'I’m going off the rails', sings Ozzy on the riff-tastic rock-radio staple “Crazy Train”, and, as a description of his life leading up to this, his first solo album, it’s apt enough, but the real surprise for long-term Black Sabbath fans was Ozzy’s career resurrection following Blizzard of Ozz’s 1980 release. Ozzy Osbourne’s life, as we all know by now, is an interesting for the off-stage drama as it is for the musical tracks, but this album was, and is, a triumphant affirmation of the bat-biter’s diabolical musical vision.
After Black Sabbath’s implosion, Ozzy’s reclusive and addictive lifestyle did not bode well, and it took Sharon Arden, daughter of his former manager, to pull him out of depression and get him back in the studio, where, in creative partnership with guitarist Randy Rhoads (ex-Quiet Riot), drummer Lee Kerslake (ex-Uriah Heep) and bassist / lyricist Bob Kerslake (ex-Rainbow), he reinvented his musical persona, presenting a set of lyrical caricatures over ferocious rock riffing through which blow Rhoads’ virtuoso guitar runs.
As well as “Crazy Train” the album’s highlights include “Revelation (Mother Earth),” “I Don’t’ Know,” “Mr Crowley” and “Suicide Solution.” The latter two tracks proved the most controversial, the former for its celebration of the infamous occultist Alistair Crowley, and the latter for its supposed encouragement of suicide, after a US teenager killed himself while listening to the track. Ozzy successfully defended the subsequent suit, noting that it was about Bon Scott’s (AC/DC’s lead singer) death from alcohol abuse, although Ozzy’s co-writer, Bob Daisley claimed it was about Ozzy himself. More generally, the album refueled the debate over Osbourne’s alleged Satanism, charges that the man himself arguably encouraged by his various onstage antics during the course of his subsequent solo career. Whether the Blizzard Of Ozz was a genuine diabolist, or whether he was merely playing up its shock value for rebellious teenagers, you will have listen again, and decide for yourself.