I got my introduction to Ozzy Osbourne the same way I would imagine many people my age did – by hearing Crazy Train on the radio and being blown away, at least a little bit, by the guitar playing. Long before I knew about Black Sabbath and Ozzy’s history with them, I found Blizzard of Ozz in my dad’s record collection and threw it on one day. My dad told me the story of the tragic death of Randy Rhoads, Ozzy’s guitarist.
A very talented young man who was taken too soon, but who made his presence known though his virtuosic guitar playing, and inspired many young people to pick up guitars (or in the case of Mastodon‘s Brann Dailor, drumsticks). I don’t know if it’s still the case, but I remember when I was in high school and learning to play guitar, my classmates who also played looked at the solo in Crazy Train as a big achievement. It’s a tough solo to play right, and I’ve heard it played wrong (and played it wrong myself) countless times. But we all wanted to be able to play it. Even 25 years after his death, he was still inspiring people to be good at guitar.
And he REALLY inspired this kid:
As you can probably understand, those times in the early 80’s were tough on Ozzy and everyone else around the band. He did eventually bring Jake E. Lee into the fold to play guitar for him, and eventually Zakk Wylde and now Gus G (with a number of other guys, including Alice In Chains‘ Jerry Cantrell, playing with Ozzy for shorter stints) to carry on with his solo career, but as you can tell watching the video a little further down, Rhoads will always hold a special place in Ozzy’s heart.
Lately, Ozzy and his son Jack have been starring in a travel show called Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour, which has taken them to a bunch of different places – including some that Ozzy didn’t really want to go to…
He did recently stop by a studio where the original master tape for Crazy Train was held. When asked if he wanted to listen to it, Ozzy says no at first – but it doesn’t take much to convince him. At first he looks like he’s not really enjoying it, but then he starts to talk and his true emotions shine through. As you’ll see, he’s a little shaken to be listening to that recording of Randy Rhoads playing guitar for the first time in 36 years.
So I guess it’s not just me who has fond memories and attachment to Crazy Train – Ozzy really does as well.