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Blizzard of Oz

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Average Rating
★★★★★
(154 Reviews)

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  • When I first heard about Ozzy Osbourne when I was 13 years old back in 1980, I was told by a sort-of friend who hated him so vociferously that to me at the time, Ozzy sounded like a real no-talent slimeball. I knew nothing of Ozzy’s seminal influence as the original lead singer of Black Sabbath; in fact, I didn’t even *know* Black Sabbath for anything other than their demonic-sounding name! I wasn’t even into heavy Metal at all back then. I certainly knew nothing of Ozzy’s talent or influence on heavy rock. Then, later that year, I first heard “Crazy Train” and I was stunned: *This* was the same guy who likes to pee on things, inlcuding the Alamo, and bites the heads off birds??Of course, I became fascinated with Ozzy in part because of his contradictory aspects. I fell in love with “Crazy Train” and as soon as I first heard “I Don’t Know” a couple of years later, I had to FINALLY go out & get the album. I purchased BLIZZARD OF OZZ (1980) on vinyl—of course—in 1983. I purchased the 1995 remaster on CD just a couple of years ago. As influential an album as this was back then, we really take for granted the fact that, when Ozzy assembled himself on lead vocals, Randy Rhoads on lead guitar, Don Airey on keyboards, Bob Daisley on bass guitar and Lee Kerslake on drums, Ozzy was operating heavily on a wing and a prayer—and on heavily controlled substances. His attempt at a comeback after being dismissed from Black Sabbath for good after their so-so NEVER SAY DIE! (1978) album was almost not to be.As I and many others have learned in the past few years, thanks to Ozzy’s candor on VH1, Ozzy was down & out in 1978 when he met Sharon Arden, the daughter of a record company exec who had given up on Ozzy as a drugged-out has-been. Sharon saw something special in him. Soon, they became romantically involved, then married. She tried to shop BLIZZARD OF OZZ around to everybody, and was soundly rejected over & over again—until a growing division of Columbia, Jet Records, decided to give him a shot. (Of course, it was at the release party for the record that Ozzy got drunk and bit the head off a dove that had been released as a sign of goodwill!) Ozzy waded through his newfound infamy while many people—like me—became awed by his music.After all, what’s not to love about his music? On Black Sabbath’s NEVER SAY DIE, Ozzy and his soon-to-be-former bandmates sounded rather disjointed & tired. Just as Sabbath became re-energized by the arrival of Ronnie James Dio (culiminating in their own great 1980 album HEAVEN AND HELL), Ozzy became re-energized as well. Working with great British Metal veterans Daisley & Kerslake, and especially with young up-and-coming Californian guitar virtuoso, Randy Rhoads, Ozzy finally re-found his musical inspiration. Ozzy’s sound was now very modern and very American. Even with his penchant for drugs and drink, his high tenor voice was in great form. The great, fast-riffing, heart-pumping opening song “I Don’t Know” became an anthem for disaffected youth, and the equally-driving “Crazy Train” became the most popular Heavy Metal song of 1980, directly causing a huge resurgence in the popularity of heavy Metal, which in the wake of Disco in the late ’70’s had been dismissed as “dead music.” Talk about rebirth!!Thanks to this rebirth, I became a huge fan of the music that ended up informing my high school years. I appreciated the melody that went along with the heaviness of the music. All of Ozzy’s songs on this album are melodic, and not all of them are heavy. Witness “Goodbye To Romance,” a non-heavy, acoustic ballad that shows Ozzy did have a heart, after all! Randy Rhoads’ light, acoustic instrumental “Dee” also shows that metallers are not just about “noise.” Then, we have the song which actually took four years to become controversial, the unfairly-maligned “Suicide Solution.” Let me tell you something about my experience listening to this song: No, I didn’t take drugs, I didn’t drink, I didn’t worhip Satan and this song certainly didn’t make me want to kill myself. Enough said. :) “Mr. Crowley” has a great keyboard intro courtesy of Don Airey, again showing that guitar isn’t the *only* instrument used in Heavy Metal. The last three songs never really made much of an impression on me, but that’s probably because I played the other songs hundreds of times each! Maybe one of these days, I will revisit “No Bone Movies,” “Revelation (Mother Earth)” and “Steal Away (The Night).” Even just on the basis of the first five classic 80’s tunes alone, Ozzy Osbourne fully deserved his comeback all the way, and BLIZZARD OF OZZ became his first of many multi-Platinum albums which all shared incredibly smooth production values, great blazing guitar riffs and melodic singing by Ozzy, who never gave himself enough credit for his unique voice. This is still one of the all-time greatest rock albums of the 1980’s.MOST RECOMMENDED

    Posted on December 14, 2009