Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mr. Crowley” Lyrics Meaning
In recent times individuals like Aleister Crowley, a well-known occultist from the early 20th century, have become increasingly known due to witchcraft and related disciplines likewise becoming more mainstream. And of course as far as the occult goes, heavy metal is the genre of popular music that has been up on the game, in a public sort of way, long before anyone else.
But that said, this song is not what some people may presume. In fact according to Ozzy Osbourne, the height of Crowley’s popularity may have actually been around the time this track was released, i.e. the early 1980s. And regardless how people may perceive Ozzy, he wasn’t on it like that. Contrarily more so than anything, this track reads like an Aleister Crowley diss song.
And that theme becomes evident pretty much from the first line, whereas Osbourne is more or less questioning Crowley’s sanity. He also presents him as someone who, most simply put, was a magic-based fraudster.
Then the vocalist concludes the passage by alluding to Aleister having been a Satanist. But as a side note, whereas Crowley did utilize Satanic imagery for marketing purposes, he wasn’t a Satanist in the truest sense of the word. But if you do use related symbols to push your product, then of course people are going to consider you one anyway, i.e. the aforenoted suggestion.
As far as the second verse goes, perhaps the easiest way to describe it is as Ozzy putting forth that Aleister was not as impressive as he may have thought himself to be. And then, there is once again that tone of Crowley having been a fraudster.
Or, let’s put it like this – as depicted the types of claims he made, which defined his livelihood, weren’t anything that anyone could disprove anyway, since it was all like esoteric.
One thing we neglected to mention earlier concerning the first verse is that the vocalist alluded to the subject’s lifestyle as having “seemed so tragic”. And it is such an idea which also seems to highlight the third verse.
Or put more plainly, it’s quite obvious that Aleister Crowley is someone whom Ozzy does not look up to as an idol, role model or anything even remotely like that. As a matter of fact along those same lines, the singer also seems to be implying something like fate ultimately having caught up with the titular figure, accordingly compensating him for all of his misdeeds.
And another notable part of the third verse is Osbourne noting that – in a poetic, Biblically-reminiscent kind of way – that Aleister enjoyed using opium.
The bridge, i.e. the final passage of the song, is a bit more challenging to decipher. But basically, it appears that Ozzy Osbourne, as someone who doesn’t understand the doctrine of Aleister Crowley, is questioning where exactly his teachings come from. And the singer goes further to suggest that it came from some type of contentious source.
What “Mr. Crowley” is all about
So as for the meaning of this song, it was Ozzy Osbourne’s way of letting the world know that he wasn’t down with Aleister Crowley. But due to the mass tendency of people to judge by covers instead of content, many have rather interpreted it as Ozzy espousing witchcraft.
Or another way of looking at it is that Ozzy himself regularly capitalized on the Satanic motif and also did so, in what we can conclusively is a roundabout way, by dropping a track about and named after “Mr. Crowley”.
Songwriting and Production Credits for “Mr. Crowley”
Ozzy Osbourne wrote this song alongside two of his regular collaborators, Bob Daisley and Randy Rhoads (1956-1982). And in fact some of the most-notable sentiments therein were actually penned by Daisley.
All three of the writers of this song are also credited as producers, accomplishing the task alongside Lee Kerslake (1947-2020).
Another Ozzy cohort, Don Airey, is said to have contributed to the authoring of “Mr. Crowley”, for which he received no credit. However he’s not mad about it, as he was sympathetic to what Ozzy Osbourne, then a struggling artist, was going through at the time.
More Facts about “Mr. Crowley”
It has been noted that the vocalist actually mispronounces the name “Crowley” in this song.
Jet Records released this track as part of Ozzy’s debut album, “Blizzard of Ozz”, on 20 September 1980. Concurrently, it acted as the second single from said project. And as for the single, it was actually a live rendition of “Mr. Crowley”.
As far as pop culture goes, thus far “Mr. Crowley” has been featured on a handful of videogames such as the following:
- Fallout 3 (2008)
- Guitar Hero World Tour (2008)
And on top of being one which Ozzy has regularly performed live and a fan favorite, this song did gradually become a hit, i.e. being certified gold by the RIAA as recently as 2020.
There’s a whole lot to say about the life of Aleister Crowley. So readers who are really interested should visit his Wikipedia page or other sources that detail his history.
However, in relation to our interpretation of the third verse, it should be noted that whereas he did live to the respectable age of 72, apparently Crowley died in somewhat of a painful manner.
Also, despite previously enjoying a “lavish lifestyle”, the religious figure reportedly “died broke”.