If ever there was a song that can be described as neo-classical heavy metal, it’s “Mr. Crowley” from the Blizzard of Ozz album. The keyboard intro lays down the mood, while the lyrics about Aleister Crowley, who was denounced as a satanist and would surely have been denounced as a heretic in the Middle Ages, add to the aura of the song. Rhoads main riff is intertwined with bursts, string scratches and fills, while the solos are stellar. The mid solo reminds one of a violin virtuoso playing lead guitar. The outro solo is Rhoads using trills, runs and lightning-fast picking. Amazing stuff. Again, the Tribute version kicks ass.
I Don’t Know
The opening track from Blizzard, this would have been everyone’s first listen to Randy Rhoads, and he made sure people knew he meant business, laying down a blistering opening riff, then throwing in a classic little run at the 0:28 mark. With that 30 seconds or so, Rhoads announced to the world he was onto something. The song blends heavy power chords with a jazzy interlude in the bridge. Then the solo takes it to another level as Rhoads dazzles with de-tuned phrasings, runs, his classic deep bends and speedy hammer-pull combos. For an Ozzy song, I don’t know is a thrill-a-minute ride on the crazy train.
Over The Mountain
The first song from the Diary of a Madman record, Over the Mountain sees Rhoads showing his rhythm chops with the chugging main riff, interspersed with his usual phrasings. Ozzy’s in fine form, singing about altered reality and getting high. Then the solo is one of Rhoads’ most memorable, marrying a harmonized passage with a series of partially slurred whammy bar phrases for a strangely unsettled vibe that’s almost like two solos in one. The epic string scratch that caps the solo off nicely carries back into the final verse and riff.
One of the most unheralded of Ozzy’s songs, S.A.T.O. (from Diary of a Madman) is one of those tracks that carries you off on a journey, not across the sky, but across the ocean. To that end, most people think S.A.T.O. stands for Sailing Across The Ocean, however, Sharon Osbourne has said it actually stands for Sharon Arden Thelma Osbourne. Sharon is Ozzy’s current wife, while Thelma is his ex. In terms of the music, it’s a tour de force, giving you the feeling you’re stuck on ship, getting tossed about in a heavy storm. The solo is simply phenomenal — a two-part session of amazing lead fretwork from Rhoads. And the final verse carries the song to its climax, with Rhoads using the wah pedal to take it to another level. S.A.T.O. is one of Ozzy’s best songs, period.