Portrait of British musician Ozzy Osbourne as he poses before a concert at the Rosemont Horizon,Rosemont, Illinois, March 4, 1984. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Widely celebrated as one of Ozzy’s best musical ventures, Blizzard of Ozz turns 41 years old today. Released on 20 September 1980, the album birthed a myriad of hits, including the infamous “Crazy Train.” However, there are many stories surrounding this record that you may not know or may have forgotten about. Well, we’re here to take a peek behind the curtain of this classic album.
1. 2002’s Reissue Drama
In 1986, original bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake sued Osbourne over unpaid royalties from the record. Eventually, a court would rule in their favor and would award the musicians writing credits for songs on Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. When Osbourne went to reissue the record in 2002, new recordings were used in Daisley and Kerslake’s place. It was claimed by his wife Sharon that he did it, “because of Daisley and Kerslake’s abusive and unjust behaviour.” However, Ozzy later recanted that statement and says it was in fact Sharon who “just snapped” and made the decision on her own.
The recordings were recut with then drummer Mike Bordin and bassist Robert Trujillo, of Metallica. Ozzy would eventually regret the whole ordeal and claim, “You know what, whatever the circumstances were, I want the original thing back.” Daisley and Kerslake’s recordings were returned to the 30th anniversary of Diary of a Madman.
2. Ozzy was worried about Black Sabbath still…
Though Osbourne was no longer with Black Sabbath, he couldn’t help but peek over the neighbor’s fence. Ozzy was nervous that they would be more successful without him. The group had after all just replaced him with Ronnie James Dio and their album Heaven and Hell dropped just months before Blizzard of Ozz.
“I’d be talking out my arse if I said I didn’t feel like I was in competition with Black Sabbath when we made Blizzard of Ozz,” Osbourne recalled in his autobiography, I Am Ozzy. “I wished them well, I suppose, but part of me was shitting myself that they were going to be more successful without me,”
However, time would show his fears were baseless as Blizzard of Ozz ended up outselling the newly revamped Sabbath.
3. The true meaning of “Goodbye to Romance”
Osbourne would later clarify that “Goodbye to Romance” was his goodbye to Black Sabbath.
4. How Gary Moore almost became their guitarist and the unbelievable first weeks of Randy Rhoads’ time with Ozzy
Gary Moore, of Thin Lizzy of and Skid Row, was supposed to originally play guitar before Randy Rhoads landed the part. Around the time of recording, Moore had waded his way into the world of heavy metal making him an ideal candidate.
However, yet-to-be Slaughter bassist Dana Strum relentlessly phoned Rhoads to audition for the band. Rhoads did it just to shut him up. When he arrived he was riffing in the recording room when a very drunk Ozzy was blown away, “Am I that fucking stoned or am I hallucinating or what the fuck is this?!”
Rhoads got the gig despite the manager’s efforts to keep it an all-British ensemble. When they relented Rhoads was flown out to England but was turned away by customs for not having the proper paperwork. A label rep was sent to fix the matter but never arrived, landing Rhoads in a holding cell for the night before he was handcuffed and put on a plane back to the States. Shortly after his return, proper paperwork was filed and Rhoads spent his first few weeks living with the very apologetic Ozzy.
5. Not that kind of solo
‘Blizzard of Ozz’ was actually supposed to be the name of Ozzy’s new group, not just the name of the record. Ozzy Osbourne appearing in larger font was initially meant to draw attention to the project, but in turn, made people believe it was his solo project. In this case, it was not the Prince of Darkness’ intention to hog the spotlight for himself.