Ozzy Osbourne: Top 10 Songs
The Prince of Darkness has one of the most familiar voices on the planet. Since 1970, he’s been part of some of the most iconic music, imagery, and music lore around the world. He’s been blessed to play with a collection of some of the greatest guitarists the music industry has ever known, including Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde, Slash, Steve Vai, Jeff Beck, George Lynch, Jerry Cantrell, Eric Clapton, and most importantly, Tony Iommi.
The former Black Sabbath frontman has released thirteen studio albums that have sold over fifty-million copies and has a catalog that few artists can match. He’s in every “Greatest Frontman of All-time” debate, and his contributions to music history will live on forever.
Here are Ozzy’s Top 10 Songs:
10: “Goodbye To Romance” - ‘Blizzard Of Ozz’
This was the first song written for the ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ album and the first completed by Ozzy and Randy Rhoads together. The chord progressions are styled after Johan Pachelbel's “Canon in D,” making for an interesting take. The lyrics express the loss of a love and optimism for the future, representing Ozzy’s departure from Black Sabbath.
Bassist Bob Daisley wrote the majority of the lyrics for the album, but Ozzy titled the song and wrote a few lines of it. Interviewed about working with Ozzy on the song’s creation, he said: “Ozzy was fairly easy to work with. He was a bit down at first because he'd just been fired from Black Sabbath, and he was depressed, and he was unsure of himself. It really damaged his confidence, being fired from Black Sabbath.”
Being a fan of the Everly Brothers, Ozzy pulled the song title from their 1957 song “Bye Bye Love”: She was my baby till he stepped in / Goodbye to romance that might have been...
It was the world’s introduction to the softer side of Ozzy, post-Sabbath.
9: “Mr. Crowley” - ‘Blizzard Of Ozz’
Ozzy wrote: “I'd read several books about Aleister Crowley. He was a very weird guy, and I always wanted to write a song about him. While we were recording the Blizzard of Ozz album, there was a pack of tarot cards he had designed lying around the studio. Well, one thing lead to another, and the song 'Mr. Crowley' was born.” Crowley is well-known as a British black magician who influenced many famous artists, including Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page.
Randy Rhoads’ genius-level riff-making and soloing are on full display on this track which was voted number twenty-three by a Gibson Guitars poll.
8: “Over The Mountain” - ‘Diary Of A Madman’
“Over The Mountain” was released as a single in the UK but failed to make the charts. Bob Daisley struggled to find the right lyrics for the song’s aggressive guitar and drum patterns because a love-themed song wouldn’t work.
This song represents some of Rhoad’s very best guitar work featuring an unmistakably heavy-chugging riff, and a blazing solo, as usual. It’s evidence of why many people claim he was the most talented metal guitarist of all time.
7: “Miracle Man” - ‘No Rest For The Wicked’
This is an important track in Ozzy lore. ‘No Rest For The Wicked’ was the debut of world-class shredding behemoth Zakk Wylde into the World Of Ozz, and ‘Miracle Man’ was a heavy-riffing celebration of that. Aside from that, it’s an important song in terms of the politics of the time.
In 1985, a teenager killed himself while listening to “Suicide Solution,” a song from Ozzy’s ‘Blizzard Of Ozz’ record, and televangelist Jimmy Swaggart went on to attack rock music and Ozzy specifically. In 1987, Swaggart was caught with a prostitute and admitted to being addicted to pornography.
Swaggart was seen as a hypocrite, and the “Jimmy Sinner” in “Miracle Man” is a reference to him. The Satanic Panic nonsense that spawned Swaggart’s focus had settled down a bit, but Ozzy took the opportunity to get his pound of flesh and have a little fun with Zakk in the official video.
6: “Flying High Again” - ‘Diary Of A Madman’
In a 1986 interview with SPIN magazine, Ozzy said: “When I was a drug addict, I used to write things like ‘Flying High Again,’ ‘Snowblind,’ all this shit. And the other night, I thought, ‘Fucking 'ell, I sing one song for it, and then straight after I sing one song against it.’ But the thing is, that's OK. Because that was where I was when I wrote that, so why shouldn't I do it? It's part of my life.” Interestingly enough, Ozzy’s bassist Bob Daisely wrote most of the lyrics for the track, and it was also released in the UK but failed to chart. It’s a stand-out track on a tremendous album.
5: “Mama I’m Coming Home” - ‘No More Tears’
The lyrics to this track were written by a rock n’ roll god, but it wasn’t Ozzy. It was one of four tracks written by legendary Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister. It’s a bit ironic since it’s a heartfelt tribute to Ozzy’s wife Sharon to symbolize her saving his life by giving him something to live for after struggling mightily with drug and alcohol addiction.
Ozzy recalls: “I had been walking around with the melody in my head for a couple of years but never got a chance to finish it until I was working with Zakk on the No More Tears album. At that time Zakk and I were doing a lot of writing on the piano..”
4: “No More Tears” - ‘No More Tears’
An obvious choice to be in the top five on this list, ‘No More Tears’ was the first album Ozzy recorded sober. The title track’s 7:23 runtime is the longest song that he has ever recorded for a studio album. It reached number five on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100. Everyone knows this song, not in small part due to Zakk’s blistering guitar solo.
3: “Shot In The Dark” - ‘The Ultimate Sin’
This was the last Ozzy album to feature incredibly underrated guitar wizard Jake E. Lee. The guitar work on this track might be my favorite of any Ozzy song, and it’s definitely one of the tightest riffs, and best guitar tones heard on any Ozzy track.
“Shot In The Dark” is a reference to the 1964 Pink Panther film about an incompetent detective, though Ozzy changed the lyrics to be darker, of course. It’s one of his biggest solo hits, and it’s pretty clear why. It’s an amazing offering to metal and pop rock fans alike.
2: “Bark At The Moon” - ‘Bark At The Moon’
Ozzy’s third studio album was the first released after the passing of Randy Rhoads and the introduction of Jake E. Lee. The title track was the first Ozzy and Lee wrote together.
According to Ozzy: “The title for this song actually came from a joke I used to tell where the punch line was ‘eat shit and bark at the moon.’ I'd had the vocal line for this and Jake came up with the riff. It was the first song we wrote together.” It’s about a werewolf who comes back from the dead, seeking revenge.
The frenetic guitar riff is not only loved as Jake’s best but as one of the best riffs to come out of the 1980s, and you’ll get no pushback from me.
1: “Crazy Train” - ‘Blizzard Of Ozz’
Track two on his first solo record made him something other than Black Sabbath’s former frontman and introduced the world to Randy Rhoads. That was it. “Crazy Train” reached number nine on the US Billboard Top Tracks chart and the single peaked at number six on the Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart in 1981. It’s been consistently chosen as Ozzy’s best solo performance. It’s ranked in the top ten of many all-time greatest metal song lists. He’s performed it live almost twelve hundred times. Guitar World ranked Randy’s solo as the ninth greatest ever, and the single has gone four-times platinum.
Ozzy claims: “Before it was called ‘Crazy Train,’ before we even had a title, Randy and I were working on the music. He had his effects pedals, and coming through his amp was a weird kind of chugging sound. It was a phase-y kind of psychedelic effect, this chugging sound that was coming through his amp from his effects pedal…Randy was into trains - he used to collect model trains, and so did I. I've always been a train buff, and so was Randy. So I said, ‘Randy, that sounds like a train. But it sounds nuts.’ And I said, ‘A crazy train.’
This is the clear number one and one of the greatest hard rock songs ever produced.