“I’m gonna commit sacrilege by joining in”: Watch Brian May join Tony Iommi to jam Black Sabbath’s Paranoid

What’s better than one guitar legend? Two guitar legends, of course.

Brian May and Tony Iommi play Black Sabbath's Paranoid

Image: Guitar World via YouTube

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Guitar icons Brian May and Tony Iommi have joined forces in a new video where they deliver a blazing performance of the Black Sabbath classic Paranoid.

The surprise team-up arrives as part of the new Sky Arts documentary series Greatest Guitar Riffs. “I’m sitting down with my mate, Brian, to talk riffs,” Iommi narrates at the start of the clip. “We first met in the early ‘70s and we’ve been best friends ever since.”

May then asks the Sabbath legend where all his great riffs come from, to which the latter replies, “I think it’s within. Normally, we’d jam around and play something, and Ozzy [Osbourne] would go, ‘What the fuck’s that?’ It just feels right.”

In the case of Paranoid, Iommi reveals that the track was a last-minute addition Black Sabbath’s second album of the same name, saying: “We didn’t have enough songs to fill the album, so the producer said, ‘We need another song’. [He said], ‘It can’t be any more than two and a half minutes.’ We’ve never written anything less than bloody five minutes!”

“The others had gone out to have something to eat. I came up with this riff, so when they got back I played them this idea of Paranoid. It’s basic. It’s not technical by any means. What I’ve always done is, not try and play anything that’s flash. I play things that I think is right for the song.”

The clip then concludes with the pair delivering an impressive rendition of Paranoid with their guitars – the Red Special for May, and an SG-style replica of his ‘Monkey’ SG special for Iommi.

“I’m gonna commit sacrilege by joining in,” the Queen guitarist teases before laying an impressive solo while Iommi plays the main riff. And at the end of the jam, May jokes that “It is a good riff,” adding that “It will go far.”


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