From Iron Man to Black Sabbath

Being a long time metal head, I knew that when the Marvel comic Iron Man was finally headed to the big screen that the Black Sabbath classic would be used in the film.

It was too obvious not to use it in some capacity. Not only was the main riff from the song used in the trailer, but the last several minutes of the tune were also used to very clever effect over the end credits.

We’ve also seen Stark play up the Sabbath connection by wearing a Black Sabbath tour t-shirt, and according to Blabbermouth, that particular shirt is now selling like hotcakes, thanks to the insane success of The Avengers. The shirt is from Sabbath’s 1978 Never Say Die tour, and it actually beat out Led Zeppelin for classic rock T-shirt sales last year. 

Wearing a silkscreened shirt of your favorite band is a crucial part of the metal head uniform, and as David Lee Roth wrote in his biography, “It became just as important to get the T-shirt as it was to actually have gone to the show. It totally spoke of who you were and where you were going. You saw somebody with a Black Sabbath T-shirt, you knew exactly what that person was.” And as Metallica manager Cliff Burnstein once said, “A kid puts on a Judas Priest or an Iron Maiden or a Motorhead shirt and it makes a statement. Hall and Oates don’t make a statement.” 

If you grew up reading metal magazines like Circus and Hit Parader, there were a number of companies that sold tour shirts if you weren’t able to see the band, and there’s plenty of companies that sell classic rock T-shirts to this day. As one retailer told the Belfest Telegraph, “More often than not, rock T-shirts used to be something you’d wear to gigs to see your favorite bands, but over time demand has broadened and they’ve since become a bit of a fashion statement in their own right.”

And indeed, you often see a lot of people who don’t know sh*t about a certain band, but they wear the shirts because they like the artwork. As the retailer continued, “Some performers can quickly come and go with the trends, but one genre that has an enduring appeal and seems to remain eternally popular with fans is classic rock and metal.” 

It’s also good to see certain shirts are still being reprinted, because otherwise they can be a pain to track down otherwise. As a card carrying metal-head of many years, I had many silk screened band shirts myself, and wore my favorite bands on my chest proudly. It would be hard for me to imagine Tony Stark blasting metal from his ultra hi-tech mansion, but if he wants to sport a Sabbath T, it’s definitely cool with me.