Gimme a Reason takes classic albums celebrating major anniversaries and breaks down song by song the reasons we still love them so many years later. Today, we celebrate 40 years of Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Ozzy Osbourne’s groundbreaking debut album, Blizzard of Ozz. To celebrate, you can preview or stream music from Ozzy Osbourne here. Bonus: We’re also giving away his new career-spanning vinyl box set, See You on the Other Side.
Almost 40 years ago, Ozzy Osbourne released his debut solo album, Blizzard of Ozz. When he did, there was no reason to believe the record would be a hit, let alone rewrite the rules of hard rock music. The year prior, Osbourne had been let go from his position as singer of seminal heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Ozzy, who cannot play an instrument and knows no music theory, was replaced by virtuoso singer Ronnie James Dio. Ozzy’s response was a now-legendary bender.
Enter Sharon Arden, Ozzy’s future wife and manager. Sharon roused Osbourne from his stupor and helped him assemble a powerhouse band, which recorded a nearly perfect record.
Ozzy’s secret weapon was a young, Californian guitarist named Randy Rhoads. A technical wizard with a love of classical music, Rhoads essentially rewrote the book on heavy metal lead guitar in his own image on Blizzard of Ozz. His articulate and furious guitar solos laid the groundwork for a generation of shredders to follow, and his disdain for typical chord progressions yielded a suite of melodic curveballs, from the progressive mini-opera of “Revelation (Mother Earth)” to the sharpened blast of “Steal Away (The Night)” and, of course, his crowning achievement, the immortal radio hit “Crazy Train”. It’s difficult to imagine the Gothic grandiosity of Mercyful Fate or the baroque lava guitars of Trey Azagthoth and Morbid Angel without Rhoads and Blizzard of Ozz.
Tragically, Rhoads died in a plane crash in 1982 after recording just one more album with Ozzy. He was just 25 years old, and there’s no telling what he and Osbourne would have gone on to accomplish together. Thankfully, we’ll always have Blizzard of Ozz.
Click through to see 40 reasons why we still love Blizzard of Ozz. All aboard!
Be sure to listen into The Opus: Blizzard of Ozz when it launches October 24th with host Andy Bothwell, aka Astronautalis. Never miss an episode by subscribing now. You can also revisit a selection of Ozzy Osbourne’s best tracks via all major streaming services.
Click ahead for 40 reasons we still love Blizzard of Ozz…