Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz

2011 Edition - The one to buy
2011 Edition – The one to buy

I imagine few people expected Ozzy’s first musical venture after his expulsion from Sabbath to be this good. In fact, I imagine few people expected any musical ventures at all (including Ozzy, who would have probably just continued wallowing in a last hurrah of beer and pizza deliveries if a pep talk/kick up the arse from his management hadn’t sent him out looking for new bandmates). But then, who knew about Ozzy’s talent for assembling shit-hot bands? Ex-Rainbow bassist Bob Daisley and ex-Heep drummer Lee Kerslake were joined by US guitarist Randy Rhoads whose astonishing playing had the flash and glamour of Van Halen and the Blues-free, hard-edged style that fit in with the burgeoning NWOBHM scene.

2002 Edition - The one to avoid
2002 Edition – The one to avoid

The band’s performance is top notch. Joyous, bouncy tunes like I Don’t Know, Crazy Train and No Bone Movies are topped with deft, choppy guitar riffs and euphoric soloing. Dramatic, epic compositions Mr. Crowley and Revelation (Mother Earth) are the album’s centrepieces, Rhoads’ neo-classical runs and phrasing reaching almost unassailable heights on these tracks. Buoyed by his band’s energy, support and creativity, Ozzy came into his own as a vocalist and performer, establishing his now-famous persona in crazy tales of booze and sex, with a hint of the diabolic in Mr. Crowley and in the sinister cover art. And, while his delivery is warm and upbeat, there are hints of doubt and desperation. These endearing chinks in Ozzy’s wild-man armour are a large part of the album’s emotional power (and the power of much of Ozzy’s solo work).

1995 Edition - The one with the shitey cover
1995 Edition – The one with the shitey cover

It could be argued that subsequent Ozzy albums improved on this but, as a statement of intent, Blizzard of Ozz is hard to beat, and provided many of the classics that remain at the core of Ozzy’s live setlists. It’s an absolute comfort-blanket of a record and a genuine Metal classic. Ozzy might not remember much of the 80s but this album remains unforgettable.

Thanks to Mike! His review of The Ultimate Sin put me in a right old Ozzy mood.

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37 thoughts on “Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz”

  1. “It could be argued that subsequent Ozzy albums improved on this”

    It could be, but that’d be wrong based on my own, exceedingly biased view. I am right (and/or arrogant/misinformed). Why? At the time, I was baffled by original Black Sabbath and found both post-Ozzy projects (Dio Sabbath and Ozzy solo) to be invigorating and exceedingly understandable to my then-adolescent brain. That was the jolt my brain needed. Thus, following my narcissistic reasoning, this album exceeds everything else afterwards.

    I could be wrong, but I’ll deny it and stick my fingers in my ears to avoid hearing otherwise, if necessary.

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    1. I put that in there cause I know there are people that prefer later albums of his… but I’d go with this one too as his best. Diary of a Madman was a belter too but a bit lighter on classics.

      I found Ozzy and Dio Sabbath more palatable growing up too. I worked my way back really.

      Great comment!

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      1. For me Blizzard is one of those albums that I probably know note-for-note so I can go without hearing it for a long time. Diary never had as much radio play, and the songs didn’t all end up on Tribute like Blizzard did. I believe all of Blizzard is on Tribute.

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      2. That’s right about all the Blizzard tracks on tribute. Only about 2 from Diary?

        I know both note for note but I listened to Diary really intensively one summer and I guess I wore it out. Blizzard has been more spread out and, crucially, has happier memories associated with it. I’d give both full marks so there’s not much in it.

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      3. Yeah I think exactly 2 songs from Diary were on Tribute.

        Yeah I would rate both albums a solid 5/5 stars. However they are the only Ozzy studio albums I rate that high…as you know I’m not a huge No More Tears fan 🙂

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  2. Ozzy’s post-Sabbath solo achievement should never be underestimated. It is a rare singer indeed that can break away from the cossetted confines and safety net of an established global brand. History shows us you cannot solely trade on that connection. The fans simply won’t let you. What has Jagger ever achieved outside of The Stones? No, what you need is something independently great. Something that, by all means, can be traced to your ‘previous’, but which stands on its own two (cloven) feet. This does more than that. It stands on it’s own two feet, beats its chest, and raises a fist to the sky.

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    1. Well said Kev! What Ozzy pulled off with his solo career is pretty remarkable. I like what you say about it standing on its own two feet. I think that’s really important, it was a different style and one that allowed Ozzy’s talents to fully flourish. He didn’t just pick a bunch of Sabbath-alikes, he moved forward.

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  3. NWOBHM?

    Ozzy’s first two albums are classics! I dislike those lame edition covers too…what was the point of making the cover art tiny.

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    1. Are you not familiar with NWOBHM? The New Wave of British Heavy Metal?

      I don’t understand the point of those covers either. I guess they were trying to bring them all together or make them stand out or something… they just didn’t work.

      I thought you’d like this stuff, being a guitarist. I practically wore out my Tribute tab book trying to learn all this stuff!

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      1. “I don’t understand the point of those covers either. I guess they were trying to bring them all together or make them stand out or something… they just didn’t work.”

        I agree. It was a retail gimmick to make them look new. It made them look cheap.

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  4. I am with both of you regarding which one is better. Diary has a slight edge for me although Blizzard might actually be the better album. These albums made Ozzy. Jake E Lee and Zakk dont hold a candle to Randy IMO. Brad Gillis won’t even enter the conversation.

    Never heard of the termNWOBHM. You guys own metal! Sabbath/Priest

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    1. I like Lee and Wylde but, you’re right. They don’t compare to Rhoads. Not actually heard the Gillis album or the Gus G one so I can’t say much about them!

      I’ll need to get some NWOBHM albums reviewed for you then!

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      1. Yeah Id love to read that…and which bands are in that category.

        I forgot there was that other guy Gus G never heard him play. Unless he sounds just like Zakk and I didnt know

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      2. There’s plenty of bands you already know even if you’ve not heard the term. Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Diamond Head were all considered part of it.

        I’m not sure what Gus G is like as a player. I didn’t buy the album he’s on… I’ve struggled with Ozzy’s output since No More Tears. There’s been the occasional good song but that’s about it.

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      3. Interesting that Mike isn’t familiar withe NWOBHM acronym – are you from the States Mike? The genre really came about when new metal bands in the UK embraced a little of the punk ethic, taking the two main ‘plus-es’ from it, i.e. the speed, and the ‘do-it-yourself’ mentality.

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      4. Wow I have never heard that term. More reason why you guys own metal. I think the US had Metallica for 4 albums…lol

        NMT was pretty good my favorite Zakk album was Ozzmosis. Some great songs on there

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  5. I remember a buddy had this album, and I liked what I heard whenever it was on. Look at me, adding incisive, hard-hitting comments to your Ozzy discussion! Haha.

    And now that you’re in the Ozzy mood, maybe ’13’ can grow on you some more! 😉

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  6. Love this album and Bark at the Moon…. anybody out there know if I am right in remembering that there were latter-day re-recordings of the bass work on these albums for more recent re-releases? Something about a business disagreement with Bob Daisley?? Am I nuts? I’m thinking they used Robert Trujillo on the re-recordings…. Could just look it up on the nets, but that’s not as fun….

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      1. They do sound different. You can tell they’re not the same versions, if you’re really familiar with them. I would only suggest buying the original mixes, which is easy enough to do now that they’ve been reissued.

        Here’s my review of Blizzard, the current edition out there:

        http://mikeladano.com/2012/06/09/review-ozzy-osbourne-blizzard-of-ozz-2011-deluxe-edition/

        I don’t like tampering with classic albums, especially for such petty reasons. And then Sharon trying to sell it like the re-recordings was a good things? It left a bad taste in my mouth, like when George Lucas said Star Wars was better when Greedo shot first.

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