Black Sabbath - War Pigs - 1970

Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" is a monumental song released in 1970, embodying the height of anti-war sentiment during its era. This track, with its heavy riffs and dark themes, not only defined the sound of heavy metal but also conveyed a powerful message against war and the political machinery behind it. Let's delve into the history, lyrics, and impact of "War Pigs."

Introduction to "War Pigs"

"War Pigs" is a song by the English rock band Black Sabbath, appearing on their 1970 album Paranoid. Originally titled "Walpurgis," the song underwent a transformation in both name and lyrical content, reflecting the band's disdain for the Vietnam War and the broader themes of conflict and injustice. The song is known for its heavy guitar riffs, courtesy of guitarist Tony Iommi, and the haunting vocals of Ozzy Osbourne.

Background and Recording

The song was created in a time of significant social and political turmoil, with the Vietnam War at its peak. Black Sabbath members were moved by the scenes of war and its aftermath, which influenced the lyrical content of "War Pigs." Despite its heavy subject matter, the song showcases the band's musical prowess and innovative sound, which would go on to influence countless bands and genres.

Lyrics Analysis

The lyrics of "War Pigs" paint a vivid picture of the horrors of war and the corruption of those who wage it. The song criticizes military leaders and politicians who propagate war while remaining safe from its direct impacts. The powerful imagery and scathing commentary made it an anthem for anti-war movements and solidified its place as a protest song.

Impact and Legacy

"War Pigs" has left an indelible mark on the music industry and popular culture. Its influence extends beyond heavy metal, touching on punk, grunge, and other genres. The song's anti-war message has remained relevant, resonating with new generations of listeners who discover its powerful message.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What was the original title of "War Pigs" before it was changed? (Walpurgis) (!Warlords) (!Electric Funeral) (!Iron Man)

In which album does "War Pigs" appear? (Paranoid) (!Master of Reality) (!Black Sabbath) (!Vol. 4)

Who is the lead vocalist of Black Sabbath who sang "War Pigs"? (Ozzy Osbourne) (!Ronnie James Dio) (!Ian Gillan) (!Tony Martin)

What year was "War Pigs" released? (1970) (!1969) (!1971) (!1972)

What theme is predominantly explored in "War Pigs"? (Anti-war) (!Love) (!Fantasy) (!Religion)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Who is the guitarist of Black Sabbath that created the iconic riffs in "War Pigs"? (Tony Iommi) (!Ritchie Blackmore) (!Jimmy Page) (!Eddie Van Halen)

Which Black Sabbath album features "War Pigs"? (Paranoid) (!Black Sabbath) (!Master of Reality) (!Sabbath Bloody Sabbath)

How did Black Sabbath primarily describe their music? (Heavy Metal) (!Progressive Rock) (!Psychedelic Rock) (!Blues Rock)

What is a unique feature of Tony Iommi's guitar playing, influenced by an accident? (Playing with prosthetic fingertips) (!Using a double-neck guitar) (!Playing left-handed) (!Inventing the dive bomb technique)

Which band member was primarily responsible for the dark themes in Black Sabbath's music? (Geezer Butler) (!Ozzy Osbourne) (!Bill Ward) (!Tony Iommi)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

Which line from "War Pigs" criticizes those who start wars? (Generals gathered in their masses) (!Witches at black masses) (!Fields the body burning) (!Death and hatred to mankind)

What does "War Pigs" liken war politicians to? (Witches at black masses) (!Saints in heaven) (!Soldiers on battlefields) (!Demons dancing)

Which line in "War Pigs" speaks to the aftermath of war? (Fields the body burning) (!As the war machine keeps turning) (!Poisoning their brainwashed minds) (!Politicians hide themselves away)

How does "War Pigs" describe the fate of warmongers? (Politicians hide themselves away) (!They only started the war) (!Making war just for fun) (!Treating people just like pawns in chess)

What is the song's stance on those who are sent to fight? (Treating people just like pawns in chess) (!They only started the war) (!Politicians hide themselves away) (!Witches at black masses)


Term A Walpurgis
Term B Ozzy Osbourne
Term C Tony Iommi
Term D 1970
Term E Anti-war message

Open Tasks


  1. Research the Vietnam War: Explore the context of the Vietnam War and its impact on music of the 1960s and 1970s.
  2. Create an anti-war playlist: Compile a playlist of songs with anti-war themes, including "War Pigs."
  3. Discuss the impact of war on society: Write a short essay or create a presentation.


  1. Analyze "War Pigs" lyrics: Conduct a detailed analysis of the lyrics, discussing the themes of war and peace.
  2. Explore Black Sabbath's musical influences: Research and present on the bands and genres that influenced Black Sabbath.
  3. Compare and contrast "War Pigs" with another protest song: Choose another protest song and compare its themes and musical style to "War Pigs."


  1. Study the evolution of protest songs: Research how protest songs have evolved from the 1960s to the present.
  2. Create your own protest song: Write lyrics for a protest song inspired by "War Pigs" and record it if possible.
  3. Interview veterans or peace activists: Conduct interviews to gather perspectives on the impact of war and the role of music in protest.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the role of music in social movements: How has music like "War Pigs" contributed to social and political movements?
  2. Analyze the influence of "War Pigs" on heavy metal: How did "War Pigs" contribute to the development of the heavy metal genre?
  3. Compare the anti-war messages in music across decades: How do songs from different eras address war and peace?
  4. Evaluate the relevance of "War Pigs" today: Is "War Pigs" still relevant in today's political and social climate? Why or why not?
  5. Explore the artistic elements that contribute to the power of protest songs: What makes a protest song effective and memorable?

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