Blizzard of Ozz

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Blizzard of Ozz
Studio album by Ozzy Osbourne
Released 20 September 1980
Recorded 22 March − 19 April 1980
Genre Heavy metal, hard rock[1]
Length 39:31
Language English
Label Jet
Producer Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley, Lee Kerslake
Ozzy Osbourne chronology
Blizzard of Ozz
(1980)
Diary of a Madman
(1981)
Singles from Blizzard of Ozz
  1. "Crazy Train"
    Released: 20 September 1980, 22 August 1995 (re-issue), 31 May 2011 (Legacy Edition re-issue)
  2. "Mr. Crowley"
    Released: 20 September 1980

Blizzard of Ozz is the debut solo album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, released on 20 September 1980 in the UK and on 27 March 1981 in the US. The album was Osbourne's first release following his 1979 firing[2] from Black Sabbath.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[4]
Uncut 3.5/5 stars[5]

Background[edit]

Blizzard of Ozz is the first of two studio albums Osbourne recorded with guitarist Randy Rhoads prior to Rhoads' death in 1982.[6] The album was a commercial success, being certified 4x Platinum in the U.S., a feat Osbourne would not achieve again until the release of No More Tears in 1991.[7] The album has sold over 6,000,000 copies to date worldwide, making it Osbourne's best-selling solo album. In the UK, it was the first of four Osbourne albums to attain Silver certification (60,000 units sold) by the British Phonographic Industry, achieving this in August 1981. It also ranked 13th on a Guitar World readers poll.[8] Osbourne readily admits that at the time the album was being recorded, he felt he was in direct competition with his former band, Black Sabbath.[9]

Much of the album was written by Rhoads, bassist Bob Daisley, and Osbourne in a live-in rehearsal facility in Monmouth[10] with a friend of Osbourne's named Barry Screnage performing as the group's drummer.[10] Screnage was never considered as a candidate to be the group's permanent drummer and he was not involved in the songwriting process at all.[10] The band recorded demos of the songs "I Don't Know", "Crazy Train", "Goodbye to Romance", and "You Looking at Me Looking At You" in Birmingham in early 1980 with ex-Lone Star drummer Dixie Lee. The band had hoped Lee would be a permanent member but "he wasn't the final piece of the puzzle", bassist Daisley recalls.[10] After auditioning several drummers, ex-Uriah Heep member Lee Kerslake was hired as the band's permanent drummer, and the completed lineup retreated to Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire for six days to rehearse and give Kerslake an opportunity to learn the new songs.[10] A week later, they traveled to Ridge Farm Studio to commence recording.

The group was named The Blizzard of Ozz before a management decision was made to credit the album solely to Ozzy Osbourne

At the time of the album's recording, the band itself was billed as The Blizzard of Ozz,[10] and the album was intended to be credited to the band with Osbourne's name in smaller print. According to Daisley, "When the album was released the words 'Ozzy Osbourne' were in bigger print than 'The Blizzard of Ozz' which made it look like an Ozzy Osbourne album called 'The Blizzard of Ozz'. Randy (Rhoads) was never one to rock the boat. He knew he was in a situation which was a good opportunity for him being relatively unknown, so when Lee (Kerslake) and I were ousted, Randy had no allies and the act became 'Ozzy Osbourne' and no longer a band."[11] Rhoads felt that he and Daisley were contributing the vast majority of the songwriting and arranging, and he had no interest in performing in a backing band for someone he felt wasn't contributing as much.[12] Drummer Kerslake has maintained that Rhoads almost left the band in late 1981, due to his displeasure. "He didn't want to go (on tour with Osbourne). We told him we were thrown out. He said he was going to leave the band as he did not want to leave us behind. I told him not to be stupid but thanks for the sentiment," the drummer later recalled.[13] Entertainment attorney Steven Machat, who was involved in the deal Osbourne signed with Jet Records, said in his 2011 book Gods, Gansters and Honour: A Rock 'n' Roll Odyssey that Osbourne's soon-to-be manager and wife Sharon Arden was not happy with the level of creative input that Rhoads, Daisley, and Kerslake had in the Blizzard of Ozz album and did not want them to share the credit.[14] Album producer Max Norman concurs that Daisley and Kerslake made considerable songwriting contributions during their time in the band, while also noting that the Osbourne camp "might want to dispute that now."[15]

Though Sharon has said that the recording of Blizzard of Ozz was one of the best experiences of her life, she was actually in Los Angeles during recording and not yet involved with the band. Osbourne's then-wife Thelma was actually present at Ridge Farms Studios for much of the recording.[12]

Osbourne performing in support of Blizzard of Ozz in Cardiff, Wales

The album tracks "Crazy Train" and "Mr Crowley" were released as singles in 1980. Crazy Train went on to peak that year at number 9 on Billboard's Top Tracks chart. In January, 2009, the song achieved a 2× Platinum certification status.[7] Though it received little radio airplay upon its initial release, "Crazy Train" has become one of Osbourne's signature songs and a staple of classic rock radio playlists over the ensuing years.[16]

The first track written for the album was "Goodbye To Romance". Osbourne has stated that the song was his way of saying goodbye to Black Sabbath, as he had thought his career was over after leaving the band.[17] After performing a show in Birmingham, the band hastily returned to Ridge Farm to remix "Goodbye To Romance" for a single. The next morning they were informed that Jet Records wanted a new song to release instead as a single.[10] Rhoads, Daisley, and Kerslake quickly put together the song "You Said It All", with drummer Kerslake performing the guide vocal at soundcheck while a drunken Osbourne slept under the drum riser.[10] The song was ultimately never recorded, though a live version was released on Ozzy Osbourne Live EP in 1980. The final track written was "No Bone Movies", which was originally intended to be used only as a B-side but was added to the album in order to give Kerslake a writing credit, as all the other material had been written before he joined the band.[12] Keyboardist Don Airey claims that parts of "Revelation (Mother Earth)" as well as the intro to "Mr. Crowley" were written by him in the studio, though he never received writing credit for these contributions.[18]

Chris Tsangarides was originally hired to produce the album, with Max Norman to serve as studio engineer. Osbourne and the band were very unhappy with Tsangarides' production and he was fired and replaced by Norman, who stepped in to complete producing and engineering.[15] Norman's production work on Blizzard of Ozz is uncredited, though he did go on to produce all of Osbourne's albums prior to 1986's The Ultimate Sin.[19]

Blizzard of Ozz was controversially re-released in 2002 with the original bass and drum tracks replaced by newly recorded parts from bassist Robert Trujillo and drummer Mike Bordin; however, the original bass and drum tracks were reinstated for the 2011 release due to public outcry. A box set featuring both re-issued albums, the Blizzard of Ozz/Diary of a Madman 30th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set, was released, featuring both CD re-issues, 180-gram LP Vinyl versions of both albums (original album only), the "Thirty Years After the Blizzard" DVD Documentary, over 70 minutes of additional rare live performances and interviews, a replica of Ozzy's iconic cross, and a 2 sided poster.[20]

Controversy[edit]

Suicide Solution[edit]

The song "Suicide Solution" has met with its share of controversy, most notably the October 1984 suicide of John McCollum, a depressed teenager who shot himself in the head allegedly after listening to the song. The boy's parents sued Osbourne and CBS Records for "encouraging self-destructive behavior" in young persons who were "especially susceptible" to dangerous influences (McCollum et al. v. CBS, Inc., et al.). In his defence, Osbourne stated in court that when the song was being written the words "Wine is fine but whiskey's quicker..." came to him suddenly and were a reflection not on the merits of suicide but rather on the death of AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott, a friend of Osbourne's who had recently died of alcohol-related misadventure. Bob Daisley, who wrote the majority of the song's lyrics,[21] has stated that he actually had Osbourne's own substance abuse issues in mind when he composed the song.[22] The McCollums' complaint was dismissed on the grounds that the First Amendment protected Osbourne's right to free artistic expression.

2002 reissue[edit]

In 1986, Daisley and Kerslake sued Osbourne for unpaid royalties, eventually winning songwriting credits on Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. Subsequently, a 2002 reissue was made of these albums which replaced Daisley and Kerslake's original bass and drum parts with new parts recorded by Osbourne's then-current drummer Mike Bordin and bassist Robert Trujillo. The 2002 reissue also included new backing vocals from a pair of singers named Mark Lennon and John Shanks.

Osbourne's wife and manager, Sharon later stated that it was Ozzy, not she, who was responsible for the decision to re-record the parts, stating "because of Daisley and Kerslake's abusive and unjust behavior, Ozzy wanted to remove them from these recordings. We turned a negative into a positive by adding a fresh sound to the original albums."[23] However, Osbourne contradicted this claim in his 2009 autobiography, stating that the decision to re-record the original bass and drum parts was strictly Sharon's decision, and that "I didn't have anything to do with that decision."[24] He said his wife "just snapped" and had it done without his knowledge.[24] He also stated that "a sticker was put on the covers telling everyone about it",[24] though in fact the sticker was not initially placed on the re-issue and was only placed on the covers at a later date due to fan outcry over the altered recordings.

In 2003, Daisley and Kerslake's lawsuit was dismissed by the United States District Court in Los Angeles. This dismissal was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[25] With regard to the reissue, Ozzy stated to The Pulse of Radio, reiterating a conversation with Sharon,[26] "You know what, whatever the circumstances were, I want the original thing back." The 30th Anniversary release of Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman contains the original recordings, not the 2002 reissues.[27]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley except noted

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I Don't Know"     5:16
2. "Crazy Train"     4:57
3. "Goodbye to Romance"     5:36
4. "Dee"   Rhoads 0:50
5. "Suicide Solution"     4:20
6. "Mr. Crowley"     4:57
7. "No Bone Movies"   Osbourne, Rhoads, Daisley, Lee Kerslake 3:58
8. "Revelation (Mother Earth)"     6:09
9. "Steal Away (The Night)"     3:28
Total length:
39:31

Personnel[edit]

2002 reissue
  • Robert Trujillo – bass
  • Mike Bordin – drums, percussion, timpani, gongs
  • Danny Saber – tubular bells
  • Mark Lennon – backing vocals
  • John Shanks – backing vocals on "Steal Away (The Night)"
Production

Sales accomplishments[edit]

In media[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ozzy.com/us/news/definitive-editions-ozzy-osbournes-landmark-solo-albums-blizzard-ozz-diary-madman-restored-rema
  2. ^ Osbourne, Ozzy; Ayres, Chris. I Am Ozzy. Grand Central Publishing. pp. 6, 84. ISBN 0-446-56989-5. 
  3. ^ Huey, Steve. "Review Blizzard of Oz". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  4. ^ Blizzard of Ozz Reissue | Album Reviews | Rolling Stone
  5. ^ Uncut (August 2002): 112. 
  6. ^ "Wikipedia: Randy Rhoads: Death". 
  7. ^ a b c "RIAA Gold & Platinum database". Retrieved 15 February 2009. 
  8. ^ "100 Greatest Guitar Albums". Guitar World. October 2006.  A copy can be found at "Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Albums Of All Time – Rate Your Music". rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Osbourne, Ozzy (2011). I Am Ozzy. I Am Ozzy. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Blizzard of Ozz and The Holy Grail". bobdaisley.com. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Bob Daisley's History With The Osbournes http://www.bobdaisley.com/interview/website
  12. ^ a b c Lambert, Cory. "Bass Legend Bob Daisley Talks About The BLIZZARD OF OZZ, His Battle With THE OSBOURNES And More Diaries Of A Madman!". Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  13. ^ Legendary OZZY OSBOURNE Drummer Lee Kerslake Talks About Blizzard/Diary Reissues, Randy Rhoads, The "Evil And Nasty" Sharon Osbourne http://www.bravewords.com/news/166075
  14. ^ Machat, Steven (2011). Gods, Gansters and Honour: A Rock 'n' Roll Odyssey. Beautiful Books. ISBN 1905636830.
  15. ^ a b "On Yer Bike with Studio Wizard Max Norman". knac.com. Retrieved 2014-06-04. 
  16. ^ "Top 10 Sports Songs". Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  17. ^ "Thirty Years After the Blizzard" DVD interview.
  18. ^ Wells, Troy. "Don Airey The Ballbuster Interview". ballbustermusic.com. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Max Norman Interview". Music Legends. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  20. ^ "Diary of a Madman/Blizzard of Ozz 30th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set". myplaydirect.com. Retrieved 2011-03-23. 
  21. ^ "Bob Daisley's History With The Osbournes". Bob Daisley. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  22. ^ IMDB Biography
  23. ^ Begrand, Adrien. "Ozzy Osbourne". PopMatters. 
  24. ^ a b c Osbourne, Ozzy (2011). I Am Ozzy. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-0446569903. 
  25. ^ "News – Federal Appeals Court: Ozzy Do". Knac.Com. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  26. ^ "Ozzy: I’d Never Have Removed Daisley And Kerslake From Albums". classicrockmagazine.com. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  27. ^ "OZZY OSBOURNE Discusses 30th Anniversary Of 'Blizzard Of Ozz' Album On 'In The Studio'". roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  28. ^ "BPI certified awards". Retrieved 15 February 2009. [dead link]
  29. ^ "CRIA certified awards". Retrieved 12 February 2009.