HistoryAfter being fired from the seminal Black Sabbath in 1979 due to drugs’ abuse, ‘Ozzy’ began the process of putting together a band of his own. However, this process had begun earlier in collaboration with members of Necromandus in 1977. Ozzy would rejoin Black Sabbath briefly. He would next recruit a new iteration of Blizzard Of Ozz by inviting members of Dirty Tricks into his fold. Either way, Black Sabbath was the heavy metal band of the 1970s and Ozzy Osbourne and his ever-changing solo act would go on to greater commercial successes than the Sabs had ever achieved.
Osbourne hailed from the Aston area of western England and was a dyslexic school dropout who apprenticed at several jobs, but was also an urchin who sent time in prison as a teenager. He credits the Beatles’ song She Loves You as the catalyst to become a singer or a rock star.
Ozzy had met his future wife and manager Sharon Arden at her father’s office in the early 1970s. Ozzy had already married Thelma Riley in 1971 and was a father. Sharon and Ozzy would marry in Hawaii in 1982. Don Arden owned Jet Records, which would eventually sign Ozzy Osbourne, and was considering managing Black Sabbath. Don would take over the band’s management despite Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath running a management company of his own. Arden would eventually sign Ozzy Osbourne and ask his employee daughter Sharon to travel to California to look after the well being of the company contractee who was holed up in the USA drinking alcohol and taking drugs. Arden had plotted returning Ozzy to Sabbath, whom he still managed, but his daughter reportedly had other ideas regardless. Sharon and Don would end up enemies. Either way, picking up the record company owner’s daughter cannot hurt, although lore has it that she saw potential in him and went for it. Blizzard Of Ozz would return in late 1979, although the Ardens would later deny the monicker existed despite it being the band’s name on the Crazy Train single. Regardless, the title was accorded to Ozzy’s first album. Part of the band was Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhoads (who was located by early bassist Dana Strum later of Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion and Slaughter), Rainbow and Uriah Heep bassist Bob Daisley and Uriah Heep drummer Lee Kerslake. A few warm-up gigs were performed as Law and then the band toured UK with Budgie. The follow-up album Diary Of A Madman was even more successful and had two singles, Flying High Again and Over The Mountain. Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge were drafted soon. Aldridge was preceded by Dave Potts, Barry 'Spence' Scrannage and Dixie Lee of Lone Star. The subsequent tour featured a dwarf called ‘Ronnie,’ which many interpreted as referring to Ronnie James Dio of course. Shows included ones with Motorhead, Def Leppard and UFO. It was during this period that Ozzy bit the head of a dove and a bat on stage and at an event. He would garner much publicity as a result. The man also pissed on the Alamo site in the USA to the chagrin of the usual righteous groups. A small aircraft piloted by the band’s tour bus driver carrying Randy Rhoads and Rachel Youngblood, the group’s make-up artist, clipped the tour bus, crashed and killed the three. The on-going tour was cancelled as the band mourned. Gary Moore and Michael Schenker refused the offer to join on guitar. Sharon wanted Robert Sarzo, brother of bassist Rudy Sarzo, but Bernie Torme of Gillan got the gig after being chosen and paid by Jet Records. Both parties realized the clash of styles and Torme returned to the UK to work on his solo album. Brad Gillis of Ranger/Nightranger finished the tour. Speak Of The Devil (Talk Of The Devil in certain territories) live record was a Sabbath covers’ album featuring Gillis. The Other Side Of Ozzy Osbourne' was a Japanese only release. A teenager called John D. McCollum shot himself and his parents blamed Ozzy song Suicide Solution. Ozzy and Black Sabbath took the stage as a one-off at Live Aid in 1985. Sarzo had quit to re-launch Quiet Riot. Members would come and go, but guitarist Jake E. Lee (Dave Meniketti of Y&T turned Ozzy down and there is a dispute whether George Lynch of Dokken turned the man down or vice-versa. Years later George Lynch would recruit drummer Brian Tichy of Ozzy Osbourne) would shine on the subsequent two albums, Bark At The Moon (supported through a tour with Whitesnake) and The Ultimate Sin. Aldridge was fired in favour of Carmine Appice. The usual religious and political groups protested the band on tour and in the press. Both albums were multi-million sellers. Bassist Bob Daisley who had written most of the lyrics for the band so far began a long-running dispute with Ozzy and his management culminating in his recordings being wiped by Sharon Osbourne. Lee Kerslake also suffered the same fate. Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin were paid to replace the recordings on the re-issues. Jake E. Lee left/was fired from the act in 1987. As Ozzy Osbourne was still drinking and was on drugs he famously beat up Sharon after earlier appearing in the movie The Decline Of The Western Civilization II where he quipped “sobriety fucking sucks.” Osbourne discovered guitarist Zakk Wylde, through photographer Mark Weiss, soon enough and recorded No Rest For The Wicked. Wylde, whose first show with Ozzy was in New York, would become a mainstay of Ozzy Osbourne. Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath was the band’s live bassist. Just Say Ozzy was a live EP. Sharon Osbourne had signed Lita Ford to a management deal so, naturally, Ozzy and Lita Ford – incidentally Tony Iommi’s former girlfriend – sang a hit duet called Close My Eyes Forever, which was a hit single. Osbourne played at Moscow Music Peace Festival, which was set up as a means of promoting peace, cultural exchange and advocating for an anti-alcohol and narcotics’ world. Naturally, all involved drank; got drunk and Ozzy Osbourne was asked by a local reporter whether he had brought his guitarist with him to Russia.
MTV continued to support Ozzy Osbourne and the slow song single Mama, I’m Coming Home, from No More Tears, made more money. Ozzy Osbourne was given a Grammy Award for the track I Don't Want To Change The World from Live & Loud. It was during this era that the first of many farewell albums were released and farewell tours was announced. They would become part of Sharon and Ozzy’s repertoire and put the band in direct competition with Kiss, Status Quo and Elton John. Alice In Chains’ Mike Inez played bass during the No More Tours. The retirement Sucks Tour followed. Ozzy experimented with a project called X-ray with Steve Vai. Attendees of No More Tours’ shows were not offered a refund. Wylde was negotiating joining Guns N’ Roses and so Ozzy had David Lee Roth guitarist Joe Holmes tour. Alex Skolnick of Testament played one low-key show with the act. The Ozzman Cometh was a compilation. Sharon Osbourne launched Ozzfest in 1996. This series of travelling festival would later inspire more bands like Megadeth to create their own.
Down To Earth, which landed at number 4 in the US charts, was the man’s first album in the new century and was followed by Live At Budokan, which was recorded at Tokyo’s famous venue where others like MSG and Cheap Trick had recorded. Zakk Wylde would suffer exhaustion leading to cancelled appearances and Ozzy would separately pull out of the Irish Ozzfest. In an interview with Classic Rock, guitarist Zakk Wylde, stated his dissatisfaction with the album implying its lack of heaviness was due to the extraordinary number of outside writers who are not into metal. The Down To Hell tour, which featured mallcore acts Rob Zombie, Mudvayne and Soil to insist that Osbourne was modern and relevant was interrupted when Ozzy fell in the shower and injured himself. Ozzfest was also comprised mainly of newer nu-metal acts to keep Ozzy relevant. In was Jason Newsted, formerly of Metallica, who would join Osbourne and Robert Trujillo who had played with the man, would join Metallica. Ozzy Osbourne left the then current set of Ozzfest shows in order to spend time with his wife and Ozzfest founder Sharon Osbourne. Organizers shuffled the bands' slots in order to accommodate the change. Osbourne crashed on quad bike in England, broke his neck and was operated on in England. Osbourne would recover to play in yet another final Black Sabbath and solo tour. Black Rain came in the spring of 2007. Gus G. of Dream Evil (a title inspired by Dio) was recruited to replace Zakk Wylde as Ozzy felt his music was becoming more and more similar to Black Label Society of Wylde. Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica headlined Ozzfest in 2008. Ozzy Osbourne was suing guitarist Tony Iommi for the rights to the name and trademark of Black Sabbath. Apparently, Iommi had trademarked the group’s name in the United States several years prior. Ozzy opined that he should have a 50% ownership and ultimately there should be a four-way divide between he, Iommi and bassist Butler and drummer Ward. Black Sabbath drummer Tommy Clufetos became Ozzy’s drummer in 2010. Tommy Lee of Motley Crue was recruited for a flicker in 2000. Mötley Crüe had recruited Randy Castillo, former Ozzy Osbourne drummer, in 1999. Halford and Ozzy Osbourne were touring North America together in November and December 2010. Osbourne found time to sing for Slash of Guns N’ Roses on one single. Scream – initially the more thuggish Soul Sucka – was the next album. Osbourne’s son Jack directed the video for Life Won’t Wait. Scream would feature Gus G. instead and was produced by Kevin Churko. Guitarist Zakk Wylde and his wife, Barbaranne, had a fourth child. He was named Sabbath Page Wielandt Wylde. Another son was called Hendrix. Ozzy Osbourne would now perform many of the previously announced Black Sabbath European concerts, but be billed as Ozzy Osbourne & Friends. These were the dates originally planned with guitarist Tony Iommi, which were cancelled with the guitarist’s cancer. Part of the band was Zakk Wylde and Slash. The 2014 anthology of Ozzy’s work Memoirs Of A Madman, which was a CD/DVD set, came next. Osbourne and Wylde began working on a 2015 album and the band appeared at Rock USA festival. The band appeared at Donnington two years later. Black Sabbath and Ozzy were in the midst of their latest farewell tour. The frontman ditched guitarist Gus G. in favour of his predecessor, Zakk Wylde, for his summer tours in mid-2017. Ozzy Osbourne would go on a European tour called No More Tours 2 in early 2019. Judas Priest, which was another long retired band supposedly, would open. Guitarist Jake E. Lee told an interviewer that he was invited to rejoin for the 2010 album Scream. Lee played on the Bark At The Moon and The Ultimate Sin albums. The contact served as the catalyst for the activation of Red Dragon Cartel. No More Tours II was announced for 2018. It was supposed to last two years. Fans debated whether this was number two, three, four, five or six and how many more would follow. Ozzy continued touring in 2019 under the monicker No More Tours. Megadeth was supporting. Guitarist Bernie Torme died of pneumonia on March 17th 2019. He was 66. Ozzy released a toy to mark the anniversary of his biting a dead bat on stage. Ozzy bit the head of a bat during a concert at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa, USA on 20.01.1982. He later explained he had believed it to be a toy. In the meantime, the man had respiratory infections and cancelled his European tour. Following the cancellation of the European leg of his tour the man was hospitalized for the flu. He was feeling better soon, but had also cancelled Oceania and Japanese shows. The man cancelled all 2019 touring as he dealt with the aftermath of his pneumonia. More recently he had injured himself after tripping at home sustaining an injury. Ozzy’s new album Ordinary Man was co-written by Guns N’ Roses’ bassist Duff McKagan who also played on the album. The advance single was called Under The Graveyard. Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne announced a 2022 tour in 2020. Drummer Lee Kerslake died due to cancer.
More recently Ozzy Osbourne and wife are better known for the tattooed man’s cheating, so-called reality shows and Sharon parlaying Ozzy’s fame into side gigs for herself. His tattoos and substance abuse add to the notoriety. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in early 2019 after finding he carried the genes for the disease as early as 2005.
OZZY OSBOURNE - BLIZZARD OF OZZ - EPIC
Ozzy’s first solo album from 1980 was one of only two studio recordings with former Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhoads, who died in a plane crash in 1982. Bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake were also part of the band back then. The sound was a bit more American than Black Sabbath, and the general mood of the songs was not as dark as in Ozzy’s former band.
I Don’t Know opens the album with a catchy riff and features a balladesque interlude. The intro to Crazy Train is often used in NFL stadiums during kick-off. The song itself is one of the greatest Ozzy tunes ever. One line from it pretty much sums up what today’s politics are all about: “One person conditioned to rule and control/The media sells it and you live the role.” Goodbye To Romance has a big seventies touch and crisp clean guitars. The instrumental Dee was solely written by Randy Rhoads and shows his skills as an acoustic guitar player. Suicide Solution is a bit weaker than the rest. Mr. Crowley deals with the famous Satanist/occultist Aleister Crowley and has an evil synth intro. The song could well be on a Black Sabbath album. No Bone Movies seems to be about hardcore porn and a person who tries to stay away from it, but fails to do so. Revelation (Mother Earth) had an environmental lyrical theme long before the topic became popular in the metal world. Steal Away (The Night) closes the album with up-tempo rock. Blizzard Of Ozz remains a classic and just shows how much Ozzy has lost when you compare it to recent recordings such as Down To Earth. - Andreas Herzog
OZZY OSBOURNE - NO MORE TEARS (REISSUE) - EPIC
The line-up of No More Tears (1991) consisted of Zakk Wylde (guitar), Mike Inez (bass), and Randy Castillo (drums). Bassist Bob Daisley was also involved in the recordings. Lemmy Kilmister co-wrote several songs on the album, namely Hellraiser, Mama, I’m Coming Home, Desire, and I Don’t Want To Change The World. Still, there is no big Motörhead influence to be heard.
The opener Mr. Tinkertrain has lyrics that deal with child abuse, though not as openly as in Motörhead’s Don’t Let Daddy Kiss Me. I Don’t Want To Change The World has a stomping rhythm and sleazy guitars. Mama, I’m Coming Home was a huge radio hit and shows Zakk Wylde’s southern influences. Desire has a straight hard rock feeling and a very LA-style chorus with a reference to an older song: “It’s the same old desire / Crazy train, crazy train.” The title song has a bass and keyboard intro that could almost be part of a Saga song were it not for the slide guitar. Again, we get some more Stevie Ray Vaughan elements in the verse. S.I.N. has a dramatic opening and a chorus in the vein of classic AOR. Hellraiser has nothing to do with the movie of the same name, but the song is not very convincingly written and has a chaotic middle part. Time After Time is a semi-ballad, but weaker than Mama. Zombie Stomp begins with some bass notes, drum rolls and congas. The lyrics deal with addiction in general and its consequences. The song’s staccato riffing is unusual for Ozzy, but the chorus sounds more traditional. A.V.H. once again has a southern style intro, but soon goes up-tempo. The listener notices the train metaphor for the second time: “Riding on a train that I can’t control”. Road To Nowhere is reminiscent of Guns n’ Roses on Appetite For Destruction. This reissue features the two bonus tracks Don’t Blame Me and Party With The Animals, which are OK.
The style of No More Tears is typical for an Ozzy album with Zakk Wylde, but the excellent production and several great songs make it highly enjoyable. - Andreas Herzog