It’s a new year and I’m listening to songs from yesteryear. After overdosing on a Dio playlist I created that covered his Rainbow, Black Sabbath and solo career up to “Lock Up The Wolves”, between Xmas and New Year, I returned to one of my biggest influences, Randy Rhoads and the “Blizzard of Ozz” album. Hell, the project could have been called just that. Randy Rhoads And The Blizzards.
It all started when Ozzy auditioned Randy in LA. Afterwards they jammed for a few days with Dana Strum and Frankie Banali. Then Ozzy went back to England and he met Bob Daisley. Ozzy and Daisley jammed with another guitarist and drummer however Daisley mentioned that they needed better players. Ozzy mentioned Randy Rhoads, however the label wanted a well-known British guitarist, but no one was interested to join because of Ozzy’s reputation. Gary Moore was Ozzy’s first choice and he rejected the offer to audition. Eventually the label relented and Randy was flown over to London. Rhoads and Daisley started writing music and it worked well. Lee Kerslake came towards the end of the writing process.
At that point in time, Ozzy was still married to Thelma Osbourne and Sharon had just taken over as Ozzy’s manager. Don Arden, her father, was the manager of Jet Records. David Arden (Sharon’s brother) was taking care of the managerial side of things during the Blizzard album cycle and Sharon got involved for “Diary of a Madman”.
I Don’t Know
Black Sabbath was just a rock and roll band from Birmingham, England, however fans of the band saw them as seers. Stories abound of fans asking Ozzy, what’s the future of mankind? Or when is the final day? And his answer was always, he doesn’t know. He’s just a rock and roll singer. Daisley was inspired by this story and fleshed out the lyrics.
The “A” pedal point riff in the intro is the first thing people heard and what an introduction riff it is. It is a simply ascending pedal point riff which Randy flourishes with harmonic pinches, artificial harmonics, legato licks and whammy bar dives.
This is Randy Rhoads announcing to the world that there is a new guitar hero in town.
After getting blown away by “I Don’t Know”, the ear drums were assaulted once again with “Crazy Train.” The F#m demonic intro is a sing along riff and immediately identifiable. You can call this song Ozzy’s biggest hit and according to the chart makers back in the day, it never registered. But not on Spotify and YouTube it’s huge. The new paradigm shows us what is being listened too.
Bob Daisley provided the title while Randy Rhoads had the riff and the chord structure. For the lyrics, Bob Daisley used Ozzy’s vocal melodies and referenced what was happening in 1979/80. The Berlin Wall was still up and the Cold War between the USSR and USA was still going on. It’s pretty crazy when you think of how many millions of people are affected by religion and power hungry leaders from both sides.
And then you have that logically laid out, super melodic and shred happy solo section. What more can be said?
Listen and enjoy and play air guitar.
Goodbye To Romance
It’s a one-two-three knockout punch.
“Goodbye To Romance” was Ozzy’s title and it came from an Everly Brothers song called “Bye Bye Love.”
The lyrics were written by Bob Daisley and the subject matter was Ozzy’s “divorce” from Black Sabbath.
On the “Don’t Blame Me” video, Ozzy mentions he was humming the vocal melody, and Randy heard it and developed the chords around the melody. Ozzy’s revisionist take makes it sound that Bob Daisley was not involved at all in the song writing process, which is obviously not true at all.
It’s the piece d’resistance in guitar playing. The jazz like chords in the verses, the arpeggio chorus riff and that guitar solo. This song connects from the very first note but it is that descending chorus riff that is pure gold.
Listening to the studio version of the song with its many layers and then hearing the way Randy composed his live performance is awe inspiring.
Randy’s acoustic instrumental. Though Rhoads is best known for the heavier side of his guitar playing, his ambition was to devote his time to classical music. “Dee” served as an example of his devotion to classical/flamenco music however it was songs like “Goodbye To Romance”, “Revelation Mother Earth” and “Diary of A Madman” that showcased how powerful classical is in a heavy metal setting.
Ozzy borrowed the opening line “Wine is fine but whiskeys quicker” from somewhere else and Bob Daisley wrote the rest about Ozzy’s addiction to alcohol. The song ended up in the courts when the parents of an 18 year old kid wanted to blame someone for their son committing suicide. Suddenly, the song when played backwards had subliminal messages on it, which could convince kids to harm themselves.
The whole intro riff is just full of attitude and defiance. If you are familiar with the work that Randy Rhoads did with Quiet Riot, you would have noticed the influence of the QR song “Force of Habit”.
Mr. Crowley was Ozzy’s idea to cover the darker occult things in life however Daisley wrote the words.
The “was it polemically sent” part before the outro solo is just goose bumps stuff. I love the way the harmony guitar lines interweave over a classical chord progression. It’s the calm before the storm.
From a lead guitarist point of view, Mr Crowley served as a showcase of the talent that is Randy Rhoads.
No Bone Movies
For a last minute addition to the album, the song rocks hard in a live setting. It’s sleazy and perfect for the era.
Revelation Mother Earth
Daisley wrote the lyrics, taking inspiration from the Book of Revelation.
The finger picked part at the start is breathtaking, the interlude is subdued and relaxing but that outro is breathless.
On the “Tribute” live album, the tempo is increased, further increasing the status of the song to legendary.
Steal Away the Night
That intro is similar to the chorus riff in “Suicide Solution” at a higher tempo. Whereas in “Suicide Solution” it is a climbing motif, in “Steal Away the Night” it is a repeating motif.
There is also another nod to the Quiet Riot song “Breaking Up Is A Heartache” in the riff that comes after the chorus.
Remember that progress is derivative and Randy Rhoads was very good at that technique. Sometimes he would take bits and pieces from a lot of different songs to form one cohesive riff.
You Looking At Me, Looking At You
It’s a B-side and this song doesn’t get the attention it deserves. An argument can be put forward as to why “No Bone Movies” made it on the album and not this song.
The intro is Seventies Arena Melodic Rock. I can understand why the song didn’t get included on the album as it could have been deemed to poppy from the very metal sounding Blizzard album, however the riff is infectious.
Even in the pre chorus Randy Rhoads plays palm muted arpeggios (like Eddie Van Halen) and something that Vito Bratta employed on a constant basis. And that lead break just comes out of nowhere like another song within the same song composition. Again it reminds me of what Vito Bratta would end up doing.
By the way, if anyone is familiar with the work that Randy Rhoads did with Quiet Riot, they would have noticed the rhythm guitar riff coming from a Quiet Riot song called “Kiss of Death”, that was only performed live, and the lead intro part is from the Quiet Riot song called “Trouble.” Also, the same structure can be heard on the song “Breaking Up Is A Heartache” also from Quiet Riot.
This song shows what a band “Blizzard Of Ozz” was. Yes, that band had Randy Rhoads on guitar, Bob Daisley on bass, Lee Kerslake on drums and Ozzy Osbourne on vocals.
Jet Records put a picture of Ozzy on the front cover. This didn’t sit well with Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake who wanted a picture of the band. As far as they knew, they signed up to be in a band not as backing musicians for a solo artist. But record label politics always get in the way and self-interests of others take advantage of the situation.
You Said it All
The first time I heard this song was on the “Mr. Crowley Live EP.”
Randy had the basic riff and the song was put together musically by Rhoads and Daisley. Drummer Kerslake came up with the vocal melody while Ozzy crashed under the drum riser and Daisley then took the tape of Kerslake’s melody back to the hotel and wrote the lyrics.
These day’s guitarists can do unbelievable and very advanced things on the guitar but none of them have the magic and song sense of Randy Rhoads.