Blizzard of Ozz

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Blizzard of Ozz
Blizzard of ozz.jpg
Studio album by
Released20 September 1980
Recorded22 March − 19 April 1980
Studio Ridge Farm Studio, Rusper, England
Label Jet
Producer Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley, Lee Kerslake
Ozzy Osbourne chronology
Blizzard of Ozz
Diary of a Madman
Singles from Blizzard of Ozz
  1. "Crazy Train/You Lookin' at Me Lookin' at You"
    Released: 1980
  2. "Mr. Crowley/You Said It All"
    Released: 1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [2]
BBC Music (favourable) [3]
MusicRadar (favourable) [4]
Martin Popoff Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [5]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [6]
Uncut Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [7]

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 firing from Black Sabbath in 1979. [8] Blizzard of Ozz is the first of two studio albums Osbourne recorded with guitarist Randy Rhoads prior to Rhoads' death in 1982. In 2017, it was ranked 9th on Rolling Stone 's list of "100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time". [9]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Ozzy Osbourne English heavy metal vocalist and songwriter

John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne is an English singer, songwriter, actor and reality television star who rose to prominence during the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, during which he adopted the nickname "The Prince of Darkness". Osbourne was fired from the band in 1979 due to alcohol and drug problems, but went on to have a successful solo career, releasing eleven studio albums, the first seven of which were all awarded multi-platinum certifications in the United States. Osbourne has since reunited with Black Sabbath on several occasions. He rejoined the band in 1997 and recorded the group’s final studio album 13 (2013) before they embarked on a farewell tour which culminated in a final performance in their home city Birmingham, England in February 2017. His longevity and success have earned him the informal title of "Godfather of Heavy Metal".

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.


Composition and recording

Much of the album was written by guitarist Randy Rhoads, bassist Bob Daisley, and Ozzy Osbourne in a live-in rehearsal facility in Monmouth, Wales, [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.

Randy Rhoads American guitarist

Randall William Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne. A devoted student of classical guitar, Rhoads combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style. He died in a plane accident while on tour with Osbourne in Florida in 1982. Despite his short career, Rhoads, who was a major influence on neoclassical metal, is cited as an influence by many guitarists. Rhoads is included in several "Greatest Guitarist" lists.

Robert John Daisley is an Australian musician, songwriter and author. Daisley is also known for contributing bass and lyrics for Ozzy Osbourne throughout the 1980s and 1990s he has also associated with Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Gary Moore and Uriah Heep.

Monmouth Town in Monmouthshire, Wales

Monmouth is the historic county town of Monmouthshire, Wales and a community. It is situated where the River Monnow meets the River Wye, within 2 miles (3.2 km) of the border with England. The town is 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Cardiff, and 113 miles (182 km) west of London. It is within the Monmouthshire local authority, and the parliamentary constituency of Monmouth. Monmouth's population in the 2011 census was 10,508, rising from 8,877 in 2001.

The first track written for the album was "Goodbye to Romance". Osbourne has stated that the song was his way of saying goodbye to his former band Black Sabbath, as he had thought his career was over after leaving the band. [11] 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 their label Jet Records instead wanted a brand new song to release 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. [13]

Jet Records

Jet Records was a British record label set up by Don Arden, with artists such as Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Roy Wood, Gary Moore, Ozzy Osbourne, Alan Price, Adrian Gurvitz, Riot and Magnum.

<i>Mr Crowley Live EP</i> 1980 EP (Live) by Ozzy Osbourne

Mr. Crowley Live EP is a live EP released by Ozzy Osbourne in 1980. The EP contains live versions of the songs "Mr. Crowley", "Suicide Solution" and "You Said It All", all performed at a 1980 Southampton performance.

Don Airey English rock musician

Donald Smith Airey is an English keyboardist who has been the keyboardist in the rock band Deep Purple since 2002, after the retirement of Jon Lord. He has had a long and productive career, playing with such acts as Gary Moore, Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Whitesnake, Saxon, Wishbone Ash, Steve Vai, Colosseum II, Ten, Sinner, Michael Schenker, Rainbow, Empire, Thin Lizzy, Brian May, Divlje jagode and Living Loud. He has also worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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. [14] 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 . [15]

Christopher Andrew Tsangarides was a British Grammy-nominated record producer, sound engineer, and mixer of Greek Cypriot origin. He was best known for his work with many heavy metal bands, including Gary Moore, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Helloween, Anvil, Angra, Anthem, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Tygers of Pan Tang. Tsangarides worked with many pop and alternative artists as well, including Depeche Mode, Tom Jones, Concrete Blonde, and The Tragically Hip.

Max Norman is a record producer and recording engineer active from 1973 through to present. He produced many acclaimed heavy metal releases. While Norman was resident engineer at Ridge Farm Studios in London, England, Ozzy Osbourne was recording his debut solo album Blizzard of Ozz with producer/engineer Chris Tsangarides, after Osbourne and Tsangarides parted ways Norman was asked to carry on.

<i>The Ultimate Sin</i> 1986 studio album by Ozzy Osbourne

The Ultimate Sin is the fourth studio album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. It was released on 22 February 1986, and it was remastered and re-issued on 22 August 1995. It marks the final appearance of lead guitarist Jake E. Lee and the first and only Osbourne album to feature bassist Phil Soussan, who co-wrote the album's hit single "Shot in the Dark". Drummer Randy Castillo, who had previously played in Lita Ford's band, also makes his recording debut with 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. In fact, when the band appeared at the Reading Festival in 1980 they were billed simply as "Ossie Osborne's [sic] New Band". [16] 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." [17] Rhoads felt that he and Daisley were contributing the vast majority of the songwriting and arranging, and he had little 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 this 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. [18] Entertainment attorney Steven Machat, who was involved in the deal Osbourne signed with Jet Records, said in his 2011 book Gods, Gangsters 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. [19] 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." [14]

Steven Machat is an American entertainment mogul and the producer of Bird on a Wire, the documentary film of the Leonard Cohen 1972 European tour.

Sharon Osbourne English television host, author, music manager, businesswoman and promoter

Sharon Rachel Osbourne is an English media personality, businesswoman, television host, talent competition judge, music manager, live promoter, and author. She is the wife of heavy metal singer-songwriter Ozzy Osbourne and first came into public prominence after appearing on The Osbournes, a reality television show that followed her family's daily life. Osbourne later became a talent show judge on television shows such as the British and original version of The X Factor, from 2004 to 2007, returning in 2013, and again from 2016 to 2017. She also was a judge on America's Got Talent from 2007 until 2012.

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]


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. [20] 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. [21]

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. [20] 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. [22] It also ranked 13th on a Guitar World readers poll. [23] In his autobiography, Osbourne readily admitted that at the time the album was being recorded, he felt he was in direct competition with his former band, Black Sabbath. [24]

Osbourne performing in support of Blizzard of Ozz in Cardiff, Wales Ozzy Osbourne Cardiff 1980.jpg
Osbourne performing in support of Blizzard of Ozz in Cardiff, Wales

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. [25]


Suicide Solution

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, [17] has stated that he actually had Osbourne's own substance abuse issues in mind when he composed the song. [26] The McCollums' complaint was dismissed on the grounds that the First Amendment protected Osbourne's right to free artistic expression.

2002 reissue

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 stated at the time 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." [27] 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 he "didn't have anything to do with" it. [28] He said his wife "just snapped" and had it done without his knowledge. [28] He also stated that "a sticker was put on the covers telling everyone about it", [28] 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. [29] With regard to the reissue, Ozzy stated to The Pulse of Radio, reiterating a conversation with Sharon, [30] "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. [31]

Track listing

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

Side one
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
Side two
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


2002 reissue



USA RIAA 20195x Platinum (+ 5,000,000) [37]
Canada CRIA 1981Platinum (+ 100,000) [38]
UK BPI 1981Silver (+ 60,000) [22]
UKBPI2013Silver (+ 60,000) [22]

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