Monday, August 31, 2020

Shaun Cassidy and Todd Rundgren team up for 1980's most unusual album

Shaun Cassidy : Rebel Rebel

On September 1, 1980 Shaun Cassidy released Wasp, one of the most unusual albums of 1980, because it was produced by Todd Rundgren whose band Utopia performed on the songs. Six of the tracks are covers including the single, David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel". 

Cassidy told Trouser Press Rundgren selected most of the songs.

I'd been listening to rock n roll ever since I can remember; "Da Do Ron Ron" (his US#1 hit) was the first single I ever bought...I had enjoyed the album Todd did for Grand Funk, but I really wasn't familiar with what he had been doing with Utopia. Todd gave me a list of records to familiarize myself with --some of them great, some of them terrible, but all material he thought I should know.

I enjoy Elvis Costello more than I used to. The B-52's are real dumb...I like that

Overall my attitude toward music has changed. I used to haver to like the songs or the way the performer would sing. Now, I'm more interested in commitment. I like Tom Petty's work a lot. Bruce Springsteen, too, though he seems to be in a bit of a rut.

David Cassidy's younger brother's own career was in a bit of a rut . His previous album failed to chart. So Shaun followed Rundgren's suggestions, recording covers of The Who's "So Sad About Us" The Four Tops' "Shake Me Wake Me (When It's Over)", The Animals' "It's My Life", and Talking Heads' "The Book I Read". The latter is especially egregious.

Rundgren also offered up some of his own originals including the title track. Hard to imagine what a young fan might have thought of this album. Wasp failed to chart , bringing he 21 year old singer's musical career pretty much to an end.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Death haunts singles from U2 and The Ruts

U2: A Day Without Me

In August of 1980, U2 released its first Steve Lillywhite produced single ,  "A Day Without Me",  from the forthcoming debut album  b/w an instrumental called "Things To Make And Do". 

Though the song predates the suicide of Joy Division's late frontman Ian Curtis, Bono tells Sounds 

"'A Day Without Me' is about  Ian Curtis. It's the image of death, of the landslide. You're really not that important, after death even your friends and relations will soon forget you. It's like the unimportance of the individual in terms of this world. The world doesn't care about the individual."

The Ruts  :  West One (Shine On Me)

At the end of August 1980, The Ruts were back in the UK charts with "West One (Shine On Me)", their final recording with Malcolm Owen, who had died a month earlier of a drug overdose. The single peaked at UK#43. A secret message was scratched in the wax "And now..." flipped with "...Ruts Da Capo". The band would henceforth be known as The Ruts DC.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Stray Cats bring the bop to Britain

The Stray Cats :  Runaway Boys

On August 30, 1980 NME raved about an American band that had become "a hot property, their every move charted by a swarming posse of A+R men". The band was called The Stray Cats, a Long Island trio of teens from Jerry Seinfeld's hometown. They weren't catching on in New York City clubs so they packed up their bags, including Lee Rocker's six foot tall acoustic bass, and moved to England where they were called "pioneers of postmodern rockabilly and arguably the hottest band currently doing the rounds on an otherwise uninspiring London gig circuit."

Word of their performances attracted both record execs and luminaries like Jerry Dammers, The Pretenders, members of The Clash, The Banshees and even Jagger, Richards and Ronnie Lane. The Stray Cats played Eddie Cochran covers, but they already had a strong set of originals like "Rumble In Brighton" and "Runaway Boys". 

Arista Records signed The Stray Cats in September, sending Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom and Rocker directly into the studio to record their debut 45.

Friday, August 28, 2020

UB40 debut simmers with rage

UB40 : Burden of Shame


On August 29, 1980 the Birmingham reggae band UB40 released their platinum debut album Signing Off to critical praise. The album entered the charts on October 2, 1980 and stayed there for 71 consecutive weeks. The band took their name and their album cover from a British unemployment benefit form and discovered their political voice by growing up in a city that had experienced the Birmingham pub bombings, IRA conflict, migrants families living in fear and the police using "sus laws" to detain Black citizens.

 Though the band has a worldwide reputation for its feel good covers, the debut simmers with rage. 

In "Burden of Shame" singer Ali Campbell recounts the misdeeds of British Imperialism.

There are murders that we must account for 
Bloody deeds have been done in my name 
Criminal acts we must pay for
 And our children will shoulder the blame

Campbell's smooth voice and the mellow vibe of the song might lead some listeners to miss the point of the songs, but most reviewers figured it out, including David Hepworth of Smash Hits:

Robert Christgau gave the album a  grade of B+ writing " They don't play no ska--they're songsmiths in a deep reggae groove. Like good reggaeheads (and unlike punk/mod ska speeders), they take their time instead of pressing on to the next one, and more than one instrumental outwears its welcome. But when they're singing 'Tyler is guilty' or 'King where are your people now?' or 'I'm a British subject, not proud of it' or--guess who--'Madame Medusa,' patience is rewarded."

Sounds awarded Signing Off five stars out of five, claiming that "it is an (almost) perfect album... It's rare to find a debut album so detailed, so excellently played and so packed with bite – I sometimes think it hasn't really happened since The Clash."

NME described the album as "a courageous debut... Their radical sentiments and trenchant lyrics are given all the more force by the soft-fist of UB40's measured musical delivery... The music might be mellow, but the hard-backed sentiments are hardly those of the nice reggae band you may have pigeonholed the UBs as."

Melody Maker said "The UBs, chirpy and still fully independent, have wrapped up their initial promise and persuasion and delivered a well-girthed winner of a debut album... Certainly the music of UB40 benefits far more in both quality and quantity from the exacting freedom of an LP than any of their close contemporaries... the band have broadened out the unique, shy commerciality of the two singles, "King" and "Food for Thought"... to an approach that sharpens the shape of their music and magnifies the message.

Record Mirror called the band "important" and observed that "their subtle dance music is opening up a lot of ears to the pleasures of British reggae"

UB40 would sell more than 120 records worldwide and have 50 singles in the UK charts, but here is where the band showed its edge. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Robert Palmer goes synth pop on new single "Johnny and Mary"

Robert Palmer : Johnny and Mary

In August of 1980 Robert Palmer released his UK#44 hit "Johnny and Mary", a flirtation with synth pop at a time Palmer was trading song  ideas with Gary Numan of all people. Two of their collaborations, "I Dream of Wires" and "Found You Now"  appear on the forthcoming album Clues. Though he had recently had two hits in the US, "Bad Case of Loving You" and "Every Kinda People", Palmer had not found his audience in the UK until now.

He told Smash Hits where the song came from: 

It was a total accident. Usually the way I work is to put down endless beats on the tape recorder and if one stands out when I play it back I make a song out of it. I put down the lyric at 2 AM and I remember playing it back the next day and thinking 'What the he''s that ?' But then I kept on whistling it and I thought if that isn't a hit..."

Palmer said the song is a "parody of old style values, about a couple who live on habit and just put with each other."

  Palmer lived with his wife and kids in The Bahamas where he played percussion on the upcoming Talking Heads album Remain In Light. Heads drummer Chris Frantz would return the favor on the next Palmer single.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The "tacky little dance band" from Athens GA strikes again

The B-52's : Private Idaho


On August 27, 1980 The B-52's released their second album Wild Planet.  It sounds better than the debut but it's not a huge leap creatively. In fact, five of the nine songs on the album — including two of the best, “Devil in My Car” and “Strobe Light” — were written before the first album was recorded.  

Some critics were wondering if the B-52's were just a novelty act. Los Angeles Times critic Richard Cromelin suggested the band's lyrics weren't as entertaining this time, pointing out, there are no lines as “devastating as last year’s ‘Why don’t you dance with me/I’m not no Limburger.'” 

Rolling Stone's Frank Rose loved the opening track "Party Out of Bounds", but he's not entirely sold, writing:

"Party out of Bounds" notwithstanding. Wild Planet plainly lacks the relentless exuberance of the group's debut disc. This is partly a result of the production: flatter and duller sounding than its predecessor, the new LP doesn't attempt to dazzle Mostly, though. It's a case of sound following substance, because the doings on Wild Planet turn out to be a little bit creepy It's almost as if we're being treated to the "dark side" of the B-52's – their Twilight Zone as it were last year, we got "Planet Claire" and the Aqua Velvat this year, we get "Devil in My Cat" and "Quiche Lorraine" (Don't laugh. Qutche Lorraine is the name of a lost poodle) Now, in fact, we're served something of a B-52's noir Maybe "Party out of Bounds" was meant as a warning.

From Smash Hits:

After giving the debut an A, Robert Christgau gave Wild Planet  a B+, writing:

I keep waiting for number two to come through on the dance floor the way the debut did, but "Party out of Bounds" and "Quiche Lorraine" are expert entertainments at best and the wacko parochialism of "Private Idaho" is a positive annoyance. Only on "Devil in My Car" and "Give Me Back My Man" do they exploit the potential for meaning--cosmic and emotional, respectively--that accrues to the world's greatest new-wave kiddie-novelty disco-punk band.

Around the time of the album's release The B-52's appeared in both the Heatwave Festival and in Paul Simon's One Trick Pony film. Wild Planet peaked at US#18, more than 40 spots higher than the debut. 

Fred Schneider says the band has one goal. "Just to be entertaining. That's all we want."

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Ian Dury : "Eat green vegetables!"

Ian Dury and the Blockhead : I Want To Be Straight

On August 26, 1980 Ian Dury and the Blockheads, now featuring former Feelgood Wilko Johnson, returned to the UK Top 40 with "I Want To Be Straight". Dury and Johnson had met in the early 70's when their former bands ( Dury's was Kilburn and the High Roads)  were part of  the UK pub rock scene. The two met again backstage at The Rainbow where they were performing in The Stranglers show while Hugh Cornwell was in prison. The Blockheads backed Wilko on his cover version of Don Williams's "Oh! Lonesome Me". Now he was playing rhythm guitar with the band.

The song and video begins with an iconic roll call:

The single is about getting back in shape. Ian Dury had been watching his weight and swimming every day. 

"Everybody understands that feeling," says Wilko Johnson in an interview with Smash Hits."Everybody's had it at one time or another."

"If Elvis Presley had eaten green vegetables he'd still be alive," adds Dury. "That's what everybody keeps telling me. I really wish he was still alive, and I want to keep on rocking and rolling --I don't think that's a bad name for what we do --until some other all-encompassing interest comes my way."

Monday, August 24, 2020

Ranking Roger : My All Time Top 10

The Beat : Rough Rider


At the end of August, 1980, as The Beat's debut album was selling its way to Gold Record status,  teenage toaster Ranking Roger  provided Smash Hits with his all time top 10 favorite songs. The list includes The Sex Pistols, two songs by The Clash, Kraftwerk , The Specials and features four reggae artists. Militant Barry's "Pistol Boy" is about Sid Vicious and the murder of Nancy Spungen.

Gary Numan's new single attacks the music press

Gary Numan : I Die :You Die

On the week of August 24, 1980 Gary Numan's new single "I Die : You Die" b/w a piano version of "Down in the Park"  entered the UK charts at #8. It would peak two spots higher at UK#6 but fail to enter the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. The song was not included on UK pressings of the forthcoming Telekon but did appear on the American versions.

 In the song Numan attacks the press:

They crawl out
Of their holes for me
And I die you die
Hear them laugh
Watch them turn on me
And I die you die
See my scars
They call me such things
Tear me, tear me, tear me

Sunday, August 23, 2020

The New Wave Woodstock

On August 23, 1980 Heatwave, a day-long New Wave music festival held near Toronto on August 23rd drew more than 60,000 people who saw Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Talking Heads, the Pretenders, the B-52's and Rockpile. Promoters need 90,000 to break even and failed.  They blamed the lower-than-expected turnout on four factors: a limited advertising budget that didn't penetrate U.S. markets deeply enough and didn't include a sufficient budget for print ads; the lack of a big-name crossover artist like Tom Petty or the Cars, which would have attracted a broader audience; the riot that broke out a few days before the festival when Alice Cooper failed to appear at a concert at the nearby Canadian National Exhibition; and lack of support from record companies which were were reluctant to help with advertising costs and even wanted to charge the festival for photos and biographical material. It didn't help that The Clash dropped out. Overall promoters lost a million dollars.

But even if Heatwave wasn't a smashing commercial success, it was an artistic triumph. Particularly noteworthy were performances by Talking Heads and Elvis Costello (his only North American appearance so far this year). The Heads appeared with an expanded — and funk-infused — lineup of nine musicians, including keyboardist Bernie Worrell from Parliament-Funkadelic and guitarist Adrian Belew, who's played with David Bowie. Costello appeared friendlier than usual as he chatted and joked with the crowd ("Hi, we're the Clash" were his opening words), which brought him back for three encores.

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Jam's current fave songs circa Summer of 1980

In the Summer of 1980 each member of The Jam provided the newly formed Flexipop! Magazine with a list of their favourite current records. All three like "Happy House" by Siouxsie and The Banshees. While Paul Weller said he thought David Bowie was "a bit of a prat" he selected two songs including "Ashes To Ashes", the song they would dislodge from the top of the UK charts.If yoyu click on the page below it gets bigger ( That's what she said).

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Van Morrison and Paul Simon : two masters release overlooked albums

Paul Simon : Late in the Evening

In August of 1980 Paul Simon released the soundtrack to the movie One Trick Pony, around the same time the film he starred in hit theaters. Neither can be considered great successes though the project did produce Simon's Grammy nominated US #6 hit "Late In the Evening", a bouncy reminder of his second solo hit single, "Me And Julia Down By The Schoolyard".

Made for $7.5 million, the movie flopped. Simon took full responsibility even promising to pay Warner Brothers back. 

"Once I did Still Crazy. I thought about what ambitious thing I could do next, and I was arrogant enough to think I could so a movie, even though I wasn't prepared to make a movie," he's quoted in the Robert Hilburn biography. "I ended up making a series of bad decisions, and the movie was such a flop that I kin ]d of withdrew and licked my wounds and asked myself what the hell happened there."

As part of his quest for authenticity in the film, he had his own musicians play themselves in the film. Lou Reed even plays a hack producer.

Van Morrison : Satisfied

Meanwhile Van Morrison released Common One, an album critics lambasted.Graham Locke reviewed it in NME calling it "colossally smug and cosmically dull; an interminable, vacuous and drearily egotistical stab at spirituality". Dave McCullough wrote in Sounds: "For the fan, as I am myself, it's not even possible to romanticize and say that Morrison has lost his way temporarily, so stern and so acute is his departure." Only "Satisfied" harkens back to the simplicity of Van the Man's old hits. There are two tunes here running longer than 15 minutes. 

  The album has been reassessed more recently, years after Lester Bangs wrote "Van was making holy music even though he thought he was, and us rock critics had made our usual mistake of paying too much attention to the lyrics."

While Dylan was hitting us over the head with his born again faith, Van was more subtle. He sings "it ain't why it just is" in "Summertime in England", and that just might be a far more powerful faith statement than anything on Dylans albums.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Joan Armatrading releases another classic single "All The Way From America"

Joan Armatrading : All the Way From America

In August of 1980, Joan Armtrading released her UK#54 hit "All The Way From America", a second single from her UK#5 album Me Myself I. She's accompanied here by the studio musicians who would make up David Letterman's band, including Paul Shaffer, Will Lee and Anton Fig. When asked why she doesn't have her own band the way Graham Parker and Elvis Costello do, Joan says

 I get worried sometimes...I don't want anything I do to be only 50 percent me. I want the majority share. A permanent band might want to put more of their own stamp on it. Though I don't want the guys to feel like robots either. They are all good musicians, they have to have their chance to say "this is what I can do".

She's also asked why she isn't more political. She responds, joking:

I know I'm black. I see it all the time, I like it. I wouldn't want to wash it off. I mean, some of my family are black.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Swell Maps make a glorious clatter on legendary "Jane From Occupied Europe"

Swell Maps : The Helicopter Spies

On August 16, 1980 Swell Maps, the lo-fi experimental rock band made up of brothers Epic Soundtracks and Nikki Sudden out of Birmingham, released their second album Jane from Occupied Europe to an ecstatic 5 star review from Dave McCullough of Sounds.

He calls it:

" roaring, uniquely uncorrupted FUN!...a bumper album, consistently excellent, a huge, lovable adventure playground to forget the bad times we're in and still emerge with full integrity."

Hugely influential, you can hear future bands Sonic Youth, Nirvana and Pavement in Maps tunes like "The Helicopter Spies". In fact Scott Kannberg of Pavement  says"Swell Maps was a big influence on our early records ... they had these songs they fucked up somehow to make sound really dirty and low frequency, but they had these great songs underneath all this mess".

The Maps would also toss in industrial sound collages like "Mining Villages". Not recorded with radio airplay in mind I assume.

"Collision With a Frogman" flows right out of "Mining Villages". It sounds like a spy theme for a movie about a secret agent who doesn't get any of the girls and, in fact, can't find his hair brush or keys. 

"Secret Island" has a great riff. 

They may have borrowed some elements from Wire and Can but Sonic Youth certainly borrowed something from the Maps."As soon as that Nikki Sudden guitar comes slicing slabbing and all out fuzzifying off that crackling vinyl groove you know you’re gonna rock," Thurston Moore writes. " It’s the best of both whirls: fist-in-the-heart guitar burnin’ rock and ahead-of-its-time songsmith awareness ... The Swell Maps had a lot to do with my upbringing". 

Swell Maps broke up in 1980. Its members headed off to other projects.

Monday, August 17, 2020

The making of URGH ! A MUSIC WAR

Oingo Boingo : Ain't This The Life

On the weekend of August 16 British filmmakers, working with IRS Records and FBI Booking Agency,  showed up at various Los Angeles venues to shoot performances that would appear in a 1981 concert movie called Urgh! A Music War

It all began on a Friday night at Santa Monica Civc Center with sets from Chelsea ("I'm On Fire") and the Dead Kennedys ("Bleed For Me"). X followed with a version of "Beyond and Black", followed by The Cramps playing "Tear It Up" with their new guitarist Julien Hechtlinger, aka Julien Grindsnatch. 

  The next night featured Stiv Bators, who didn't make the cut. Wall of Voodoo followed with "Back In Flesh". The Members("Offshore Banking Business")  were next and then came Pere Ubu with "Birdies". David Thomas looked like a junior banking executive.

Magazine followed with a version of "Model Worker". Said a reviewer from Sounds "Howard Devoto was looking like an over-intelligent lift-operator from another world dropped into a disco".

On Sunday night the filmmakers moved to the Whiskey A-Go-Go to film The Surf Punks performing "My Beach", followed by The Go-Go's with "We Got The Beat". 

The Alley Cats took the stage that night to play  "Nothing Means Nothing Anymore" and a band called Oingo Boingo with "Ain't This the Life".

In San Francisco they would catch Devo on stage. 

The following weekend the crew would be in New York City catching performances by The Fleshtones, Joan Jett and, most memorably,  Klaus Nomi performing "Total Eclipse". The movie would be released in 1981 along with a soundtrack by A+M Records which may why The Police, shot in September along with the likes of XTC and Echo and the Bunnymen, get three songs on the soundtrack. 

Both Talking Heads and The B-52's both turned down offers to appear in the movie.  

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Jam's "Start!" gives an old riff new life

The Jam : Start!

On the week of August 17, 1980 The Jam's new single "Start!" b/w "Liza Radley" debuted on the UK charts at #3, the same week David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" hit #1. The following week it would knock Bowie from the top spot, repeating the success of "Going Underground".

"Start!" began as a demo called "Two Minutes" that came from sessions in which The Jam recorded cover versions of "Rain" and "And Your Bird Can Sing" (The Beatles), "Dead End Street" and "Waterloo Sunset" (The Kinks), and "Get Yourself Together" (The Small Faces). So Weller's decision to incorporate the bass riff from "Taxman" was very much a deliberate move and one that he was quick to admit. George Harrison must have considered it a tribute, or felt like he had spent too much time in court, because he never made an issue of it. 

Some record company executives were pushing for "Pretty Green" to be the new single but Weller had final say.

Directed by Russell Mulcahy ("Hungry Like The Wolf"), the video was shot quickly and cheaply. It gives the impression that The Jam are performing in the same place The Beatles shot the back cover of Revolver.

Not long after the release of "Start!", Melody Maker  photographer Paolo Hewitt managed to introduce Paul Weller to Pete Townshend. They didn't agree on much and both were disappointed. The headline bother Weller.

The B-side "Liza Radley" is that rare acoustic song by The Jam and features an understated accordian played by Bruce Foxton. It would not make an appearance on Sound Affects. Weller was trying to push back the album to 1981 citing lack of songs.

From Smash Hits, perhaps the only review that didn't print the "Taxman" reference

Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" enters US charts

Queen : Another One Bites The Dust

On August 16, 1980 Queen's smash hit "Another One Bites The Dust " entered the US charts at #67. It would top the US charts for three weeks, selling seven million copies, making it the all time top selling single for the band. Written by bassist John Deacon, who plays most of the instruments,  the song was inspired by Chic's "Good Times".

In an interview with the New Musical Express, Chic bass player Bernard Edwards said: "

Well, that Queen record came about because that bass player spent some time hanging out with us at our studio. But that's OK. What isn't OK is that the press started saying that we had ripped them off! Can you believe that? 'Good Times' came out more than a year before, but it was inconceivable to these people that black musicians could possibly be innovative like that. It was just these dumb disco guys ripping off this rock 'n' roll song." 

"Credit for the song should go to Michael Jackson in many ways," Freddie Mercury said. "He was a fan and friend of ours and kept telling me, "Freddie, you need a song the cats can dance to." John introduced this riff to us during rehearsal that we all immediately thought of disco, which was very popular at the time. We worked it out and once it was ready, played it for Michael. I knew we had a hit as he bobbed his head up and down. "That's it, that's the gravy. Release it and it will top the charts," he said. So we did and it did."

The B-Side was Freddie Mercury's "Don't Try Suicide"

Saturday, August 15, 2020

1980's 5 Best Heavy Metal Albums

On the weekend of August 16, 1980, Castle Donington Raceway in Leicestershire hosted the first annual Monsters Of Rock festival. Rainbow, Judas Priest, Scorpions and Saxon topped the bill with Canadians April Wine among the supporting acts. 35,000 fans witnessed Rob Halford ride on stage on a Harley for the Judas Priest show. They were followed by a historic performance by Rainbow. It would be drummer Cozy Powell's last Rainbow gig. Singer Graham Bonnet  welcomed in the 80's with an outfit that would later be adopted by the stars of Miami Vice. No doubt the hard stuff was here to stay!

1980's 5 Best Hard Rock Albums

1. Iron Maiden: Iron Maiden

A UK#4 hit, the Iron Maiden debut was hailed by Geoff Barton, in Sounds, as "Heavy metal for the '80s, its blinding speed and rampant ferocity making most plastic heavy rock tracks from the '60s and '70s sound sloth-like and funeral-dirgey by comparison" . The muddy production has done nothing to prevent his becoming from a classic

2. Black Sabbath : Heaven And Hell

Ozzy who? The album that introduced Black Sabbath fans to new frontman, Ronnie James Dio,  formerly of Rainbow, sold a million copies in the United States. No plodding here !“Everyone had that record,” Metallica's James Hetfield told Rolling Stone. “Everyone was playing the cover songs in garage bands, including me. ‘Neon Knights’ was like the school anthem.”  

3. Motorhead : Ace of Spades

Peaking at UK#4, Motorhead's Ace of Spades has been described as "unrepentant and full of hell, there’s not one note out of place " by Sid Smith of BBC Music. Its jackhammer guitars were the curtains opening to a new kind of hard rock.  And in walked Anthrax and Metallica.

4. AC/DC: Back in Black

Selling 10 million copies in the United States alone Back in Black  was hailed by David Fricke as  "not only the best of AC/DC’s six American albums, it’s the apex of heavy-metal art: the first LP since Led Zeppelin II that captures all the blood, sweat and arrogance of the genre. In other words, Back in Black kicks like a mutha."

5. Judas Priest : British Steel

With British Steel, Judas Priest discovered the sound that would sell millions.“When we first entered, our albums were very involved, our songs were very pre-arranged, a bit self-indulgent with the lead breaks,” guitarist Glenn Tipton told Musician. “But we shortened the length of the songs, we increased the excitement and the tempo in the songs, and we did something that everybody thought you couldn’t do, that was never acceptable as heavy metal: We introduced melody to it.”   

Hon Mention: Ozzy Osborne: Blizzard of Ozz

Released in the UK in September of 1980, and six months later in the US, Blizzard of Ozz proved Ozzy Osborne has something to say without his Black Sabbath bandmates backing him up. Much of the credit goes to guitar sensation Randy Rhoads.“The first album, none of us had played together,” he said in 1981. “We were putting the band together, writing the songs and being in the studio at the same time … the first album was, ‘Turn it up to 10 and if it feels good, just play it.'”