Twenty-three years before he’d achieve cult icon status as the affable patriarch of one of reality television’s most profane families, things were looking fairly bleak for Ozzy Osbourne. Freshly booted from Black Sabbath — the groundbreaking band he co-founded — Ozzy was in the throes of heavy addiction, drowning himself in booze with his musical aspirations seemingly on the brink of collapse. Fortunately, Ozzy’s future father-in-law didn’t let that happen. Instead, Don Arden signed the zoophagic rocker to his label, Jet Records, and Ozzy assembled a majestic band of his own.
Boasting Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhoads and late Uriah Heep drummer Lee Kerslake, along with Rainbow bassist, Bob Daisley, and keyboardist, Don Airey, the band was christened Blizzard of Ozz. However, Jet’s marketing department decided instead to title the album they would go on to record Blizzard of Ozz, releasing it forty years ago today as the first solo set from the self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness.
Featuring classic tracks like “Mr. Crowley,” “I Don’t Know,” “Crazy Train,” and “Suicide Solution,” Blizzard of Ozz would launch the ant-snorting singer’s successful, decades-spanning solo career while also making him a much-maligned target of priggish politicians and the religious right alike, who’d label him a Satanist intent on indoctrinating America’s youth in the ways of the sinfully depraved.
Today, four decades after its initial release, the tunes on Blizzard of Ozz still hold up, and heavy metal fans still consider the album essential listening. To honor the album’s anniversary, SPIN reached out to several musicians — all of them Ozzy devotees — to gain their insights and perspectives on this classic release.
Singer, Down and Superjoint RitualMr. Crowley” shows an amazing group of musicians firing on all cylinders and I think it really shows the power of this era of Ozzy. He’s an inspiration for me, only for being a maniac and creating and playing music this whole time.