Pigs” title. His version of “War Pigs” was this weird guy with the sword in a glowing suit using long exposure techniques of light painting.

The band’s record label thought, for reasons of political correctness, because of the ongoing Vietnam war, they didn’t want “War Pigs” as the album’s title. They chose Paranoid to be the first single so they decided to go with that as the album title too.

Geezer Butler, the band’s bass player,  said in an interview: “We didn’t like it at all, but the label put it together, so we were stuck with it. The cover was bad enough when the album was going to be War Pigs, but when it was Paranoid it didn’t even make sense.”

You can check the whole article by Brian Wawzenek here


You can find more about Marcus Keef work here 


About The Author

Jannis Sid

Jannis Sid aka Luplof is a greek Light Painter based in Helsinki Finland. Working for 20 years in the entertainment industry as a light designer he has developed a special relationship with light. Light painting since he moved to Finland in 2010, more actively since 2015. In 2017 he founded the LightPaintBox and started this blog.

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