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. 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".
|Blizzard of Ozz|
|Studio album by|
|Released||20 September 1980|
|Recorded||22 March − 19 April 1980|
|Studio||Ridge Farm Studio, Rusper, England|
|Producer||Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley, Lee Kerslake|
|Ozzy Osbourne chronology|
|Singles from Blizzard of Ozz|
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, with a friend of Osbourne's named Barry Screnage performing as the group's drummer. 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. 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. 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. A week later, they traveled to Ridge Farm Studio to commence recording.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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 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". 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." 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. 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. 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. 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."
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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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, has stated that he actually had Osbourne's own substance abuse issues in mind when he composed the song. The McCollums' complaint was dismissed on the grounds that the First Amendment protected Osbourne's right to free artistic expression.
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." 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. He said his wife "just snapped" and had it done without his knowledge. He also stated that "a sticker was put on the covers telling everyone about it", 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. With regard to the reissue, Ozzy stated to The Pulse of Radio, reiterating a conversation with Sharon, "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.
|1.||"I Don't Know"||5:16|
|3.||"Goodbye to Romance"||5:36|
|7.||"No Bone Movies" (Osbourne, Rhoads, Daisley, Lee Kerslake)||3:58|
|8.||"Revelation (Mother Earth)"||6:09|
|9.||"Steal Away (The Night)"||3:28|
|2002 reissue bonus track|
|10.||"You Lookin' at Me Lookin' at You"||4:20|
|2011 Expanded Edition bonus tracks|
|10.||"You Looking at Me, Looking at You" (Non-LP B-side)||4:15|
|11.||"Goodbye to Romance" (2010 guitar & vocal mix)||5:42|
|12.||"RR" (Rhoads; outtake from "Blizzard of Ozz" sessions)||1:13|
|USA||RIAA||1997||4x Platinum (+ 4,000,000)|
|Canada||CRIA||1981||Platinum (+ 100,000)|
|UK||BPI||1981||Silver (+ 60,000)|
|UK||BPI||2013||Silver (+ 60,000)|