Last month, more than a few eyebrows were raised when famed QUIET RIOT drummer Frankie Banali told Songfacts writer Greg Prato that he was the one who came up with the explosive drum fill that opens Ozzy Osbourne‘s 1981 classic “Over The Mountain”. Both Bob Daisley, who co-wrote the track, and Lee Kerslake, who co-wrote the track and drummed on the original recording, dispute Banali‘s claims. In an exclusive feature by music writer Joel Gausten, all three musicians defend their positions while offering their individual versions of the events that led to the writing and recording of the song.
Daisley told Gausten: “The writing started when Ozzy, Randy and I got together at the end of ’79. We had a roadie with us called Spencer, and he was filling in on drums. He played drums when we were writing this stuff, and I was taping it all on my tape machine just for reference so we wouldn’t forget anything. We were all trying to put songs together. If Randy [Rhoads, then-Ozzy guitarist] had that riff, we would have heard it, and I would have a recording of it without a drum intro before Lee had joined the band.”
He continued: “When we first started playing ‘Over The Mountain’ during the writing session for ‘Diary’ in January 1981, Randy had the basic riff. The writing sessions for ‘Diary’ had begun in late 1980, but we hadn’t heard Randy‘s ‘Over The Mountain’ riff until early 1981. I co-wrote the music with Randy for the rest of it. Ozzy wasn’t even there. Also, Randy was playing the riff in eights, and I said, ‘Do it in sixteenths.’ So that was new, and we’d been doing that for a little while before Lee did a drum intro thing to it. We felt, ‘Yeah, that’s great!’ But that drum intro wasn’t anything that any of us had heard before; it was Lee‘s — no one else’s.
“How would Randy, without a tape or a recording, relay a drum fill? What would he do, sing it to us? Even if he had, there’s no way that Lee would want to play or copy something that someone else had done, and there’s no way — out of principle — that I would use something that was stolen.
“Lee was a name drummer from a big-name band; he would not be interested in using something from an unknown drummer from an unknown band, and even Randy was unknown at that stage. None of us had heard of QUIET RIOT or Frankie Banali, and we’d never heard anything that any of them had played until Randy came on the scene in forming the THE BLIZZARD OF OZZ with me and Ozzy.