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  1. #1

    Default Swinging The Chain

    I love this song, but I always wondered what it's about especially this line...

    Let us cast our minds back
    To thirty years or more
    You took up all the vandals
    Well Hitler beat `em all
    "I've seen the future and I've left it behind"

  2. #2
    Wicked Cricket's Avatar
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    I think it's pretty straight forward, breaking the chain of tyranny, supression,, and who was the worlds biggest tyrant 30 yrs or more ago from the time the song was written? Why Hitler beat 'em all

  3. #3

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    I agree, a great great song, i love Bill's rough vocals on it as well, sounds abit like a demo IMO. But the lyrics i think are about "Hitler" he mentions them in the lyrics, just about War in general, but who know's? Geezer was on alot of heavy substances back then, so he probably didn't even know what he was writting about!

  4. #4
    Destino's Avatar
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    Oh, so it was Geezer who wrote the lyrics? I always assumed it was Bill.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wicked Cricket View Post
    I think it's pretty straight forward, breaking the chain of tyranny, supression,, and who was the worlds biggest tyrant 30 yrs or more ago from the time the song was written? Why Hitler beat 'em all
    I understand that part, but I think the line that really makes me wonder is

    we're sad and sorry but why did you have to treat him that way?

    What's that? Sympathy for Hitler? That doesn't make sense.

    I love the song though.
    "I've seen the future and I've left it behind"

  6. #6
    Wicked Cricket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce Frehley View Post
    I understand that part, but I think the line that really makes me wonder is

    we're sad and sorry but why did you have to treat him that way?

    What's that? Sympathy for Hitler? That doesn't make sense.

    I love the song though.
    Sympathy for Ozzy more like it!

  7. #7

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    It's been one of my favorite songs as of late, for sure!

  8. #8
    Wicked Cricket's Avatar
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    I would love to hear Ozzy singing lead on this song, it would sound very much like something off the first album, a blues rocker with harmonica, Bill does a good job over all, but Ozzy would have added a darker more menacing sneer for sure.

  9. #9
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    I always thought it was about Ozzy as well. I don't know why. A lot of the lyrics in the verses can speak of the problems they were having with Ozzy for sure. The line is actually "We are sad and sorry but why did you have to treat US that way." I think they are talking about Sabbath.

    In fact when Bill is singing the outro after the harmonica solo I could swear he says:

    Oh the whole world's still on fire
    Take and hold me tight cause John's a liar

    I was actually going to start the exact same thread.
    Religion won't save me
    The damage is done
    The future has ended
    Before it's begun
    - Damaged Soul - Black Sabbath

  10. #10

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    Swinging the Chain

    It's against my uniform
    To be a civil judge
    All the songs are history now
    `Bout rock stars and their grudge
    Let us cast our minds back
    To thirty years or more
    You took up all the vandals
    Well Hitler beat `em all

    And we're sad and sorry
    Really sorry that it happened that way
    Yes we're sad and sorry
    But why'd you have to treat us that way

    Compare ourselves with others
    And cover them in sin
    Oh, God what a terrible
    A terrible state we're in
    There must be some way out of here
    A compromise that's right
    If we cannot work it out
    We're gonna have to fight

    Yes we're sad and sorry
    Really sorry that it happened that way
    Yes we're sad and sorry
    We cannot go on in those days

    I'm talking about my brothers
    Yeah, I'm talking `bout sisters as well
    I wish you good luck
    Good luck!

    Oh, but the world's still on fire
    Chain the hope you take on, liar
    This fire
    We're on fire, we're on fire, yeah...

  11. #11

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    I started a thread because I misheard a lyric. Well, disregard it. I do however, love this song and love singing along to it. I love Bill's vocal.
    "I've seen the future and I've left it behind"

  12. #12
    Drago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by svullo View Post
    Chain the hope you take on, liar
    This fire
    We're on fire, we're on fire, yeah...
    Man I have been loving this song lately. I thought I would reboot this thread. There is no way that Bill is saying the Chain the Hope line. I think he is clearly saying "Take and hold me tight cause John's a liar." Still think this song could have been about Ozzy leaving after the TE album. Any thoughts?
    Religion won't save me
    The damage is done
    The future has ended
    Before it's begun
    - Damaged Soul - Black Sabbath

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drago View Post
    Man I have been loving this song lately. I thought I would reboot this thread. There is no way that Bill is saying the Chain the Hope line. I think he is clearly saying "Take and hold me tight cause John's a liar." Still think this song could have been about Ozzy leaving after the TE album. Any thoughts?
    I think its funny because I can hear a mix of what both of you guys are saying. Sounds like he says "chain the hope, johns a liar" or something like that. lol. Oh ambiguity, dontcha love it. Ozzy did refuse to sing the song for whatever that means.
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce Frehley View Post
    I love this song, but I always wondered what it's about especially this line...

    Let us cast our minds back
    To thirty years or more
    You took up all the vandals
    Well Hitler beat `em all
    Well Hitler beat `em all
    According to the Black Box lyrics (which I believe Geezer double-checked himself), that line actually goes "Will Hitler beat 'em all?"

    Thoughts on it...

    Honestly, that line of lyrics dealing with Hitler confuses the shit out of me :/ I tried to look up the song on SongMeanings.com to see if anyone could interpret what that could possibly mean...sadly, I found nothing. I REALLY hope it's not actually advocating for him...I dunno...kinda does sound that way...but then again...I'd like to think it's not WANTING Hitler to "beat 'em all"....just asking if he WILL beat 'em all...as in if he's even capable of that hypothetically. I'm leaning towards the latter...but I'd be lying if I said Black Sabbath is 100% above fucking up here and there...so I wouldn't even put it past them to praise Hitler, as much as I want to give them the benefit of the doubt on that...it's pretty confusing to me :[
    ♫Forget all your sorrow, don't live in the past,
    and look to the future, 'cause life goes too fast, you know♫

  15. #15

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    I take it as a juxtaposition or like a warning basically saying "don't become just another Hitler."

    Based on the history of the Vandals it's a safe guess it means don't recklessly accept or trust people or they may destroy you from within. I don't think it's praising Hitler, but merely stating that instead of risking trouble inside Germany he killed or drove them all out. Which would make sense in context with the chorus. Being sorry that's what happened. I dunno I'm just speculating at this point.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeLazar View Post
    I take it as a juxtaposition or like a warning basically saying "don't become just another Hitler."

    Based on the history of the Vandals it's a safe guess it means don't recklessly accept or trust people or they may destroy you from within. I don't think it's praising Hitler, but merely stating that instead of risking trouble inside Germany he killed or drove them all out. Which would make sense in context with the chorus. Being sorry that's what happened. I dunno I'm just speculating at this point.
    Wow, thank you very much for this interpretation for the stuff re: Hitler in this song!
    Most of it makes sense to me, as of this time at least!

    I think I can now rest easy listening to what I consider a fantastic song all around otherwise!
    ♫Forget all your sorrow, don't live in the past,
    and look to the future, 'cause life goes too fast, you know♫

  17. #17

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    There are old rumors that "Swinging the Chain" was played LIVE on a few dates of the Never Say Die Tour. A great dream of mine to be able to listen someday a record of this. Never Say Die album is a favorite of mine, absolutely lifechanging.

  18. #18
    Billy Underdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geelerm View Post
    There are old rumors that "Swinging the Chain" was played LIVE on a few dates of the Never Say Die Tour. A great dream of mine to be able to listen someday a record of this. Never Say Die album is a favorite of mine, absolutely lifechanging.
    Soo, with Ozzy on vocals, then?
    95% of everything i say is pure bullshit just for the fun of it. The other 95% is damn serious!
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  19. #19

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    Probaly not or only instrumental. But who knows? I never saw that gigs on bootleg circles.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by 70sOzzyBlackSabbah! View Post
    According to the Black Box lyrics (which I believe Geezer double-checked himself), that line actually goes "Will Hitler beat 'em all?"

    Thoughts on it...

    Honestly, that line of lyrics dealing with Hitler confuses the shit out of me :/ I tried to look up the song on SongMeanings.com to see if anyone could interpret what that could possibly mean...sadly, I found nothing. I REALLY hope it's not actually advocating for him...I dunno...kinda does sound that way...but then again...I'd like to think it's not WANTING Hitler to "beat 'em all"....just asking if he WILL beat 'em all...as in if he's even capable of that hypothetically. I'm leaning towards the latter...but I'd be lying if I said Black Sabbath is 100% above fucking up here and there...so I wouldn't even put it past them to praise Hitler, as much as I want to give them the benefit of the doubt on that...it's pretty confusing to me :[
    "Advocating" Hitler?

    I think you're confusing your musical interests. Was this meant for the OT thread about Magma?

    Jesus H. Christ Almighty, you just cannot make this stuff up.

    Look, the lyrics you're referencing refer to the hypocrisy of the British Empire.

    Man ...

    I hope you don't come back trying to defend even the possibility of such nonsense. The lyrics in no way can be interpreted in this manner.

    And as a side note, Geezer approving the lyrics to Black Box doesn't mean the printed lyrics were without error. As I've pointed out before, Geezer in the reunion years was thinking they were playing "Spiral Architect" live for the first time. A song they likely played dozens of times on the Sabotage tour. These guys lived this stuff. They aren't on the outside looking in like all of us. They don't remember every detail of this stuff any more than most of us probably remember what we had for dinner before our first time getting laid.
    Last edited by Jeff; 09-15-2017 at 03:45 PM.
    "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
    -WTB

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    And as a side note, Geezer approving the lyrics to Black Box doesn't mean the printed lyrics were without error.
    The official Black Sabbath site now has the line printed in the black box as "You took up all the vandals" fixed so the line reads:

    You talk of all the vandals

    An interesting point about this track is that it was one that was written with Dave Walker. It's possible he may have written the lyrics down on paper, or he may have just improvised them while they were rehearsing. Who knows what Sabbath had to work with when they went into the studio. They may have had to transcribe them from recordings, and after hearing Dave on Juniors Eyes I can imagine that would have been tough to get the lyrics right. My point is that it's possible that some of the final recorded lyrics my be misrepresented because they were misheard.

    Also, if Geezer did not write these lyrics, and they were not written down anywhere, when Geezer ok'ed the lyrics for the black box, he would have just had to assume they were correct.

    On a side note, I used to always think the line "Compare ourselves with others" was "We fed ourselves with uppers"

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollerjoint View Post
    The official Black Sabbath site now has the line printed in the black box as "You took up all the vandals" fixed so the line reads:

    You talk of all the vandals

    An interesting point about this track is that it was one that was written with Dave Walker. It's possible he may have written the lyrics down on paper, or he may have just improvised them while they were rehearsing. Who knows what Sabbath had to work with when they went into the studio. They may have had to transcribe them from recordings, and after hearing Dave on Juniors Eyes I can imagine that would have been tough to get the lyrics right. My point is that it's possible that some of the final recorded lyrics my be misrepresented because they were misheard.

    Also, if Geezer did not write these lyrics, and they were not written down anywhere, when Geezer ok'ed the lyrics for the black box, he would have just had to assume they were correct.

    On a side note, I used to always think the line "Compare ourselves with others" was "We fed ourselves with uppers"
    I hear the line more along as follows: You talk of all the battles. Well Hitler beat 'em all. And we're sad and sorry. Sorry that it happened that way ...

    Talk of all the vandals makes zero sense. Vandals were an East-Germanic tribe whose Kingdom ended sometime around the year 534. Hitler "beating" Vandals would have necessitated him travelling back in time by about 1400 years.
    "It is not opinion that Ozzy peaked on Sabotage, it is a measurable fact."
    -WTB

  23. #23

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    This thread was revived? Oh no! It was all because I misheard a lyric and never bothered to actually look it up and see what it was. Doh!
    "I've seen the future and I've left it behind"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geelerm View Post
    There are old rumors that "Swinging the Chain" was played LIVE on a few dates of the Never Say Die Tour. A great dream of mine to be able to listen someday a record of this. Never Say Die album is a favorite of mine, absolutely lifechanging.

    not on any boot i have ,and theres is a lot of them on that anniversary tour ,you know when talking to bill ,he could'nt even remember the name of song ,he know "it's alright" ,i had to tell him name of song ,quite a few times ,i think he sees it as a throw away ,cuz ozz refused to sing

  25. #25
    Billy Underdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesline View Post
    you know when talking to bill ,he could'nt even remember the name of song ,he know "it's alright" ,i had to tell him name of song ,quite a few times ,i think he sees it as a throw away ,cuz ozz refused to sing
    That's a shame, cause he's doing some great vocals there, and it's a swinging tune.
    95% of everything i say is pure bullshit just for the fun of it. The other 95% is damn serious!
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  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
    Vandals were an East-Germanic tribe whose Kingdom ended sometime around the year 534. Hitler "beating" Vandals would have necessitated him travelling back in time by about 1400 years.
    Man, I'd like to hear that song! :-)

    Sounds like High On Fire or Mastadon.

  27. #27
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    "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOOOO~~~~" (Bill's voice)
    Do you hear the thunder raging in the sky?
    Premonition of a shattered world that’s gonna die.
    In the age of reason, how do we survive?
    The protocols of evil ravaging so many lives?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geelerm View Post
    There are old rumors that "Swinging the Chain" was played LIVE on a few dates of the Never Say Die Tour. A great dream of mine to be able to listen someday a record of this. Never Say Die album is a favorite of mine, absolutely lifechanging.
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesline View Post
    not on any boot i have ,and theres is a lot of them on that anniversary tour ,you know when talking to bill ,he could'nt even remember the name of song ,he know "it's alright" ,i had to tell him name of song ,quite a few times ,i think he sees it as a throw away ,cuz ozz refused to sing
    I agree with Mike, it is not on any of my bootlegs either, and definitely not on any circulated recording. Pretty sure that rumour was bullshit, but of course I'd prefer it weren't.

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