The Wizard

Album: Black Sabbath (1970)


  • Rumor had it that this song about an upbeat sorcerer was an ode to the band's drug dealer - when The Wizard walks by everyone is happy. Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi cleared things up in his book Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath, where he explained that Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler were wandering around stoned and saw some guy leaping around being silly outside of a club. He looked like some kind of elf to them. Thus the song "The Wizard" was born.
  • This is the second song on the first Black Sabbath album. The album took about eight hours to record and cost $1200 to make.
  • This was used as the B-side to the first Sabbath single, "Paranoid," which was released ahead of their second album.
  • Ozzy Osbourne played the harmonica part.
  • Like "Iron Man," the title character of this song became a sort of character or appellation for lead singer Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy became known as "The Wizard" shortly after the release of Blizzard of Ozz (the title a takeoff on "Wizard of Oz"). A 1999 compilation album of modern artists covering Ozzy classics was called Land of the Wizard: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne.
  • Bullring Brummies covered this for the 1994 album Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath. It has also been covered by Botch, Shihad, Scorn, Ahmed Zappa and John Tesh, and Ozzy's guitarist Zakk Wylde.
  • Cypress Hill sampled this for their song "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for above 3
  • This was included on the live album Ozzfest: 2001 The Second Millennium. The album contains songs from the bands on the 2001 Ozzfest tour. This is the only Black Sabbath song included.

Comments: 16

  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaBetcha their dealer gave them a bonus dime bag for free for this tribute! *LOL*
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InSabbath's blues roots show through loud and clear on this excellent song.
    After all, blues is where it ALL started.
    Love this song, and it's nice to hear Ozzy hit the old mouth harp for something different.
  • Johnny from New York City, NyThe song IS about drugs. It appears to be comparing a drug dealer to a wizard, in this case Geezer used Gandalf. The band did take drugs and songs ("Fairies Wear Boots","Snowblind","Supernaut" and Sweet Leaf") reflect that BUT some of their song's lyrics did not glorify drugs and contained warnings of drug use("Hand of Doom" and "Killing Yourself to Live").
  • Rocco from TorontoI love simple guitar with the harmonica. Sounds great
  • Greg from Huntsville, Aland also remember that since the dawn of time, magic and the like USUALLY goes hand in hand with drugs.
  • Paul from Liverpool, EnglandLook, let's just get this straight. The song is about drugs, whether other people e.g. Tim, like it or not. I can't stand these people who say they're 'into Sabbath' but attempt to wash away all the drug references to suit themselves. Sabbath were a 'drug band' (and all the better for it) so live with it!
  • Kevin from Philadelphia, PaNice mentioning Botch in the songfacts, what can I say, Botch is without a doubt one of my favorite bands... but I enjoy both versions of the song though.
  • James from Anchorage, AkI think the song may have been written to symbolize gandalf from the lord of the rings, it kind've fits to.
  • Tim from Dupont, WaWhy does it always have to be about drugs? Why can't it just be about a Wizard?
  • Ravyn from Hell, NyIommi said this song was about Sabbath's drug dealer when it was written.
  • Robert from Chicago, Ilive heard from the biggest black sabbath fan ever this is about drug dealers (i dont know his source though). but recently i read a interview with Geezer Butler:

    Give us a quick memory about writing or recording the following songs:

    The Wizard = The Wizard, I was reading 'Lord of the Rings' at the time, and I just based the lyrics on that. Gandalf.
  • Mike from Greeley, CoWell, as long as we are reading things into it, I would say that "The Wizard" is Ozzy's manic side (as in, how he feels when he is "up"(whether with the aid of chemicals or without)) in essence, the Dr. Jeckle to his Mr. Hyde(which is characterized in "Paranoid."). Or, it actually supports itself quite nicely as a a Gothic Fairy Tale in and of itself.
  • Michael Picard from Lapwai, IdI love the Harmonica played by Ozzy. Such a Wicked song to the maximum supreme extreme.
  • Quicksilver from Santa Cruz, Cathe ozzy album is "blizzard of ozz
  • Curlymmiv from Mesa, AzThat's an interesting idea, Chris. I never thought of it like that. But what about the reference to "funny clothes" and "twinkling bell"?
    Plus, the harmonica at the beginning and all-around 'happy' feel of the music makes me think of a wizard waling around, but I guess that could be in reference to drugs.
  • Chris from Marlboro , NjThe Wizard is a drug dealer. Song lyrics include "He turns tears into joy everyone's happy when the wizard walks by" and the chorus is "Never talking Just keeps walking spreading his magic"
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce PavittSong Writing

The man who ran Nirvana's first label gets beyond the sensationalism (drugs, Courtney) to discuss their musical and cultural triumphs in the years before Nevermind.


DevoSongwriter Interviews

Devo founders Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale take us into their world of subversive performance art. They may be right about the De-Evoloution thing.

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)Songwriter Interviews

Richie talks about producing the first two Kiss albums, recording "Brother Louie," and the newfound appreciation of his rock band, Dust.

Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)

Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)Songwriter Interviews

"Come On Eileen" was a colossal '80s hit, but the band - far more appreciated in their native UK than stateside - released just three albums before their split. Now, Dexys is back.

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"They're Playing My Song

Dean's saga began with "Ariel," a song about falling in love with a Jewish girl from New Jersey.

David Gray

David GraySongwriter Interviews

David Gray explains the significance of the word "Babylon," and talks about how songs are a form of active imagination, with lyrics that reveal what's inside us.