What surprised many of Ozzy’s return after his hard battle with drugs, post-divorce depression from his first wife and with the pain of having been expelled from Black Sabbath, was his glam look and style stripped of that hippie pose, dark and funereal of Black Sabbath. The so-called “Prince of Darkness”, faced his new stage with a twist, a change of switch (powered and motivated by Sharon, his manager and future wife) with blonde hair and supported by musicians from bands on the hard rock side, such as the great guitarist Randy Rhoads (Quiet Riot), Lee Kerslake (Uriah Heep) Bob Daisley (of Rainbow/Uriah Heep), and keyboardist Don Airey (Rainbow and Deep Purple years later).
This was the formation of the tornado, or the “Blizzard of Ozz”, which was finally how he called his first album and from where his first compositions, despite everything, were not completely separated from maintaining that spirit for the sinister and hidden exported from Black Sabbath: and there was the great “Mr. Crowley”.
The dark, melodic and praised ‘Mr. Crowley’ is almost like a tribute to Aleister Crowley, this countercultural and occult wizard who practiced black magic and who in some way in terms of aesthetics has inspired Ozzy, because later the outfits he wore were quite similar to him (the crosses and black robes, dark elegance). Although not everything was getting carried away by the occult, because Crowley was also an intellectual who founded the religious philosophy of Thelema and despite having a seasoned passion for esoteric subjects, he was also a novelist, poet and essayist, and has written more than eighty books, the majority referring to magic, cabala, esotericism, yoga and, on its Magick system and its philosophy thanks to the revelations of the acclaimed Book of the Law, which over the years has gained more character of study and worship.
All this led him to gain the respect of several musicians and characters of the time (to this day Danny Carey from Tool or Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin continue his studies and teachings). Crowley believed in reincarnation. The lyrics also say that Crowley “waited on Satan’s call”; Although he had a reputation as a Satanist, Crowley didn’t even believe in the existence of Satan, but Ozzy wanted to highlight his Sabbathic darkness anyway in these lyrics, causing the expected stir.
In a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone, Osbourne explained why he penned the song. “I never did this black-magic stuff,” he revealed. “The reason I did ‘Mr. Crowley’ on my first solo album was that everybody was talking about Aleister Crowley. Jimmy Page bought his house, and one of my roadies worked with one of his roadies.”
Crowley caught Osbourne’s interest. “I thought, ‘Mr. Crowley, who are you? Where are you from?’” he recalled. “But people would hear the song and go, ‘He’s definitely into witchcraft.’”
Osbourne also revealed members of Black Sabbath were not interested in magic. “We couldn’t conjure up a fart,” he said. “We’d get invitations to play witches’ conventions and black masses in Highgate Cemetery. I honestly thought it was a joke. We were the last hippie band — we were into peace.”
An infallible in their concerts and that preserved the spirit of Black Sabbath. Airey’s keyboards are key to the purpose of the song and Rhoads’s guitar solo continues to rise among the best in history today, awarded in numerous rankings and counts.