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Five Best Ozzy Osbourne Songs with Randy Rhoads

Randy Rhoads’ time in the spotlight as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist was oh so brief, but in the two records he recorded with the former Black Sabbath frontman, Rhoads left an indelible impact thanks to his phenomenal, neo-classical guitar style. Rhoads single-handedly helped spawn the neo-classical metal genre, while also influencing thousands of guitarists after his death (in a plane crash) in 1982. Here are five of the best songs Rhoads recorded with Ozzy from the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of Madman albums.

Suicide Solution

“Suicide Solution”, off the Blizzard of Ozz record, features Rhoads churning out one of his finest, angry-sounding riffs. With a solid backbeat from bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake, Rhoads is free to incorporate his signature screams and bends, giving the track added depth. Suicide Solution has become one of Ozzy’s trademark songs over the years. For a really amazing version, check it out live on Ozzy’s Tribute album to hear how Rhoads really flexes his guitar muscle. It’s the track that saw Ozzy getting sued in 1986 by a California family after their son committed suicide while listening to it. The case was dismissed in 1988.

Mr. Crowley

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.

S.A.T.O.

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.

Check out more of Cam Maxwell’s Rock ‘N Roll Insight.

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