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In this song, Ozzy asks when we can all learn to love in a world gone mad. It was his first single after leaving Black Sabbath; his group was billed as "Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard Of Ozz."
While many believe that this is yet another Ozzy song about insanity, it's actually about the Cold War. Evidence in the lyrics: "Millions of people living as foes," "One person conditioned to rule and control; The media sells it and you live the role," "Heirs of a cold war, that's what we've become. Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb." The relevant acronym was "M.A.D." (Mutually Assured Destruction), a doctrine which basically amounts to "if they shoot their nukes at us, we'll shoot ours right back, and that would be the end of the world that nobody wants, so it won't happen... as long as we keep pointing nukes at each other." Hence, "crazy" is another word for "mad."
The M.A.D. logic actually extends from "Nash equilibrium", a concept of zero-sum strategy first theorized by game theory mathematician John Nash. You'll remember him as a character from the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind. The acronym M.A.D. was formulated by computer science pioneer John von Neumann, who had a taste for satirical humor. In fact, this concept, and the "Doomsday Device" idea behind it (coined by war strategist Herman Kahn), forms the entire basis for Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The real-life version of the device is the "Dead Hand" control system deployed by the Soviets. Cold-War paranoia extended from the 1950s until the famous end to it in 1991. By the way, the actual term "Cold War" was coined by one George Orwell, in his essay "You and the Atomic Bomb."
Randy Rhoads was Ozzy's guitarist on this song - he was in Quiet Riot before joining Osbourne. Like most of the guitar solos he recorded with Ozzy, Rhoads had to "double" all his guitar parts. This means he had to play every note of this very difficult solo exactly the same way, twice. This is one reason why the solo on the recording sounds so unique. Rhoads was a very proficient and influential guitar player. (thanks, Dave - Marieta, GA)
Rhoads wrote the music, Ozzy wrote the lyrics. This helped prove that Ozzy could succeed as a solo artist after leaving Black Sabbath. It should be noted that Ozzy Osbourne got fired from Black Sabbath for basically being a substance-abusing layabout. It was his feelings about this which form the theme to "Goodbye To Romance
." So the album Blizzard of Ozz
was not only a comeback solo, it was also a triumphant slap back at the band, leading to his own fame eclipsing Black Sabbath's at the time.
The 1987 live double-album Tribute contains a version of this which is a tribute to Randy Rhoads. Rhoads played on Ozzy's first 2 solo albums before he died in a plane crash while the band was touring in Florida in 1982. He was 25.
The sound at the end is a studio engineer saying "An Egg" through an oscillator. Ozzy had asked him what he had for breakfast that morning.
"Crazy Train" did not chart in America, but the song became one of Ozzy's signature songs and helped the Blizzard Of Ozz album sell over one million copies there over the next two years. It eventually would sell over 3 million in the US and launch Ozzy toward media domination in America, where with the help of his wife, Sharon, he would start a successful festival (Ozzfest) and get his own reality show on MTV. Not bad for a British Heavy Metal singer.
In 1999, this was used in Mitsubishi car commercials.
This was covered by Pat Boone, former gospel singer and Ozzy's old neighbor, for the album In a Metal Mood. His cover used a whistle and backup singers cooing "Choo, choo" as he sang it in a lazy, Las Vegas style. It gained popularity when it was used as the theme song for MTV's smash hit The Osbournes, and it was included on The Osbourne Family Album with a recording of Jack describing what a great neighbor Pat was. According to Jack, he dealt with everything you see on the show and more - logs flying through the window, constant yelling from the next house, etc.- and never complained once. Pictures exist showing Ozzy at Pat's house, in his garden, by his pool, etc. (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada)
The instrumental of this song was the beat to Lil Jon's track "Let's Go." (thanks, Jackson Robinson - Naperville, IL)