"Crank it up now!" Black Sabbath's Paranoid passes one billion streams on Spotify

Black Sabbath in 1970
(Image credit: Chris Walter/WireImage via Getty Images)

The Black Sabbath song Paranoid has been streamed one billion times on Spotify.

The Birmingham-based band, often considered the founding fathers of the heavy metal genre, announced that their 1970 track crossed the threshold in social media posts yesterday (March 4).

They wrote on Instagram: “Paranoid has joined the Billion Plays Club on Spotify. Crank it up now!”

Bassist Geezer Butler, who co-founded Black Sabbath in 1968, also commented: “Thanks to everyone who made the song Paranoid a member of Spotify’s billion club, with over one billion streams.”

Paranoid is credited as being composed by the entirety of Black Sabbath’s original lineup – Butler, guitarist Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne – and was released as the lead single of the album of the same name in August 1970. 

In a 2023 interview with BBC Radio 4, Iommi reflected on the writing of the song and admitted that it was done out of necessity at the last minute, due to the album not being long enough.

“We were in the studio doing the Paranoid album,” the guitarist remembered (transcribed by Blabbermouth).

“The other guys went out for something to eat, and I sat in the studio, and [the album’s producer, Rodger Bain] said, ‘We need another song. We haven’t got enough songs on the album. Can you put one together?’ I went, ‘Well, no.’

“We were only in there for a couple of days, you see,” Iommi continued. “And I said, ‘Well, I don’t know. I’ve never written a three-minute song.’ Sabbath’s always [written songs that were] five minutes or six minutes [long]. So I came up with this idea and waited till the others came back from the pub. And then I played them the idea. And, basically, we’d done it there and then.”

Paranoid is Black Sabbath’s first song to reach the billion-streams landmark on Spotify, putting it in a club also populated by such metal hits as Metallica’s Enter Sandman, Linkin Park’s In The End and Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life.

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Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.