"Neon Knights" is a song with lyrics by Ronnie James Dio and music by Dio, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler. It is the first track from their landmark Heaven and Hell album. Although Butler is credited on the album with co-writing all the songs, this is the only one with definite input by him. Butler shared in the book Precious Metal: Decibel Presents the Stories Behind 25 Extreme Metal Masterpieces: "About three or four songs into it [the album], I had some traumatic personal problems back in England and, on top of the change with Ozzy [leaving], I had to get out of there to clear my mind. So I went back to England for a few months."
This song is about English legends of myth and medieval culture. Although it's the first song on the album, it is the last one to be written. It is also the only song from Heaven and Hell to not be recorded in Miami, but in their California Bel Air estate.
This song is the first track on the album and is in a pressure point: for many fans it was the very first taste of Black Sabbath without former lead singer Ozzy Osbourne. Compare it to "Hell's Bells," the first song on Back in Black, which introduced an AC/DC without Bon Scott. Ronnie James Dio had a lot to prove, and the whole band comes through strong.
In the book Precious Metal, Tony Iommi says of the circumstances of Ozzy's departure: "Ozzy wasn't in a fine state of mind and, to be honest, we weren't too far behind him. We were coming up with the music, but Ozzy just couldn't put his head around getting into doing anything on it. So basically it came to the crunch where we decided that we either had to break up or replace Ozzy."
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi wrote in his book Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath: "We felt that we needed a fast number like this to balance out the slower songs on the album. I find that writing fast songs is difficult. I can write slow songs or mid-tempo ones until they're coming out of my ears, but fast songs I really have to think a little more about. I suppose that's because of the way I've always done stuff with Sabbath: most of the things were ploddy."
Mike from AnyrealmYou ever thought Neon Knights lyrics could be a metafore for Neon Nights? If you interpret that way, for me it's quite clear. Big city with bright lights. Has its king and queens, beautiful angels who are descending fast as they let themselves to dark alleys. It's a horrid scene, but you got to love it, the Big City. Despite its agony. But you know you hate yourself for doing it because somewhere, deep inside your consciousness (for some even conscience), you know and feel the misery.
Now, for a songwriter and/or a poet, a text often start with a meaning very clear for the writer. After that starts the poetry. You go deep inside the feeling, unable really to realize it even to yourself. But nevertheless, there you go. And the greater the talent, the more people you can reach, since the insight of a feeling, experience, knowledge or a condition is more universal the deeper it goes and reaches. Which is up to the lyricists or artists talent, capacity and ability to plummet and probe what ever she/he is dealing with at the moment of writing. If you think when the lyrics were written, at the end of seventies/beginning of the eighties when as the synth neon era really blossomed up, and when the hard rock and heavy metal bands alike felt the need to "poodle" them selves, going clubbing and such, where someone like RJD might have felt one of his first bursts of coming of certain age.
Joni from SuomiI think neon knights somehow relates to the Paranoid album's cover art.
Ricky from Killie, United KingdomSabbath were never trendy. Ronnie Dio was writing lyrics like that years before when he started with Rainbow. If there was any 'trend' then he started it. Indeed he got a lot of stick for only writing about kings/wizards/rainbows etc for the rest of his career ! Kiss don't come close to Sabbath or Dio in any way - unless your interested in cereal boxes or trading cards.
Jason from Aurora, CoKISS is not an ACRONYM for anything.
Harry from Sunnyvale, CaI understand the song to be all about love, and the medieval references are metaphors about love. I think the lyricist chose this medieval theme to relate to kids who play the knights and castle games during that time, and it was also popular then because of groups like KISS whose name's anachronem meant "Knights in Service of Satan." Black Sabbath was just being trendy and keeping up with the culture, as any artistic group does.
Jim from Long Beach, CaThis song put Sabbath is a higher realm. Dio was the perfect fit at the time!..RIP Ronnie.
Mark from Grafton, United StatesThe music is great, but the lyrics make no sense at all.
Laurent from Manama, BahrainBrilliant song! Brilliant album. Dio at his finest.
Jeff from Austin, TxYou've gotta be kidding me!! No comments here yet? This song rocks so hard!! Especially 1:08-1:58. Definitely one of the greatest minutes in hard rock history.