BLOW IT OUT YOUR OZ: 9/17/17
Throughout the entire month of ‘Sabb’tember I will be serving up songs from significant releases by Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Dio, Black Label Society and others off the Sabbath Family Tree!
With the release of Blizzard of Ozz, on Sept. 20, 1980, Ozzy Osbourne initiated one of the most improbable career comebacks in rock history, silencing scores of unbelievers who felt the former Black Sabbath singer could never make it on his own. Ozzy himself was one of those doubters! After being fired by Sabbath, in April 1979, his self-esteem was so low that he would waste months wallowing in self-pity, sequestered in a seedy L.A. motel, while continuing to indulge in his numerous vices. In the end, it took an outcast of similar proportions – future manager and, later, wife, Sharon Arden — to come to Ozzy’s rescue, at a time when she was looking to break ranks with her father, legendary manager Don Arden (who, coincidentally was in charge of Black Sabbath’s ongoing career). Ozzy and Sharon saw something in each other no one else did: hope. And so they started searching high and low for accomplices also willing to take a chance on Ozz. Though the going was tough at first, they eventually hit the jackpot in soon-to-be-former Quiet Riot guitar prodigy Randy Rhoads, who amazed Ozzy with his formidable musical talents and songwriting abilities.
“Crazy Train” was the first single from Ozzy Osbourne’s debut solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, released in 1980. A live version of the song recorded in 1981 from the album Tribute was also released as a single in 1987 with an accompanying music video. The song was originally written by Ozzy, Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley. The subject matter of the lyrics is the Cold War and the fear of annihilation that existed during this period. “Crazy Train” has become of course, one of Ozzy’s most well know or signature songs and a staple of rock radio playlists and sporting events over the years.
“Mr. Crowley” is one of two singles released from the Blizzard of Ozz album, with “Crazy Train” being the first. The song was inspired by a book about Aleister Crowley which Ozzy had read and a deck of tarot cards that were found in the studio as recording of the album was commencing. Crowley was an English occultist and ceremonial magician who had founded the Thelemite religion in the early 20th century. Again the song was written by Ozzy, guitarist Randy Rhoads, and bass guitarist/lyricist Bob Daisley.
At the time of the album’s recording, the band itself was billed as ‘The Blizzard of Ozz’, and the album was intended to be credited to the band with Ozzy’s name in smaller print. But when it was released the words ‘Ozzy Osbourne’ were in bigger print than ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ which made it look like an Ozzy album called that.
Blizzard of Ozz — gave Ozzy exactly what he needed to silence his critics and counter Sabbath’s own rebirth behind Ronnie James Dio. Blizzard wouldn’t perform as strongly out of the gate for lack of promotional support but it would ultimately win the marathon! It was a commercial success, being certified 4x Platinum in the U.S., a feat Ozzy would not achieve again until the release of No More Tears in 1991. The album has sold over 6 million copies to date worldwide, making it Ozzy’s best-selling solo album. The songs have remained the backbone of Ozzy’s legendary solo career, and it is considered by many as a true heavy metal classic! And just this past year it was ranked 9th on Rolling Stone’s list of “100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time”!