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Blizzard of Ozz Turns 40: Musicians Pay Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne’s First Solo Album

LOS ANGELES - APRIL 1980: Rock and roll legend Ozzy Osbourne poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images)

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.

Phil Anselmo

Singer, Down and Superjoint Ritual

<p>Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister said that John Fogerty had “a voice that could make a vampire look over his shoulder,” or something like that. The same applies to Ozzy Osbourne: fucking wicked-sounding, literally — and I love it. Singing for Black Sabbath is fucking iconic on its own merit, but then he went on to be crazily successful, on his own terms, in his own bands. Huge props for putting those solo bands together. Finding Randy Rhodes, and understanding the impact his playing, style and sound had on heavy metal guitar in general is surreal to think about. Zakk Wylde, too. And I won’t list them out, but all the players in his bands were and are great. I heard this record at the exact age I should have heard it; young, growing into metal music, and damned excited about it. <em>Blizzard of Ozz</em> is one of the earliest records that got multiple spins when I was back in junior high. “Mr. Crowley” is easily my favorite track. Without Ozzy Osbourne, I might’ve turned out to be an amateur mini-golf champion … or challenger.</p>
<h2>Burton C. Bell</h2>
<p><b>Singer/guitarist, Fear Factory and Ascension of the Watchers<b></b></b></p>
<img decoding=Mr. 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.

Nader Sadek


<p>Ozzy was truly a pioneer in creating a persona on and off stage, and it wasn’t like how bands like KISS did it, with costumes and interesting attire. It was more the attitude and the vibe he gave off. On <em>Blizzard</em>, Ozzy’s voice carries a lot of emotion — from the standpoint of a spectator, and not a fan. I think that his voice transcends metal and people can emotionally resonate with his expressions. I also love how his voice harmonizes with the guitar on <em>Blizzard of Ozz</em>. He’s truly a unique performer.</p>
<h2>Rami Jämsä</h2>
<p><b>Singer/guitarist, Convulse</b></p>
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