I Don't Want to Change the World, the second track from Ozzy Osbourne's 1991 album No More Tears captures the Prince of Darkness's then-guitarist Zakk Wylde in fine fettle, as he offers up riff after riff of unadulterated hard-rocking goodness.
But as Wylde explains in the new issue of Guitar World (opens in new tab), the Grammy-winning cut actually originated as a joke.
“We were at Joe's Garage, Frank Zappa's old place, and we were jamming,” Wylde recalls. “I remember I was playing the main riff, and then I'd get through it and just stop. And then [we'd] say something into the mic, like, ‘How not to ever get a date’, or ‘I have no job and I live with my parents.’ And then we'd go back into the riff.
“It was just us on the floor, crying-laughing and coming up with all this stuff that we kept saying in between that riff. Then Ozzy comes walking into the room and he goes, ‘What is that?’ I'm like, ‘What are you talkin' about?’ And he says, ‘That thing you're playing. That riff.’ I go, ‘Oh, it's just a joke...’ And he goes, ‘We're going to use that.’ Next thing you know, it won a Grammy!”
The story emerges as Wylde discusses his 12 biggest musical milestones from his decades-spanning career in the new GW issue, in which he takes a trip down memory lane to talk Miracle Man (from 1988's No Rest for the Wicked), Black Label Society's Stillborn, his contribution to Reborn, from Damageplan's 2004 album New Found Power, and more.
Elsewhere in the issue, the guitarist recalls the recording process of No More Tears. “No Rest for the Wicked was my first record with the boss,” he says. “And I was like, ‘Wow, I can't believe I'm gonna contribute to the sound and the direction of Ozzy's music!’
“Being such a huge Randy [Rhoads] fan and Jake [E. Lee] fan and Sabbath fan, that was a big thing – I remember it like it was yesterday. So we had an ass-kicking time making that record, and then after the craziness of that tour, No More Tears was more of a relaxes kind of atmosphere.
“We just had more experience, which led to bringing in songs like Road to Nowhere and Mama, I'm Coming Home.”
The January 2022 issue of Guitar World is on sale now. Get your copy at Magazines Direct (opens in new tab).