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Mr. Crowley

by

Ozzy Osbourne



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song is about Aleister Crowley, a British practitioner of black magic in the early 1900s. Known as "The Wickedest Man Alive," Jimmy Page based some of the Led Zeppelin album covers on his work.

The song helped Ozzy play up his mock-Satanic image, which he often did for effect. This his something he did in his band Black Sabbath, who likened their music to horror movies.
Ozzy mispronounces Crowley's last name. It is in fact pronounced with the first syllable sounding like "crow" in English. (thanks, Daz - Lufkin, TX)
Bob Daisley, who was the bass player on the album, wrote some of the lyric for this song. In our interview with Daisley, he explained: "I wanted to look at the darkness and question Aleister Crowley. 'Aleister, what were you thinking?' You know. All this darkness and negativity. So that was a snag that I put on it."
When Crowley was born they scattered the afterbirth because he had a birthmark shaped like a swastika. Ozzy sings about it in the line "They scattered the afterbirth."
In the liner notes for The Ozzman Cometh, Ozzy wrote, "I'd read several books about Aleister Crowley. He was a very weird guy and I always wanted to write a song about him. While we were recording the Blizzard of Ozz album there was a pack of tarot cards he had designed lying around the studio. Well one thing lead to another and the song 'Mr. Crowley' was born." (thanks, Matthew Daubert - Mequon, WI)
A live version of this song was released as the second single from the album, following "Crazy Train." This version was taken from a performance on October 2, 1980 when Ozzy and his band played the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton on their first UK tour. In the UK, the single was backed with the song "You Said It All," (taken from the same performance) which was not available on the album. In America, the single was released as an EP which also included a performance of "Suicide Solution" from that show.
Randy Rhoads played guitar on this track and co-wrote it with Ozzy and Bob Daisley. "Mr. Crowley" is a great example of both his striking guitar technique and creative riff-making, skills that helped Ozzy escape the long shadow of Black Sabbath and establish a solo career. Rhoads worked on two albums with Ozzy before his untimely death in 1982 at age 25. Rhoads died during a tour stop when he went up in a small plane and the pilot started buzzing the tour bus, trying to get a rise out of Osbourne, who was in it. The plane lost control and crashed, killing Rhoads, the pilot, and the tour hairdresser.
The line, "Won't you ride my white horse" is a drug reference. Crowley was a known user of opium.
Aleister Crowley would sometimes sign books and autographs, "Polemically Yours, Aleister Crowley," which inspired Bob Daisley to wrote the line "was it polemically sent?," which appears near the end of the song. "Polemically" means generating controversy.
Like the "Crazy Train" single, this one was credited to "Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz" on the cover. Blizzard of Ozz was supposed to be the name of the band, but Jet Records turned it into an Ozzy Osbourne solo album when they released the album, which featured just Ozzy on the cover and his name in big letters.
Ion Vein covered this for the 1999 compilation Land of the Wizard: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne.
At least two Ozzy Osbourne tribute bands (one German, one American) have used the name Mr. Crowley. (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for above 3)
This was included on Ozzy's 1987 album Tribute, which contained live tracks featuring Randy Rhoads.
Aleister Crowley was also the topic of the Bruce Dickinson (formerly and presently of Iron Maiden) song "Man of Sorrows" on the album Accident of Birth. The title of the song was a quote of Isaiah 53, supposedly a description of Jesus, whom Crowley hated; Dickinson is somewhat anti-Christian, and was not above assigning a title of Christ to the self-appointed antichrist.
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Comments (84):

Ok, first. Religious nuts. Crowly was many things but a satanist? No. And if you are such pious Christians, why are you reading Ozzy Osbourne lyrics?

As for the white horse reference, opium has never been referred to as horse or white horse. White horse is reference to chine white heroin. (It is occasionally used to refer to cocaine or other white powders but the original reference was for heroin.) Crowley was a heroin addict nearly until the end of his life. read the lines...

Mr. Crowley, won't you ride my white horse?
Mr. Crowley, it's symbolic of course

The second line says the line before is symbolic and since white horse is slang for heroin, well kiddies, there you have it.
- nECroMaNCeD, Silver Spring, MD
When asked what his most memorable guitar solo was, Randy Rhoads replied it was the first of two in this song. He had spent hours in a studio doing take after take and was unhappy with what he was playing. He was close to giving up when Ozzy told him to go back in the studio and play exactly what he felt. Randy did just that apparently and the first blistering solo was done in two takes.
- Jeff, Cambridge, United Kingdom
to everyone who has a beef with this song over the content of religion: 'Grow a sense of humor'
- Mauricio, Round Rock, TX
"won't you ride my white horse" symbolizses death. Directly from the book of Revelations the white horseman that takes 1/4 of the population of earth during armagedon but simply symbolizes death.
I cannot believe noone knew that. We figured that out as teenagers more than twenty years ago...
This song has one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. Check out Randy's use of different techniques throughout... This is a great song and puts terror in the hearts of the weak and ignorant.
- tim, okc, OK
So many incorrect statements about Crowley. You would really have to understand the system of magic he was working with to understand the man and his statements. The statements about pecking out the eyes of the person on the cross is like when Zen Buddhists say when you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha. It has to do with not being attached to name and form or religion for that matter. Crowley did not worship Satan. He did however see that what we refer to as Satan was part of the manifestation of God in the same way that Hindus have reverence for all aspects of Brahman (God) even if they take on demon like characteristics. It is like saying that you love everything about someone including their not so nice parts about them. Of course, there are some that can not see past their cultural conditioning and fear of the unknown, so they jump on all of the misguided hype about Crowley without truly understanding the man and his life. From what I know of Crowley he may not have always been a nice person and rather ego maniacal at times (as some who are genious tend to be). He was very brilliant. His knowledge of Western mysticism is quite remarkable.
- William, Earleville, MD
God bless Randy, gone but never forgotten... short life, HUGE influence in all our lives. One of the greatest guitar solos ever.
- Ray, Ccs, Venezuela
He considered himself to be the Beast; at this moment he's wishing he never committed such blasphemy.
- Isis, Queens, NY
Al Crowley was quite cool in my book; would that more of youth of today would follow that sterling example
- Bor, London, AL
ANYONE who exchanges their eternal soul for temporary fame and fortune in this life is an eternal FOOL! Crowley is burning in Hell as you read this! Say Alister, uh how's that working out for you anyway?! The only thing partying in Hell is the flames!!!
- Rod, Detroit, ID
I am so amazed at the ignorance and stupidity of the people commenting on this page.
Mr. Crowley was demon possessed (2 ex wives lived in asylums because of their association with him).
Why would you want any part of Satan...he hates everyone, but unfortunately, what may seem as a joke to so many of you, you will experience for eternity.
- Adrian, Denver, CO
randy rhoads you wrote amazing music and riffs and solos
- jon, Kansas, Angola
There was a commentary i liked,saying that if he was sort of an antichrist, then hee rathered not be satanist because its to linked, o and FYI, everyone that thinks the swatiska long since existed is right :D
- BlaznSasuke, NY, NY
To me this is the greatest lead solo in the world, it clearly shows how great Randy was, if Randy was still here he would definitely take the heavy metal to the next level, he was like a shooting star who came to Earth. He'll never be forgotten.
- Randy lalrinfela, Aizawl, India
Aleister Crowley DID hate all that Christianity stands for and especially hated Jesus Christ. There is no other way of stating that. In an excerpt from one of his books, he states something like... "my hawk head pecks out the eyes of your mad redeemer that hangs on the cross". That is not love, nor is it lukewarm feelings... that is hate. Read any documentary on his life and it becomes abundantly clear.
- Gregory Hogrefe, Findlay, OH
there will never be another randy rhoads...rip
- greg, slidell, LA
Why would a swastika-shaped placenta have had any significance? Crowley was long dead befoere the Nazis began! In Crowley's day, the swastika was an Indian(dots, not feathers) religious symbol meaning love+peace
- Cyberpope, Richmond, Canada
Dont know why people are always arguing on these pages... no one said anything about Randys classical guitar education. it is best shown on Goodbye to Romance.Mr. Crowley has exellent riffs. Randy was the best.RIP Randy.hope youre jammin with
Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Thanks for the great info guys
- Dave, Smithfield,RI, RI
There is a character in GH:WT named Shirley Crowley which is a take off of this song. Shirley is the bass protaganist of World Tour.
- Donald, Corpus Christi, TX
interesting take on this song, Brett. i just like the song on world tour lol
- bill, waco, TX
white horse is opium. this my favourite randy rhoads song. love the eerie keyboard intro. best live on "tribute" or the imported picture diss where the entire second solo can be heard. god bless randy rhoads.
- joseph, chicago, IL
Bob Daisley's line "Won't you ride my white horse?" was actually a reference to "purity" rather than satanic. He told me so!
- Vic, Melbourne, Australia
I am from Germany and the Swastika does represent hope. I am no Nazi butr my grandad says when Hitler had a Swastika it was meant we are getting out of the depression and trying to survive the war, depression, and all things going on in that time period.. Yea we killed Jews but I am not proud of that fact it was a pointless act on Hitler
- Scott, Hamburg, --
IMO this is Randy's best solo, but for some reason the solo that brings me chills is from Diary of a Madman. I listen to that song at least twice a day.
- Soupy, staten island, NY
The line "Won't you ride my white horse," could just as well be a clever salute to Crowley's bi-sexual encounters. The maiden's call refers to lust. "Standing with their backs to the wall..," his subjects. You get the picture.
- Bob, Merced, CA
Born Edward Alexander Crowley, on 12 October, 1875, in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, he was raised as a member of the Plymouth Brethren, a fundamentalist Christian group with whom his parents Edward and Emily Crowley were strongly associated. As a child he preached with his father, a wealthy brewer and preacher for the Brethren, but claimed to have 'gone over to Satan's side' by the age of 12. Despite this claim, Crowley stated he was in no way a Satanist, finding Satanism too linked to Christianity.
- dave, dallas, TX
Read this book! Behold a pale horse- william (milton) cooper. he was the most dangerous radio host in America according to Bill Clinton.
- dave, dallas, TX
hmmmmmm. what i have read about aleister crowley, born edward alexander crowley, practiced white magic with occults such as the hermetic order of the golden, aka golden dawn. which spawn wicca. sorta weird. but o well
- george, ada, MI
waited on satan's door is a referense to the fact crowley livedon the gate of hell
- john, poca, WV
hmmm. strange song, I think that bark at the moon is better :P but for Randy then it has to be believer :)
- George, Plymouth, United Kingdom
I have followed Ozzy since the Black Sabbath Days,I believe a lot of what Ozzy says is to promote his music,I do not believe Ozzy is a Satanist,as his song goes,he sings,"I`m just a rock n roll rebel..."!My favorite song by Ozzy is,"Mr.Crowley"!
-Bill Pike,USA
- Bill, Vermillion, SD
i think it should be left to ozzy on what his songs mean to him? and to other liseners i say this hardly anyone knows the truth on what thay lisen to becuse thay dont know the meaning on what that person is feeling..when thay speek or sing it... and ozzy if you are reading this good work keep it up and dont eat to many burritos chile chongas is the best.
- edward, inglis, FL
Nothing to say.
- Ian, Dundalk, Ireland
what a guitar solo in this tune...classic
- tom, chicago, IL
The Ozzman rocketh...the Randyman rolleth on his mighty axe with those magical fingers...definitely one of Ozz's best
- Shelby, out beyond the wall, KY
Very Interesting Comments. It is my distinct opinion that Mr. Crowley in prime was bright shining star (be it dark star), The condition of his body when his soul left speaks for it self. Your body is a temple be it light or dark. It was irresponsible of him to leave his work without "apprentice" at the end of his life to finish his work trying to close the gates of hell on earth. He had no business touching the hand of the Pschic Child of 7 or 8, Sybil Leek. Do study his work but learn from his mistakes. Pagan/Wiccan Born in Germany I have different understanding than most Americans. Black Magic is powerful stuff, just because you can does not mean you should. It is true that more of his work was with Egyptian Gods than Satan.
- Aurora, Merritt Island, FL
its all because people say that it is screaming and it sounds devilish so it must be anti christian
- DJ, assland, OH
There is an incredible cover of this by Ronnie James Dio (Sabbath frontman following Ozzy), Yngwie Malmsteen and Rob Halford (Judas Priest). I love the original (and live) but this one even blows them away
- ruddy, nowra, Australia
Bruce Dickinson is not anti christian! i have no idea how this came to be, probably through the hysteria of 'heavy metal is the devil' phenomenon. in fact he sings songs about God (with maiden anyway) and maidens drummer is christian. hard to understand how a conflict of interest like this would work in a band. not im not saying that he is pro christian either
- ruddy, nowra, Australia
whoops!
I meant the solo in Revelation: Mother Earth was better.
- bmike1, PHX, AZ
I think the solo on goodbye to romance is better.
- bmike1, PHX, AZ
Whatever.
- Joel, Columbia, SC
Aleister Crowley did not HATE JESUS. Seriously, read his books before you do a review.
- Carlos, Kelowna, Canada
It's a great song it made me want to find out who Mr. Crowley really was.
- nivek, GALVESTON, TX
True British rock at its best
- paul venters, edinburgh, Scotland
the swastika (skroo spelinz!!) is a hindu symbol for good luck, the nazi swastika is the hindu swastika backwards and without the two dots in the middle so yea, people back then wouldnt be afraid of a swastika birthmark
- zach, jersey city, NJ
Yngwie Malmsteen and some other dude did a cover of this for "The Ultimate Ozzy Osborune Tribute", the singer was OK but Yngwie completely tore u to pices with the first solo, it was the greatest version ive ever hear, better than the original, Rhandy Rhodes still plays the secound solo better than Yngwie though
- Jeff, Sothington, CT
Oh, I have to add something. Mike from New York, you should really share your IQ with us all. The Swastika was brought to power by Hitler as a symbol of the Aryans... whom used the symbol in ancient times as a basic design for most of their architecture, as well as their sign for peace on earth. Look it up, and think before you speak. It normally helps... normally. (WARNING: In some cases, thinking my cause STD's, Drug Addiction, Obesity, Cancer, Heart Disease, Liver Failure, and any other type of health problem you can 'think' of... bad pun. Sorry.)
- Josh, Huntsville, AL
I really cannot complain about Ozzy's version, as I respect Randy more than I do any other guitarist EVER. He was an absolute God... and has dozens of absolutely breathtaking solos.

However, setting aside the hard-hitting power of Rhoads's guitar, Dio's remake of the song is just much darker... and Dio is the true Prince of Darkness. So in this case, Ozzy's just gonna have to take the fall. (NO FLAMING. NONE. NO.)
- Josh, Huntsville, AL
Crowley owned a mansion at Foyers over looking Loch Ness. This was the same house that Jimmy Page later bought as result of his Crowley Obsession. There are many stories of what Crowley got up to in this mansion while he lived there, from dark arts, to ferrying women to the house in the back of pick-ups to fulfil his twisted sexual desires. The library in the mansion famously contains a few books covered in human skin.

- Richard Gauld, Scotland.
- Rich, Dundee, Scotland
This song is awesome, Randy is a true guitar legend, rock would have kicked ass if he was still around.
- Joaquin, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
ozzy did his best work after leaving black sabbath. havent you noticed that after ozzy left black sabbath sucked? also mr. crowly is the greatest guitar solo randy roads has ever done.
- joey, peachtree city, GA
as sad as it is, randy's death was at the right time, at least to cement his status as the worlds greatest guitar player. (no one WANTED him to die) Which he was in many ways i beleive.
- Mark, Ann Arbor, MI
yeah,this is the best Ozzy song ever. though, i like his stuff from Black Sabbath.
- Windy, Otway, OH
i was looking over it and ozzy osborune and the boys from iron maiden are good friedns, i beleive when he says aproaching a time that is classic i hear the maidens call hes speaking of iron maiden who had got thier kick start around then
- joseph wright, baltimore, MD
this song is a good example of the talent randy rhodes had. Everyone says "if only he survived ozzy woodve been so much better.." but i heard that rhodes actually was about to quit after the tour to teach guitar in his mothers school. Either way, its undeniable that rhodes marked the best of all of ozzys solo carrer. RIP randy
- Donald, Festus, MO
Crowley was an occultist who developed his own sort of religion. This, at the time, would have had him labaled as a sataniv worshiper. Now he would just be labaled as a lunatic :)

The Swadtika has been around for more then a millinia. It is older then the cross as a christian symbol. It is believed to have first been used by the ancient aryans as a symbol of hope and prosperity and is shown in many cultures since this time.

Anyway, it is a great song and as with most of Ozzy's songs can be used to educate the listener if they take the time to read up on what is being said within it.
- Derek, Brampton, Canada
The solo in this owns Crazy train. This is one of the best guitar solos in my opinion. Randy was probably the best all around guitarist. He could play could rythm, insane lead, and make awesome riffs. This is the solo that really shows him at his best. I don't listen to Ozzy's stuff for Ozzy, I listen for Randy.
- Rikki, Ashtabula, OH
mark from pheonix, if you think thats not a guitar on those solos you are crazy. the intro is an organ... maybe you are unfamiliar with song structure. go take a listen, and then know that i am right.
- Brian, Stillwater, OK
which solo is better this or crazy train
post ur comments please, i always thought this was better. either way, randy rhoads is a god
- Josh, New York, NY
By the way if any one knew anything a swastika has been around before the damn Nazi used it so stop arguing about that its dumb as HELL! And because Ozzy is a man of god he would of course use the bible in his music. have a nice day!
- Rumm, PDC, WI
the "guitar" solo on this song is actually a hammond organ....really, verify it yourselves but it is not played on a guitar on the album.
- mark, phoenix, AZ
& to top all that, Judas Priest did a cover. although its still no as good...
- Guan, London, England
What the hell crimes did Aleister Crowley commit?
- Arm, Somewher, United States
Great, great song.
- Ravyn, Hell, NY
Supposedly, Aleister Crowley opened up a portal to hell but died before he could close it.
- Josh, Thornhill, Canada
its not a satan worshipper! its a devil worshipper. SATAN AND THE DEVIL ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. satan is not lucifer, lucifer is the fallen angel who became the devil, satan is the guy utilized by god to test piety. thats why in satanism, you dont worship the devil, you are your own god, satan is used as a metaphor to represent the religion.

and aleister crowley was not a devil worshipper, he was merely a philosopher, and apparently a "sex god", (whoever said that i dont know).
- John, Glasgow, Scotland
Oh yeah, Stefanie--The Nazi party wasn't in existence when the swastika became an icon.
- Spike, Hamptons, NY
So here goes:
Aleister--yes A-L-E-I-S-T-E-R--Crowley was not a satan worshipper. He was a master in the arts of Tarot, Qabalah, ceremonial magick (not magic like illusions and white rabbits), yoga and meditation, he was a mountaineer, a poet, and a great chess player. DON'T call him a Satan worshipper! His mother was actually the one who originally called him the beast and it was in reference to the Book of Revelation. He just kept using it as it was convenient. Crowley's influence in rock music and modern culture and occultism was through his Thelema. I'm not completely clear on this, but the general idea is this: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." This also encompasses his drug use, his use of ritual sex among other things. The swastika is an ancient symbol, used in almost every culture in some way shape or form. The Ukranians painted them on eggs around the pagan spring holiday (the name of which has slipped my mind). Anyway... I can't vouch for the swastika birth mark or not--I don't know. It should be noted though, that some of his most adherent followers were also some of the most respected people of that time. Jack Parsons (one of the founding fathers of the space program), Gerald Yorke (later the emissary of the Dalai Lama), and Ian Fleming (ex-British intelligence, author of James Bond stories) to name a few.
- Spike, Hamptons, NY
Alex from New Orleans, I agree with you on "Crazy Train" & "Goodbye to Romance" as being much better tunes, but maybe we are in the minority? The tribute album to Rhodes rocks though. I think it's Ozzy's best work.
- Dee, Indianapolis, IN
Yeah Mike. The Swastika was around long before Lorld War II. I don't know where you got your information from. It's always been a symbol of the Nazi Party.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
I always heard that Crowley was a Satan worshipper. If you say he wasn't, why?
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
"mike, new york, NY ": I think you need a history lesson or two. The swastika, in different names or slightly different shapes, has been around for centuries, and is typically used by many Buddhist and sub-continental religions to denote the "circle of life" theory of reincarnation. Also, in relation to Nazism, the swastika had been in use by Adolf Hitler since the late 1910s or early 1920s when Hitler wrote his autobiography "Mein Kampf" (German for "My Struggle"), and became a national symbol of Germany in 1933 when Hitler's Nazi Party won the (rigged) general elections. I am amazed that you think the swastika (and, according to your flawed logic, the Nazi Party and Hitler himself) only came about at the start of WWII in 1939! Unbelievable.
- Wilfred, Melbourne, Australia
Okay, a few things here. Firstly, Crowley was definitely a magician, but not a Satan worshopper. He only used Satan as a symbol when it suited him. The rest of the time, he used the Egyptian gods.

Crowley usweed Opium and also revelled in his self-imposed title of the Great Beast. He would have loved the double reference.
- St Clair, Ingle Farm, Australia
Am I the only one that thinks the song isn't that great? I'd prefer Crazy Train or Goodbye to Romance.
- Alex, New Orleans, LA
Which explains the scattering of the afterbirth to the four directions.(Side note: the Nazi swastika is backwards.Literally.)
- Lacy, Yukon, OK
Mike, I'm not sure what your argument is, but the swastika is an ancient symbol meaning longevity, good luck, and happiness. It represents the four winds, the four seasons, and the four points of the compass, and was in use far before the rise of Nazism.
- Angelica, La Puente, CA
ok the swastika was not around untill the start of world war 2 and if anyone around england knew he had a swastika in the 1900 they would have called him evil and murdered him as a child
- mike, new york, NY
In my opinion, Ozzy's best. Randy Rhodes kills on guitar. This song is a masterpiece.
- Frank, Staten Island , NY
Ozzy wasn't happy with the first guitar solo in the song and argued with Randy Rhoads to the point of getting the guitar genius really mad. Randy went in the studio rigth away and played something really angry. He got out of the studio and ask how THAT solo was ! Ozzy smiled and said: This is it ! That was how that song has one of the best solo ever ... Randy RULES !
- Eric Dufour, Quebec, Canada
white hosre is an ambougous statemnet as is is in reference to both the bible and drugs as crowley took opoium
- craig, dublin, Ireland
alister crowley lived on his own in england in the early 1900's. he supposedly performed a ritual and opened up the gates of hell here on earth but died before he could close them up again. this is true, i looked it up.
- will, mcallen , TX
Yeah this is deffinatly written about Alister Crowley, a satan worshipper. This is also the best ozzy song ever!
- i duno, nowhere, United States
I beleive this to be Ozzy's best work, and I think Brett is correct. The guitar in this song is amazing, it reminds you why Randy Rhoads is a legend.
- Brian, Paoli, IN
Actually, the line "Won't you ride my white horse?" is from the Bible. According to the Book of Revelation, the Antichrist shows up on a white horse (he is the first of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse). Crowley thought that he himself was the Antichrist, thus this line and it's follow-up: "It's symbolic, of course."
- Brett, Edmonton, Canada
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