Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
When Ozzy Osbourne released “Crazy Train” in 1980 he sent a message to the rock music world. No longer did he need ’70s metal juggernauts Black Sabbath behind him. He could make music his own way, unencumbered by the democratic process of a group with which he had ceased to see eye-to-eye. If people thought he was foolish to leave Sabbath behind, they soon learned otherwise; “Crazy Train” quickly made itself a hit on the Billboard charts and has since become one of heavy metal’s signature songs.
It’s no surprise, then, that scads of metal singers and bar bands have paid tribute to this ’80s classic. However, at Cover Me we strive to find takes on popular songs that are a little more off-the-beaten-path. With that in mind, here are five versions of “Crazy Train” that rock’s Prince of Darkness might not have anticipated.
1. Let’s start with New York City alternative hip-hop/rock trio Fun Lovin’ Criminals, who give Ozzy the smooth jam treatment. Never before has the crazy train had a car dedicated to lounging around. Singer Huey Morgan even switches up a few of the lyrics to compliment his chill style; notice his lament of “millions of people living as ho’s.”
2. The next version starts similarly enough and quickly flies to a different place altogether as crooner Pat Boone brings a jazzy swing to Ozzy’s classic. Viewers of The Osbournes television show may recognize this cover, as it inspired that show’s theme song.
3. Virginia five-piece Carbon Leaf takes Ozzy to Ireland in this airy Celtic-style cover complete with a mandolin and Riverdance-esque beat. The real joy here comes from Carter Gravatt’s mandolin interpretations of Randy Rhoads’ signature guitar runs.
4. Boston ska band Thumper gives us the most intense cover on this list and also some delightful horn melodies on their slight rearrangement of Osbourne’s tune. Bonus for metal-heads: check out this band’s MySpace for a rockin’ cover of Iron Maiden‘s “The Trooper.”
5. Okay, I’m going to add in one straightforward cover due to extenuating circumstances. Tokyo lad Yuto Miyazawa has been named the world’s youngest professional guitarist by the Guinness Book of World Records, and he just happens to idolize Ozzy Osbourne. At only nine years old, he rocked out this version at Chicago’s 2009 Lollapalooza, even throwing in Randy Rhoads’ extra leads from Ozzy’s live album Tribute.
Bonus. Check out Yuto play “Crazy Train” with his idol at last year’s Blizzcon. I’ll leave it to you to decide who sings the song better in 2009.
Want more Five Good Covers? Check out previous installments here.