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BLACK SABBATH's GEEZER BUTLER Says The Term "Heavy Metal" Was Originally Sarcastic

He also discusses how "Iron Man" is about Jesus.

blacksabbath geezer butler
Photo by Stefan Brending

Thanks to Black Sabbath's second-ever United States tour, and one American journalist who wasn't a fan, we have the term "heavy metal." According to bassist Geezer Butler in an interview with Eddie Trunk Podcast, the phrase was originally a sarcastic one penned by a reviewer who thought their music sounded like a "bunch of heavy metal being smashed together." Butler said the term made it back over to England and the rest is history.

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"When we were on tour in America, I think it was the second tour in the [United] States. I read this review, and the guy said 'this isn't music. It sounds like a bunch of heavy metal being smashed together.' Somehow that got over to England, and from then on it was like the sarcastic thing they used to apply to us – 'this isn't music, it's a load of heavy metal being smashed together.' And for some reason we got stuck with it."

Elsewhere in the interview, Butler discussed how Black Sabbath's 1971 hit "Iron Man" was heavily inspired by Jesus. Butler said the lyrical concept of the song largely follows the plot of Jesus' death and return, though with the main difference being that Iron Man is a more vengeful person.

"It was sort of based on Jesus Christ. He's like, this guy and goes and does good, and then he comes and tries to spread the word and ends up being crucified for telling the truth. And that was Iron Man seeing the future and coming back to tell the world how horrible it's gonna be, and people turn against him. Whereas Jesus died to save people, Iron Man takes his revenge. That's the big difference."

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