Ozzy Osbourne released his solo album Blizzard of Ozz on this day in 1980.
This was Osbourne’s first solo album after he parted ways with Black Sabbath, the band which had made him famous. Sabbath had begun touring with a new vocalist, ex-Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio, earlier that year. For his part, Osbourne managed to recruit an ex-Rainbow member of his own, Bob Daisley on bass, for the album. He also managed to get a then-current Rainbow member, keyboardist Don Airey. Rounding out the lineup were drummer Lee Kerslake and guitarist Randy Rhoads.
This album features one of Don Airey’s most famous keyboard intros, that to the song “Mr. Crowley”. He relates that he wrote it in about half an hour by himself in the studio, and that Osbourne was very happy with it when he returned.
Airey has kept the spirit of that song alive throughout the remainder of his career, often performing it at his solo shows. He also plays portions of it during the beginning of his keyboard solos with Deep Purple. He has even on occasion attempted to top it, with dramatic organ intros for the Purple songs “Vincent Price” from Now What?! and “Step By Step” from Whoosh! Whether he manages to equal this original intro work will be up to the listeners.
The album received positive reviews from critics and has sold incredibly well over the years. It’s first RIAA certification came in July of 1981. It has since gone on to be certified several more times, including 5x multi-platinum in February of 2019.