Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler Had Other Polarizing Title in Mind for ‘God Is Dead?’
Black Sabbath have fielded their fair share of questions about the eyebrow raising title ‘God Is Dead?’ for the lead single, but the song almost had another title that most definitely could have had a few temperatures boiling.
Ozzy Osbourne tells Shortlist.com, “I was in a doctor’s office and there was a magazine in there with that line on the cover. I thought, ‘Yeah — people flew planes into the World Trade Center because of God, there’s all this f—ing s— going on in the world in the name of God.”
Bassist Geezer Butler then added, “Ozzy gave me that line and I wrote the lyrics. I wanted to call the song ‘American Jihad.’” Osbourne laughed, telling the bassist that there was no way that was going to happen with him up front having to sing it. He added, “I would have had a f—ing army after me. ‘And now we’re gonna play … ‘American Jihad’ [mimicks gun noises, mimes slumping to the ground]. I’m not worried about assassination, I just hope that if it happens, the bloke’s a good shot and I don’t feel any pain. [laughs].”
Speaking about controversial titles and backlash, Osbourne stated that it’s something that’s come with the territory. He recalls, “In the early days, there was a lot of backlash from religious groups. I remember once in Memphis there was a knock at my hotel room, and there were all these [Christian] kids outside with candles burning. I beckoned them towards me and just went, ‘Happy birthday to you!’ I was sent letters written in blood. I must have 25 f—ing Bibles, each with a marked-up passage that [the sender] wanted me to read.”
While ‘God Is Dead?’ has generated some controversy with the title, the band has pointed out that the question mark is in the moniker for a reason, leading to conversation and interpretation of the topic at hand.