Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 fantastic first solo albums recorded by artists who departed—or simply took a temporary hiatus from—their respective groups, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
OZZY OSBOURNE | Blizzard of Ozz
Selected by Sarah Paolantonio
The 1980 heavy metal classic Blizzard of Ozz is the first solo Ozzy Osbourne record. Black Sabbath had its run of unbelievable, infamous albums but Technical Ecstasy in 1976 and 1978’s Never Say Die! left the band and fans feeling sore. Ozzy took it as a sign to move on and scratch the itch of working with others. Not intended to be his backing band but eventually becoming known as such thanks to the Reading Festival marquee in 1980, the legendary Randy Rhoads and bassist Bob Daisley co-wrote all of the album’s tracks with him. Drummer Lee Kerslake was hired after a string of auditioned drummers flopped.
Rhoads’ background in classical music inspired his signature guitar sound leading to a genre trademark. Ozzy’s screeching and echoed vocals remind listeners he is The Prince of Darkness. “Mr. Crowley” is a high water mark of metal being influenced by and involved in the occult, darkness, and death. The song is a sludgy smear of headbanging and shoegazing further cementing the heavy metal landscape. The slower “Goodbye To Romance” is Ozzy’s farewell to Black Sabbath, and of course there’s the infamous “Crazy Train,” a Classic Rock Radio staple.
Shenanigans followed this record for a lot of its ensuing legacy. After Daisley and Kerslake sued Osbourne over songwriting credits and won, Ozzy re-released Blizzard of Ozz erasing and replacing their parts. Not until 2010 was the original recording re-released for its 30th anniversary with the original drum and bass tracking in place.
Blizzard of Ozz is a milestone heavy metal album, transitional in all its sense, and long lasting in its appeal to make you sweat, maybe even sweat blood.