In 2001 Ozzy Osbourne released his eighth solo studio album “Down to Earth.” The thing I remember most from that album was the song “Get’s Me Through,” and interestingly enough I am not talking about the song itself but rather the message Ozzy told the world with this song. He said that his fans “get him through” it all, and this was a song written for and dedicated too his fans.
But when you think about it, Ozzy has been writing songs for his fans for years. I suppose every artist, to some extent, creates with the intention of sharing their work with others, but I suspect Ozzy in particular has always had a deeper understanding of the relationship between artist and fan. I cannot remember the exact quote but I remember Ozzy once saying “whatever you take away from one of my songs, that’s what that song means.”
Songs can take on radical new meanings if they come into your life at unique times, and speaking of Ozzy Osbourne whenever I hear Black Sabbath’s “Sabbra Cadabra” I think about a very specific moment in time. I believe the year was 2001, when my oldest friend set out on the task of making a collection of songs he felt appropriate to sum up his relationship, which is a classic youthful love maneuver. For some reason both he and she wanted my input on what songs would be appropriate. I was not entirely comfortable with the idea of helping. How could I possibly put songs to feelings not my own, especially intimate feelings, especially since I am a loner? Regardless I clearly remember my friend talking about it. However I can only remember one song that he mentioned, Black Sabbath’s “Sabbra Cadabra.”
“Feel so happy since I met that girl
When we're making love
It's something out of this world
Feels so good to know that she's all mine
Gonna love that woman till the end of time.”
I did not want to admit it at the time, but I had never heard the song “Sabbra Cadabra” before then. That moment, as unimportant as it was for me, is permanently imprinted on my memory and whenever I hear “Sabbra Cadabra” now, I think of that conversation, that girl, and my friend. If my friend remembers this moment as well as I do it should be safe to say that “Sabbra Cadabra” probably means much more to him than it does to me. The primary reason “Sabbra Cadabra” means anything special to me is simply because it holds meaning to my friend. Furthermore when you look at a song like “Sabbra Cadabra,” other than the awesome guitar riffs of Tony Iommi and the song generally rocking out, it is not a very deep song. It is a simple song about loving someone, nothing too complicated. My friend’s experience and mentioning of the song at a unique moment in our lives has given the song a greater depth than would be there if he had not.
It was just like Ozzy said, what I now take away from “Sabbra Cadabra,” is what the song is about. I could dissect the lyrics and try to place myself into Ozzy’s shoes thirty-nine years ago and make my best guess at hidden meanings and subtle suggestions, but I have never cared too, nor does it matter much. “Sabbra Cadabra” is a song about my friend’s first love.
There are times when I need to step back and walk miles in the shoes of others. I have dedicated a sizable amount of time and effort sharing with others my thoughts and feelings on music and it is wise of me to ponder the thoughts and feelings of others and what music reaches them. I like to fancy that as an amateur music critic that my musical interpretation must mean something, but I cannot forget, so does everyone else’s. Ozzy said as much.
Until later this month, keep on rocking in the free world.