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This song is about the dangers of alcohol. Ozzy claims he wrote it after Bon Scott, the lead singer for AC/DC, died as the result of a drinking binge.
There is some controversy over both who wrote these lyrics, and who they're about. Ozzy has stated that he wrote the lyrics about AC/DC's Bon Scott, but bassist Bob Daisley maintains that he wrote the lyrics about Ozzy, who was struggling with his own alcohol problems at the time. (thanks, David - Lilburn, GA)
On October 26, 1984, a 19-year-old American named John McCullom shot himself in his bedroom while listening to Osbourne's Speak of the Devil album on his headphones. McCullom had been listening to Osbourne's Diary of a Madman and Blizzard of Ozz earlier in the evening on the living room stereo, and his parents singled out "Suicide Solution" as a song that encouraged him to kill himself. In October, 1985, they sued Ozzy and his record company on grounds of negligence, product liability, and intentional misconduct. The case was dismissed in August, 1986, but McCullom's parents filed an appeal that brought even more attention to the case, which had become a first amendment litmus test. In the appeal, the plaintiffs made a case that Ozzy's songs contained themes of devil worship and death, and quoted the lyrics "suicide is the only way out" from "Suicide Solution" as evidence that it contributed to their son's death. Additionally, they argued that the song contained "masked" lyrics that weren't printed on the album: "why try, why try, get the gun and try it, shoot, shoot, shoot."
The court took a good, hard look before dismissing the case in 1988, ruling that the lyrics did not explicitly encourage suicide, and that music is protected by the first amendment. How a song about the dangers of alcohol abuse could be put on trail was baffling and frightening to many musicians, who feared legal ramifications over misinterpretations of their songs. The case was especially bewildering in Ozzy's home country of England, where the idea of blaming a song for someone's death was laughable. Osbourne told Mojo magazine Aug 2010: "Listen, it'd be a pretty bad career move for me to write a song saying 'Grab a gun and kill yourself.' I wouldn't have many fans left.
Anyhow, that track was about me drinking myself to death. Look at the lyrics. 'Wine is fine but whiskey's quicker/ Suicide is slow with liquor/ Take a bottle drown your sorrows.' I knew even then I had an alcohol problem."
While this case was going on, two others were filed by families convinced that this song compelled their kids to commit suicide. They were also dismissed.
The lawsuit claimed that this song contained subliminal messages saying: "Get the gun, shoot, shoot, shoot." Acoustic analysis showed that there were some sub-audible words, but it was not clear what they were. On the album Tribute, the line is listed as "Get the flaps out," which is a reference to the private part of the female anatomy.
The word "Solution" is meant as a mixture, meaning a drink containing alcohol. Many people interpreted Ozzy's use of "Solution" as the answer to a problem.
Ozzy was going to appear in an episode of Miami Vice, but was dropped because of the controversy this song generated.
Blizzard Of Ozz was Ozzy's first solo album after he left Black Sabbath. It featured significant contributions from his new guitarist, Randy Rhoads. The song's main riff was initially a way that Randy was tuning his guitar. (thanks, Jeff - Milton, Canada)
The 1999 compilation Land of the Wizard: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne featured a cover of this by the band Coffin Texts. (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada)
Collaborating with T Bone Burnett, Leslie Phillips changed her name and left her Christian label behind. Robert Plant, who recorded one of her songs on Raising Sand
, is a fan.
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