War Pigs

  • This song is about man's desire to kill and destroy. Sabbath got the idea from war stories they heard when they did a show at an American Air Force base during a tour of Europe. They wrote the song when they were in a grim deserted place in Zurich where they were playing for a small sum of money to an even smaller audience. (Source: Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath)
  • The original name for the song was "Walpurgis," which is a festival with origins in Paganism and Witchcraft. Ozzy released the original version on his 1997 album The Ozzman Cometh. Click the lyrics link above to view the words. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Matt - Langhorne, PA
  • The band wanted to use this as the title of the album, but the record company thought it was too controversial and made them use "Paranoid," another song on the album, instead.
  • This is one of many Black Sabbath songs that is often misinterpreted as evil. The song speaks out against the horrors of war.
  • On the US albums, this is listed as "War Pigs/Luke's Wall." "Luke's Wall" is another name for the end of the song.
  • On the 1994 Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity In Black, Faith No More contributed a live cover version. Faith No More also covered this on their 1989 album The Real Thing. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Aimee - Auckland, New Zealand
  • War Pigs has been used as the name of various Black Sabbath tribute bands. We found one in Australia and another in Long Island, NY.
  • Ozzy's former guitarist Zakk Wylde did a cover of this song after he went solo. Other artists who did covers: Slaves on Dope, Pig, Ether, Faith No More, Weezer, Boss Tweed, Red House Painters, Members Only, Badlands, Soulfly, Vital Remains, Ween, Sheavy, Gov't Mule, Phish, Sacred Reich, Alice Donut, Flores Secas, Banda Arie, and Flores Secas. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for above 2
  • This song is used for an encore in the video game Guitar Hero II for Playstation 2 and Xbox 360. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mass, MA
  • When the Sacramento band Tesla recorded this in 2007, lead guitarist Frank Hannon added a peace of Jimi Hendrix flavored "The Star Spangled Banner" to start the song." It is the final track on Tesla's Real To Reel 2-disk cover album, which is a tribute to Tesla's mentors. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Robin - Orangevale, CA
  • The song starts with the lyric, "Generals gathered in their masses. Just like witches at black masses." Bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler was asked during a 2013 interview with Spin magazine why he used "masses" twice rather than coming up with a different word. "I just couldn't think of anything else to rhyme with it," he admitted. "And a lot of the old Victorian poets used to do stuff like that - rhyming the same word together. It didn't really bother me. It wasn't a lesson in poetry or anything."
  • The song soundtracked a TV spot previewing the 2014 movie, 300: Rise Of An Empire.
  • The song was inspired by the Vietnam War. Geezer Butler recalled to Mojo in 2017: "Britain was on the verge of being brought into it, there was protests in the street, all kinds of anti -Vietnam things going on. War is the real Satanism. Politicians are the real Satanists. That's what I was trying to say."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 65

  • Rob from San Antonio, TexasRosco - If your post was meant to be ironic, it's hilarious. If it was serious ... just ... wow.

    Also, Paranoid is one of the greatest albums ever.
  • Jodie from XxThere is no god.
    This song is f--king great.
    Black Sabbath are not evil.
  • Crayola from Knoxville, TnI was always told this was a Satanic song, but it's actually an anti-war song. The devil puts evil thoughts into men's heads and it makes them go to war. When the world comes to an end, if the ones who caused war don't repent, they will go to hell. Not that war isn't necessary at times. Would God have us stand by and let an evil monster like Al Asad gas his own people? At the end of the song when he sings, "Satan laughing spreads his wings . . ." As a Christian, I believe the devil is tickled to death when war happens. In every war there is death and destruction. The devil loves that.
  • Ken from Philadelphia, PaLest we forget, war to the average Brit of Ozzy's generation is VERY different than it is to the average American. Britain was bombed relentlessly during the war and most of its major cities received serious bomb damage. It took decades to rebuild. Everybody, old and young, served in some capacity directly in the war effort and it was a rare family, indeed, that did not have at least one, if not several, relatives killed or severely wounded during the war. Heck, Britain remained on a strict rationing program well into the 1950s, whereas, Americans stopped rationing, pretty much the day the war ended, and immediately started building houses, cars and TVs for the returning GIs to buy. In other words, growing up in Birmingham in the 1950s meant that the boys in Black Sabbath really knew what war was... not because they'd read about it or learned about it in school, but because they lived with the very impacts all around them every minute of every day.
  • Michael from Santa Cruz, CaProbably a dumb question,but is the band's name after the Mario Bava directed/Boris Karloff starring anthology film of the same name?
  • Rosco from St. Clair, Mohey lance! ur one dumb sob. the brit is right. YOUR the reason ppl think america is dumb. im going into the ear_rack as u so colorfully misspronouced it and i dnt appreciate u running ur mouth. or mayb ur mind will change if they fly a plane into ur house? huh? what do u think?
  • Alan from Rock!!!!!!!!!!!, TxI am a christian an I like this song.
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandLance, Malibu, CA:
    the reason people think Americans are dumb is because they al;ways claim to be correct when - like you - they're not. The American way to pronounce Iraq is "eye-rack" and the English way is "eerack" and IRAN is "eye-ran" and "eeran" respectively...
  • Marley from Springfield, NjI remember listening to this in my car when I was four years old. It rocked! This is probably my favorite Black Sabbath song, the riffs are just hypnotizing.
  • Thomas from Somerville, AlI'll never forget a confrontation with my Dad over this song. He is and was a devout Jehovahs Witness. I was listening to this album in my room one day and all he heard from the other end of the house was "just like witches at black masses". He barreled into the room, grabed the vinyl off the turntable, yelled about demons and witches and Black Sabbath and smashed my new record on the table. I left home a week after and never went back. Closed minded so-called christians with narrow thought processes.
  • Kurt from Evansville, InThis song has been covered by many bands. One of my favorite covers is the bluegrass version by Hayseed Dixie.
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InYet another tremendous badass song from the ultimate badass band.
    This one may well be my favorite from the boys, great lyrics, fantastic instrumentation, and - oh yeah - Ozzy sounds so freakin' scary that he would make the meanest pro wrestler run away, yipping like a scalded dog.
    And, yes, it is clear from the lyrics that this is a non-evil song, that condemns needless killing and only mentions Satan as the ultimate destination for the guilty who start wars for their own selfish purposes.
  • Robert from Los Angeles, CaThe beauty of art is that thte interpretation is in the mind of the individual. you can interoret it many different ways. i agree that system of a down bite and are wanna be sabbaths. the are totally unoriginal. this som=ng can't be more relevant to iraq because it wasn't written about iraq. the war in iraq wasn't even a thought yet. black sabbath has roots in christian religions, not in satanism. ozzy is a sick twisted mother and that's why everyone gives the band a band a bad rap. either way, this song and the band rock.
  • Austin from Smallsville,new England, --Lance their are stupid people everywhere.
  • Michael from Oxford, -This is by far my favourite Black Sabbath song. And - sorry to say this - Harry doesn't know what he's talking about.
  • Angela from Wilson, NcWhoever wrote the 1st fact knows nothing of the song. "This is about man's desire to kill and destroy." Know, its not. At least not the version they have listen here.
  • Lance from Malibu, CaHas nothing to do with witchcraft, satanism or any of that other crap! It is about the horrors of war. There is a video on Youtube that plays this song over footage of the very illegal war in Iraq. BTW it is pronounced ear-rock not friggin' "Eye-Rack". And it's "Ear-Ron" not
    "I-ran". If we are going to invade places then learn how to friggin' pronounce them. No wonder everybody else thinks Americans are dumb. Sorry for the rant, I just get worked up sometimes.
  • Benoz from Uranus, AustraliaGood song, the lyrics are definatley about how polititions sit on their ass and cause trouble and then send their people out to fight in wars... and that when they die and get judged, no matter how much they beg, they will be sent to hell for the trouble they caused....

    whoever said SOAD was like sabbath, theyre totally different, and both good bands, except one sings about political stuff and the other sings about his cock :)
  • Ramon from Den Bosch, Netherlands"War Pigs"is about the people (Politicians and so on) who send the other people (the soldiers) to war while they themself are hiding away in there office and homes,and don't really care about he man and woman who are getting killed during the war(s)
    Untill the time the GOD is is calling Judgment Day,and they are begging to for HIM to have mercy on the them
    But because of all the deaths they are responible for its satan who has the laugh on them.

    That is what the song is about.
  • Matt from New Castle, NhWhen I was a kid this song gave me nightmares. But then a few years ago, right after the US invaded Iraq, I started hearing it on the radio occasionally, and it really rocked.
  • Randell from Sydney, AustraliaI love this song!Black Sabbath rocks!!
  • Zac from Sydney, Australiathis song is great and system of the down is but a hair on the ballsak of sabath

    amen to that but sabbath as to bs
  • Jqy from Houston, Utthis song is great and system of the down is but a hair on the ballsak of sabath
  • Carol from Chesterton, Inyeah this song talks about the evils of war and how we go to war and die to make the rich richer and the Politicians how started the war are truly evil and greedy and they get judgement in the end for thier evil deeds. totaly originally about the Vietnam War

    "Now in darkness world stops turning
    Ashes where the bodies burning
    No more war pigs have the power
    Hand of God has struck the hour
    Day of judgement, God is calling
    On their knees the war pig's crawling
    Begging mercy for their sins
    Satan laughing spreads his wings
    All right now!"
  • Nora from N/a, Fli saw black sabbath back in '05 at ozzfest, they were amazing ! Ozzy was so sick with bronchitis, but he came out and did one hell of a show !!! It-to this day amazes me how the entire crowd of like 30,000 or bigger just was mesmerized by ozzy and a trance fell over everyone ! i will never forget how the crowd chanted along to "war pigs" SIMPLY AMAZING... I WILL NEVER FORGET IT !!
  • Dj from Assland, Ohi think war pigs only works for one band and that is sabbath no one else cake may have tried to re do it but it will never be as good and it doesnt really apply to iraq because bush is doing things to at least try to help them out over there in vietnam the president wasnt trying to do things to help america
  • Amanda from Wabash, InWe are learning about the Viteman war and i immeditly thought of this song. Cake has done a remake that people either love or hate, either way I fell that War Pigs also applies to our war in Iraq.
    -Amanda Wabash,IN
  • N.i. from Baltimore, MdThis has always been my favorite Black Sabbath song. Even without paying any attention to the lyrics, the music is just wonderful. But I've also noticed how eerily relevant the lyrics (originally about the Vietnam War) are today. It is a mystery to me why Michael Moore didn't play this song in "Fahrenheit 9/11," since the line about political leaders leaving the fighting to the poor fits perfectly with the movie's theme. Perhaps he couldn't get permission.
  • Lou from Some Where In Ky., KyIf one reads in the Bible in Revelations they,ll see where Ozzies getting at. Perhaps hes actually talking about war against the wicked. Yes, maybe its hard to believe but read the book of Revelation in the Bible and it talks exactly about what Ozzy says. And the part about Satan is positively true. Lou in ky.
  • David from Youngstown, OhGreat, great song. It's so unique and awesome drumming. There's no doubt this song is an anti-war song, specifically an anti-Vietnam War song. Anyone who thinks otherwise probably has less brain cells left in their head than Ozzy.
  • Joaquin from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
    One of the best sabbath songs. can't get tired of it. the four members can reunite again when they are 80, play this song, and still rock!!
  • Wil from Milwaukee, WiThis song is even more relevant today w/ the war in Iraq than it was about 'Nam!!!! GREAT F___IN' TUNE!!!!!!!!!!
  • Steve from MarkhamSimply put - CLASSIC
  • Joe from Perkasie, PaNEVER,NEVER,NEVER compare System of a Down to Black Sabbath, AND never say there the new Sabbath there is one Sabbath and no one can EVER mimic there dark, evil-like songs...EVER
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaI think this basically says that the government are a bunch of ignorant idiots that have no right to make war, and karma's gonna come back and bite 'em in the a**. And they deserve to get back all that they've inflicted upon Earth and its residents. Everyone go thank the war pigs when we're all nuked.
  • Thomas from Latham, NySystem of a Down are wannabe sabbaths...they wish they were as good as black sabbath was, they try to copy their songs because they are posers, and they can't make any songs themselves, also, even though sabbath was heavy metal, its not as heavy as system of a down, its just dark and evil, and about sticking it to the man, drugs, and about being antisatanist, but people always thought they were satanists.
  • Robert from Powder Springs, GaIt starts out explaining about the masses of corrupted generals and military and government officials gathering and plotting plans against the people, and the "war machine starts turning", as they begin to carry out their devious plots. They send others out to fight while keeping themselves safe, and the song continues to build on the corruption and coldness of politicians today. At the end of the second versish thing, it foreshadows their fate "time till tell on their power minds" and "wait till their judgement day comes". At the end it shows their day of dying, the judgement day, and god descends to judge them. They plead and act like they have meant well, and beg for mercy, but their is none to be given on them, and, basically, they go to hell. "Satan laughing spreads his wings"
  • James from Hazlet , Nmhas any one ever heard the other lyrics on the comith of ozz
  • Marc from Niagara Falls, Canadathis song kicks soo much a$$ bill ward is an amazing drummer especially in the song rat salad.
    the Walpurgis version is just a little bet better though for sum reason but other then that its a good tune.
  • Michael from Springfield , MoOzzy Trivia: Ozzy's parents took him to cemetaries for picnics. They ate spam sandwiches.
    Ozzy's grandfather had one tattoo. A snake that the head began on his head and went down the length of his body, along a leg to his foot.
  • Jacob from Cbd, PaAnyone ever notice the striking similarities between War Pigs and System of a Down's BYOB? I think it is really fantastic. System is sort of a new Black Sabbath with less drugs in my opinion.
  • Jason from Salem, MoThis song is about how everybody is fighting each other..it is not evil like some people seem to think
  • Dude from Tampa, FlThe was the best "Anti-Vietnam" song ever written and can be applied to all wars. Anti-Vietnam because you have to remember the song was written in 1970, during the height of that very unpopular war.
  • Phil from Niagara Falls, Canadathis song=pure pwnage=D
  • Ravyn from Hell, Nysimple: about politicians who send innocent victims into war.
  • Mike from Carmel, MeThere's more evidence of the 'evolution' of the lyrics during the Paris '70 show... available as boot or as a European import.
  • Ben from Purdys, NyI saw Black Sabbath do this live yesterday at Ozzfest '05 it was ****ing amazing.
  • Robert from Chicago, Ilthis is about war, if you think its about something else, either you have no interpretation of songs or you try to overanalize things. I love Black Sabbath, i know more about them than anyone should (just a wee bit obsessed), but to be honest they are stoner music. No deep root meaning to find in Black Sabbath.
  • Deadzeppelin from San Francisco, CaIt's all about PEACE man.
  • Ian from New York, NyI actually saw a band preform this song live. It was only Vocals, Drums, and Piano which made for a very interesting preformance. The drummer did an amazing job on it too. The Dredsen Dolls
  • J-raff from Boston, MaThis is one song that really shows how awesome Bill Ward was. These drums are crazy... and quite hard to imitate.
  • Tim from Calgary, CanadaIt's a common fact that Sabbath kicks ass... this song cements it.
  • Michael Picard from Lapwai, IdOnce you hear the power chords and sirens you have to listen to this. This was the first Black Sabbath song I ever heard. My Grandpa bought me a Paranoid Tape when I was five. So I've been hooked on Sabbath for ten years. One of my favorites. Same with Walpurgis.
  • John from Oslo, NorwayThe best in the song is the Guitar ending.I dont know i i can call it the solo in the song.
  • Jim from Oxnard, CaThe song "War Pigs" is about war and destruction caused by man. "Walpurgis" was originally intended as a joke by Butler, but Ozzy was the only one who took it seriously, and even after the "Paranoid" album was recorded, Ozzy sang the "Walpurgis" version in concerts, which pissed off the other three. Apparently Ozzy liked the lyrics a lot. And the only place to get the song is in the 2002 "Ozzman Cometh" greatest hits compilation, which still lists it as "War Pigs." But other than that, the song is only 15 seconds longer than the 1971 song "War Pigs."
  • Jade from Chippewa Falls, WiThis song will never be played on any Christain radio station. This was one of my favorite songs and the guitars are excellent.
  • James from Bransgore, EnglandHe meant he was about to say something about Zakk Wilde - not that the song was about him.
  • Dan from T.c, Miandrew...let me ask you a question...how could this song be about zakk wylde when this was recorded by black sabbath years before ozzy would meet zakk? to those of you who refer to this as walpurgis...good job, you know you're stuff, to those who think it is about war or other random crap...educate yourselves...
  • Charles from New York, NyKevin Hearn and Thin Buckle do a great cover of this on the album "Nightlight". They give it a bluegrass feel, which is really cool.
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandThis song isn not about Zakk Wylde, nor is it about Satan, it's about how, in war, generals will always stick in their homes or garrisons and use their soldiers to fight - much like pawns in chess (as in the line "treating people just liike pawns in chess...).
  • Carlos from W.warwick, RiHere are the correct words to WALPURGIS the original version of WAR PIGS:

    Witches gather at black masses
    Bodies burning in red ashes
    On the hill the church in ruin
    Is the scene of evil doings
    It?s a place for all bad sinners
    Watch them eating dead rats? innards
    I guess it?s the same, wherever you may go
    Oh lord yeah

    Carry banners which denounce the lord
    See me rocking in my grave
    See them anoint my head with dead rat?s blood
    See them stick a stake through me
    Oh

    Don?t hold me back cause I just gotta go
    They?ve got a hold of my soul now
    Lords got my brain instinct with blood obscene
    Look in my eyes I?m there enough
    Yeah

    On the scene a priest appears
    Sinners falling at his knees
    Satan sends out funeral pyre
    Casts the priest into the fire
    It?s a place for all bad sinners
    Watch them eating dead rats? innards
    I guess it?s the same, wherever you may go
    Oh lord yeah
  • Matt from Savannah, Moyes your right here are the lyrics to walpurgis


    Witches gather at black masses
    Bodies burning in red ashes
    On the hill the church in ruin
    Is the scene of evil doings
    It's a place for all bad sinners
    Watch them eating dead rats' innards
    I guess it's the same whereever you may go
    Oh Lord yeah

    Carry banners which denounce the lord
    See me rocking in my grave
    See them anoint my head with dead rat's blood
    See them stick the stake through me
    Oh

    Don't hold me back cause I've just gotta go
    They've got a hold of my soul now
    Lords got my brain instinct with blood obscene (not sure about this line)
    Look in my eyes I'm there enough
    Yeah

    On the scene a priest appears
    Sinners falling at his knees
    Satan sends out funeral pyre
    Casts the priest into the fire
    It's the place for all bad sinners
    Watch them eating dead rats' innards
    I guess it's the same whereever you may go
    Oh lord yeah

    and aslo the album was to be called war pigs also but was changed to paranoid due to hostillaties they would have recieved due to the vietnam war
  • Don from Philadelphia, PaBest song ever made. The guitars are great.
  • Andrew from Sacramento, CaAbout Ozzy's former Guitarist, Zakk only left for not even a year. He is right now with Ozzy. Just thought you might like to know
  • Brett from Edmonton, CanadaThe last verse is amazing. BTW, songs like this and "After Forever" say a lot about the band's practically Christian religious beliefs and opinions of God. BTW, "Luke's Wall" is amazing [and my current MSN name :)]. "Satan, laughing, spreads his wings..."
see more comments

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.

Lip-Synch RebelsSong Writing

What happens when Kurt Cobain, Iron Maiden and Johnny Lydon are told to lip-synch? Some hilarious "performances."

Joan ArmatradingSongwriter Interviews

The revered singer-songwriter talks inspiration and explains why she put a mahout in "Drop the Pilot."

Kerry Livgren of KansasSongwriter Interviews

In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian OrchestraSongwriter Interviews

Writing great prog metal isn't easy, especially when it's for 60 musicians.

Rosanne CashSongwriter Interviews

Rosanne talks about the journey that inspired her songs on her album The River & the Thread, including a stop at the Tallahatchie Bridge.