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Suicide Solution

by

Ozzy Osbourne



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

This song is about the dangers of alcohol. The "suicide solution" is drinking yourself to death, and the song is a warning against it: "Suicide is slow with liquor..."

There is some controversy over both who wrote the words to this song, and who they're about. Ozzy has stated that he wrote the lyric about AC/DC's lead singer Bon Scott, who was found dead after a night of drinking. Bassist Bob Daisley, however, maintains that he wrote the lyric about Ozzy, who was struggling with his own alcohol problems at the time. Evidence is in Daisley's favor, as he was the lyricist for the project.

After leaving Black Sabbath (whose lyricist was Geezer Butler), Ozzy formed a new band with Daisley and guitarist Randy Rhoads, which was called the Blizzard of Ozz. The trio wrote most of the songs for their debut album before drummer Lee Kerslake joined, including this one. Ozzy's contribution was vocal melodies. In our interview with Bob Daisley, he explained:

"Usually the music came first, Ozzy would sing a melody, and then I would take a tape away into my room and write lyrics by myself to Ozzy's phrasing and melodies that would fit with what he was comfortable with. He wasn't a lyricist and neither was Randy, so I had to wear the lyricist hat."

When the album was released, it looked like an Ozzy Osbourne solo effort, with just the singer pictured and his name in big letters above the phrase "Blizzard of Ozz." The record company (Don Arden's Jet Records) had decided to turn the band into Ozzy's solo project, and that's how it stood, even though early promotional materials clearly indicate Blizzard of Ozz as the name of the group.
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.
In the mid-'80s, song lyrics became a political issue as advocates pushed for a rating system on albums (which led to warning stickers for albums with explicit songs). "Suicide Solution" became a talking point because of its misinterpreted title and controversy over the lawsuit. In a 1986 forum on the Tom Snyder talk show, Don Arden, whose record company released this song, was a guest. When this song was brought up, he said: "I would be doubtful as to whether Mr. Osbourne knew the meaning of the lyrics - if there was a meaning - because his command of the English language is minimal anyway, so I wouldn't think there was any evil intent there."
The lawsuit over this song claimed that it 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" in this song is meant as a mixture, meaning a drink containing alcohol. The alternate interpretation is "Solution" as the answer to a problem, but the song is in no way suggesting that suicide is ever the answer, just that heavy drinking can kill you.
Ozzy was going to appear in an episode of Miami Vice, but was dropped because of the controversy this song generated.
The 1999 compilation Land of the Wizard: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne featured a cover of this song by the band Coffin Texts. (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada)
Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne Artistfacts
More Ozzy Osbourne songs
More songs involved in lawsuits
More songs rumored to contain hidden messages
More songs that are tributes to friends who died
More songs about alcohol

Comments (41):

To me, it always sounded like he was just saying suicide in an echo. By the way one of my fave Ozzy songs
- BranDee, Santa Clara, NM
The words "bodge" and "flaps" heard in some Ozzy songs such as "No Bone Movies" and "Suicide Solution" are alternative words for vagina and breasts.
- DeeTheWriter, Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation
Our justice system in america looks pretty dumb because we believe that a song could kill. If thats not stupid i dont know what is. Sure Ozzy gets crazy at live events but he doesn't tell people to get the gun and shoot themselves.To the parents of the child: your child was depressed and couldn't take it anymore. Dont go blaming a song just because it has the word suicide in it. If judge dismissed the case then he probably thinks that hes wasting his time on a pointless case.
- Ian, Los Angeles , CA
i am related to the boy who killed him self he is my moms cuz and the boy was nuts he lisend to the song for 8-10 hours straight that says something so i say that ya it is not Ozzys fault and my ma talked to him on the radio and told him that after the boy died(she is a big Ozzy fan to)
- Alice, norwood, United Kingdom
you know parents instead of blaming the songs themselves maybe you should blame yourselves. your parenting must be sub-par if your kids even want to commit suicide. and maybe instead of just buying what ever band or song your son/duaghter want to listen to why dont you look into ozzy's song. prince of darkness anyone?
- luke, saint augustine, FL
Bon Scott died in February 1980. Blizzard of Ozz was released in September 1980. Perhaps the song was written about Bon Scott, but given Ozzy's less-than-lucid state of mind, you could have told him that the song was about zebras and he may believe it.
- John, Vilseck, Germany
This song was indeed written by Bob Daisley(as were the majority of the first five Ozzy albums). I find it incredibly disrespectful that Ozzy claims he wrote it about Bon Scott, especially considering that the song was written BEFORE Bon died. It's one thing to steal another artist's lyrics, but it's just disgusting to lie about a dead supposed friend.
- Josh, Detroit, MI
"The song's main riff was initially a way that Randy was tuning his guitar."

While Ozzy is on record saying this, it's not true. The riff was actually directly lifted from a Quiet Riot song, "Force Of Habit". In fact, if you listen to Randy's work in Quiet Riot, you'll recognize a lot of pieces he would later use in the Blizzard Of Ozz band.
- Josh, Detroit, MI
I love this song,My second favorite Ozzy song actually.
- OtepManson, Grand Junction, CO
Some stupid lawyer claims that there is a subliminal message which says " Get the gun, Get the gun, Shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot" repeatedly during the middle part of the song. Ozzy even admitted that there is an effect. It sounds like he was saying the word SUICIDE through an echo box.
- Jason, Denver, CO
Ckathy, judging by your comments on other songs, I guess we're one of the few who understand how badly Ozzy and Sharon screwed Bob Daisley. I really hope one day justice will be served cold.
- mP, Toronto, ON
I'm sick of people saying Ozzy and metal music causes people to commit suicide or any other crime.I bet they hide the fact that some people who listen to gospel or christian music have commited crimes too.I've been an Ozzy fan for over 20 years and i still haven't killed anyone(there is still time left,lol,jk)
- wendy hieter, elmira heights, NY
If this song caused people to kill themselves there wouldn't be any Ozzy fans left.
- Richard, St. Joseph, MO
this song was about no commiting suicide if u read in the prince of darkness box set it says its not and he don know how the story got so twisted he was sued twice for this song judge threw it out maybe it was 3 pretty sure it was 2 isnt this why he wrote dont blame me? makes since to me
- jessica, chattanooga, TN
In an Interview Bob Daisley said That Ozzy came up with the first line "Wine is fine but whiskey's quicker, " Which is something he probably heard somewhere else. Daisley wrote the lyrics, they were about Ozzy himself whp was a bad alchoholic and a Plagerist.
- Ckathy, Glasgow, Scotland
I am sooo sick of (mostly ignorant) people trying to blame music on everything bad that happens. If someone is going to kill themselves than they will regardless of what music they happen to be listening to at the time.
- Joel, Columbia, SC
who cares if it doesnt have a solo, the main riff to this song is one of my favorites. And yes the live version off tribute is dank.
- Mark, Ann Arbor, MI
if only he wrote a solo for this song... aside from the live thing
- alex, st louis, MO
the live version of this song is SICK with rhoads on guitar. get it off the tribute album. amazing guitar solo.
- Josh, New York, NY
hey Jennifer Moncton, the same thing happened with this song.
Amazing song, obviously not Ozzy telling people to kill themselves if you listen to the lyrics. Simply a song of warning in regards to drinking. Amazing vocals and Rhoads is a genious.
- Geoff, Hanover, Canada
Judas Priest was the suicide contraversy not Ozzy
- Jennifer, Moncton, United States
The reference about the lawsuit and the teen suicides was about a Judas Priest song, not Ozzy.
- Jennifer, Moncton, United States
yeah Pat Boones ok but when I really wanna get down I whack on the ole Engelbert Humperdinck. now there's some good songwriting
- Dan, Renmark, Australia
I can't believe that some dimiss the great songwriting abilities so quickly. What do you listen to Pat Boone? Not such a great person to mimic, but to simply dimiss some of the best music of the '70s is ludicrous. I have two teenage boys and all of their friends still follow his music. Yes it is that good that it has stood the test of time!
- Derek, Brampton, Canada
I would hardly say admired by all the teenagers. In fact very many nowadays only know him for the show that he makes a fool of himself in.
- IVan, Vancouver, Canada
There's a much deeper root of the cause that brings people to suicide... and it usually lies in the realm of depressive issues and unresolved anger, which is far beyond the emotions presented from a song.
Though, music can sometimes innacuratetely remind and project how we might have felt in some situation or give a deeper meaning to the feelings we never quite understand.
I would certianly never blame a song for mental instability, but it certainly is an easy way to lose yourself, and it scares me how easily people are so easily influenced.
- Scott, Columbus, OH
Dooga, have you not seen a ozzy concert? he is the godfather of metal and admired by all teenagers around the world
- Timothy, Vancouver, Canada
I dont Blame Ozzy He is one of my heros besides all of the drugs.
- Josh, Taft, CA
Ozzy Osbourne, not really someone to be followed or admired musically. Couple of decent songs with Sabbath but for the most part not music for the ages. Just another 70's icon kids want to be rebellious following. And what a pitiful TV show. Seems like a good Dad though.
- Dooga, Cairns, Australia
"This song cause me lawsuits from parents and scorn from religious leaders. I'll never know why the message got so twisted. The lyrics are about drinking yourself to death. I was not condoning suicide."
- Ozzy Osbourne
- Ravyn, Hell, NY
Bon Scott and Ozzy both rule.
- Josh, Las Vegas, NV
the words were 'just do it' from stained class-judas priest-in the 90s
- Canice, Bangalore, India
I also heard about how there was this one case where these other kids commited suicide because of this one "hidden message" in a Judas Priest song. It was a pretty famous case.
- Ferris, Ohio, OH
I think it's nuts to blame a song for somebodys death it's like blaming Madonna for having sex with someone!
- Angela, Seattle, WA
Actually, it's just their own fault, I mean who's stupid enough to do shoot themselfs trough the head because a song tells them it would be the same as, when someone asks you to jump off a cliff...
- Eef, Zoutleeuw, Belgium
i dont know guys, ozzy is a pretty strange dude...
- jennifer, san jose, CA
Yes no one can deny the lyrics of this great master piece, but as usual some stupid freaks gave this song a whole different meaning than the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy tried to relay. It is more like you can do all sorts of things...u can drink heavily, kill yourself, but ultimate question comes to "how does that help"
- Echooes, Atlanta, GA
Screw all the a__holes who think Ozzy is the reason why America is bad or that he is spitting out harmfull meanings.... if anything, this song probabally helped people....
- Josh, Sunbury, PA
He says 'Come one now people, why try. Get the flasks out'.
- Jose, Concord, CA
damn straight no way is an artist gonna tel his liseners to kill themselves its idiotic . subliminal messaging my bollox
- damien, somewhere, Ireland
The words 'Why try why try, get the gun and fast, shoot shoot shoot' were supposidley in the song, but was claimed to have just been Ozzy screwing around on the sound effects processor. Ozz was sued 3 times over this. All of the cases were dismissed.
- Xero, Warsaw, MO
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