Many celebrities have checked into alcohol rehabs over the years, with varying results

Ozzy is the former Black Sabbath vocalist who became one of the biggest names in heavy metal history after parting ways with one of the most influential heavy metal bands in history. Two decades after his "Blizzard of Ozz" record, Ozzy is still as popular as ever, with his yearly Ozz-Fest drawing some of the largest crowds in concert history. His MTV real life sitcom "The Osbournes" is also mega-popular, despite the fact that Ozzy comes off as a buffoon. In the world of entertainment, Ozzy seems untouchable. Ozzy has also helped kick start the careers of some young, unknown guitarist including Zakk Wylde, Jake E. Lee and Randy Rhoads (ex-Quiet Riot) who died in a plane crash on March 19, 1982.

Blizzard of Ozz Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz (Epic) 1981

1. "I Don't Know" (5:11)
2. "Crazy Train" (4:49)
3. "Goodbye to Romance" (5:32)
4. "Dee" [instrumental] (0:50)
5. "Suicide Solution" (4:17)
6. "Mr. Crowley" (4:55)
7. "No Bone Movies" (3:53)
8. "Revelation (Mother Earth)" (6:10)
9. "Steal Away (the Night)" (3:28)

The Blizzard of Ozz 1981
Randy Rhoads, Ozzy, Rudy Sarzo & Tommy Aldridge
Randy Rhodes
The late, great Randy Rhoads, pictured here playing
his signature Jackson-Rhoads guitar.

Released in December of 1980, "Blizzard of Ozz" is perhaps one of the most important records in heavy metal history. Originally formed as the band "Blizzard of Ozz", the band's first album was to be released as a self titled record but was later changed to Blizzard of Ozz featuring Ozzy Osbourne. The record company would eventually title the record Ozzy Osbourne, with the album simply annotated "Blizzard of Ozz" much to the annoyance of bassist/songwriter Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake. Both were seasoned musicians, coming from bands like Uriah Heep and Rainbow. The record company felt that it was Ozzy's name that would sell records. The album was initially released in Europe. The buzz was instantaneous and American record companies couldn't help but take notice. The album was soon released to great success in the U.S. as well.

Prior to the "Blizzard of Ozz" I had been a Black Sabbath fan. For some reason, upon it's release I wasn't immediately attracted to this album. It was hugely popular when I was in high school, but I never really got into it. Over the years, and especially after the death of Rhoads, this album became known as a heavy metal classic. It wasn't until a decade after it's release that I really began to appreciate this album and the genius of Randy Rhoads. No doubt there is some excellent music on this disc, and no less than five of these songs continued to be Ozzy concert staples for years to come. Randy Rhoads was virtually an unknown outside of his home in Los Angeles where he was a notable guitar instructor and the guitarist for a popular club band known as Quiet Riot. His guitar playing wasn't overly complicated but he had a sound unlike anyone else and wrote some very memorable riffs, including one of Ozzy's most well known songs "Crazy Train". Aided by producer Max Norman, Rhoads had a biting guitar sound that was 100% heavy metal. Rhoads was aided by the writing skill of Bob Daisley. "Crazy Train" peaked at #9 on the mainstream rock charts and has remained a staple of rock radio for more than 25 years. "Dee" is a short acoustic interlude by Randy based on a classical guitar theme that is named after his mother, who he saw as a hero in his life. Several riffs from old Quiet Riot songs showed up on this record. The main riff to "Suicide Solution" was taken from one of Randy's early Quiet Riot numbers titled "Force of Habit". Portions of Ozzy's "Goodbye to Romance" came from the Quiet Riot numbers "Teenage Anthem" and "Laughing Gas". "Goodbye to Romance" was actually the first song the Blizzard of Ozz had written together and has also been a lasting song in the Ozzy catalog.

Unfortunately many religious groups jumped on the "Ozzy worships Satan" bandwagon due to some of the songs on this record. Indeed the lyrical ideas seem a bit dark, but this was mostly Bob Daisley's doing, as he was trying to keep with Ozzy's image he had with Black Sabbath. However, many of the songs were simply misinterpreted. "Suicide Solution" is a song that raised tons of controversy although the actual meaning of the lyrics don't seem to be promoting suicide. I've actually heard many different explanations for this song, including Ozzy's own explanation that the song was about the death of AC/DC singer Bon Scott. However, the explanations that seems most obvious is that the song was written about Ozzy himself. The lyrics were penned by bassist Bob Daisley who has said the song was actually written as a warning to Ozzy about his own habitual drinking habit ('solution' being equated to 'liquid'). With lyrics like "Wine is fine, but whiskey's quicker, suicide is slow with liqueur, take a bottle, drown your sorrows, then it floods away tomorrows...", this meaning is pretty clear. However, this didn't stop people from suing Ozzy over the suicides of several teenagers. Another song that caused a stir was "Mr. Crowley". Aleister Crowley was a black magician/occultist from the late 1800's. Many claimed that Ozzy wrote the song in homage to Aleister and thus it followed that Ozzy himself was a Satanist. However, the song was actually written as a criticism of Mr. Crowley.

In any case, "Blizzard of Oz" turned Ozzy into a star once again and set a standard for heavy metal in the early 80's. For that reason alone this album is a worthwhile addition to my heavy metal collection. It should also be noted that the Blizzard of Ozz remains Osbourne's highest-selling albums to date, selling over 4.1 million copies in the U.S. alone. Another interesting note about this CD is that "No Bone Movies" was originally recorded as a b-side for a single, but the band liked the song so much they included it on the album. Instead "You Looking At Me, Looking At You" was taken off the album and used as the b-side.

In one of the most shameless rip-offs in rock 'n roll, when Sharon Osbourne had this CD remixed and remastered in 2002, she also had the drum and bass tracks completely re-recorded by Robert Trujillo (bass) and Mike Bordin (drums). Although Bob Daisley & Lee Kerslake performed on the original recording, and co-wrote much of Ozzy's first 2 albums, they claimed that they never received any royalties, and filed a lawsuit against Ozzy to get paid. In reaction to the lawsuit, their tracks were deleted. The 2002 reissue does, however, include the b-side track "You Lookin' At Me Lookin' At You" as track #10.

Ozzy Osbourne - Diary of a Madman
(Epic) 1981

1. "Over the Mountain" (4:32)
2. "Flying High Again" (4:44)
3. "You Can't Kill Rock and Roll" (7:00)
4. "Believer" (5:15)
5. "Little Dolls" (5:40)
6. "Tonight" (5:51)
7. "S.A.T.O." (4:08)
8. "Diary of a Madman" (6:14)

Flying High Again
Flying High Again 7" single

Ozzy was HUGE by now, regaining the title he held in Black Sabbath as heavy metal's main man. I was in high school at the time and everybody had this album. You couldn't go to a party where "Flying High Again" wasn't blaring from the speakers. Truth is "Diary of a Madman" continues in a similar fashion to "Blizzard of Ozz". Rhoads riffs, coupled with the songwriting of Bob Daisley is outstanding. On top of the hit "Flying High Again", album opener "Over the Mountain" is a powerhouse heavy metal number and perhaps one of Ozzy's best. Likewise, "You Can't Kill Rock and Roll", a song that begins with some some classically influenced guitar playing is nearly as good. "S.A.T.O." is a song I have always been curious about. What does S.A.T.O. stand for? I had been told that is stood for "Sail Across the Ocean" as the song is loosely based on some Buddhist doctrine and was originally titled "Strange Voyage". In the book Randy Rhoads-A Life by David Bene, it is suggested that the title actually stands for "Sharon, Adrian, Thelma and Ozzy". Adrian was Sharon's boyfriend at the time, and Thelma was Ozzy's wife at the time as well. I'm not sure which of these are true as Ozzy has never been forthcoming about the title. The album finishes off with the eerie title track. The song is musically one of Randy's finest moments. The lyrics to the title song, which became Ozzy's calling card, were written by bassit Bob Daisley and were about a situation he had gone through in his life as a teenager.

Ozzy took a lot of heat from religious groups about this disc for many reasons, and some probably justifiable. He had already become known as the madman who bit the head off the dove, as well as the rumors held over from the first album. The first and most immediate offense was the upside down cross displayed on the cover. Of course this just played right into the hands of those who believed Ozzy was a devil worshipper. The truth of the matter, however, was that Ozzy was just playing the part. The justifiable criticism was because of Ozzy's promotion and obvious addiction to alcohol ad marijuana at this point in his career, Ozzy was always "Flying High Again."

It was on the tour for "Diary of a Madman" that Randy Rhoads passed away from an airplane accident.

My particular copy is the 22-bit remaster but this disc was recently released AGAIN as a 24-bit remaster (Is that really necessary?) with the bass lines all re-recorded due to some spat Ozzy was having with long time studio bassist Bob Daisly over royalties. Think I will stick with the original.

Stryper covered "Over the Mountain".

The Blizzard of Ozz 1981
Tommy Aldridge, Ozzy, Randy Rhoads & Rudy Sarzo

Randy Rhoads

Randy was such an incredible guitarist, a truly great player, very difficult for anyone to try to match, or to attempt to replace.
-Bernie Tormé (ex-Gillan, Ozzy, Desperado)

Speak of the Devil Ozzy Osbourne - Speak of the Devil (Epic) 1981

  1. "Symptom of the Universe" (5:41)
  2. "Snowblind" (4:56)
  3. "Black Sabbath" (6:04)
  4. "Fairies Wear Boots" (6:33)
  5. "War Pigs" (8:35)
  6. "The Wizard" (4:43)
  7. "N.I.B." (5:35)
  8. "Sweet Leaf" (5:55)
  9. "Never Say Die" (4:18)
  10. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" (5:34)
  11. "Iron Man/Children of the Grave" (9:12)
  12. "Paranoid" (3:10)

Released after the untimely death of Randy Rhoads, this collection of live Black Sabbath classics is actually quite good. The impression that Ozzy gave the public was that he was so depressed over Randy's death, he didn't think it appropriate to actually release any songs from the first two Ozzy albums. There was some truth to this, but at the same time, this live album of Black Sabbath numbers was talked about before Randy's death. It is widely know that Randy didn't really want to do an album of Black Sabbath covers. This was confirmed in Rudy Sarzo's book "Off the Rails; Aboard the Crazy Train in the Blizzard of Ozz". However, the band was being forced to record the album by manager Don Arden as part of his agreement with his daughter Sharon to take over managing Ozzy completely. Regardless, it is well know that Ozzy struggled with depression over the loss of his friend and guitarist. Ozzy refused to allow any of Randy's live recordings to be released at the time as he did not want anyone to capitalize on Randy's death. Instead the band, which consisted of Quiet Riot bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer extrodinaire Tommy Aldridge, went out with new guitarist Berne Torme (Gillan), who was later replaced by Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis. Gillis subsequently recorded the live album. "Speak of the Devil" was recorded live at The Ritz, New York, Sept 26th & 27th. 1982. Musically the band sounds excellent. Ozzy sounds a bit tired, but honestly, having grown up with this album I consider it a classic. This album was overshadowed only slightly by Black Sabbath's own live release "Live Evil" with Dio behind the mic.

The original cover design by Steve 'Krusher' Joule was released under a storm of controvery. The image of Ozzy with what appears to be bits of bloody guts in his mouth caused some shockwaves in the early 80's and helped to solidify the rumor that Ozzy was a 'Satanist.' The bloody guts were actually some sort of berry jam. The odd writing around the cover also was accused of being some Satanic symbolic writing, but was actually a hidden message to Ozzy's former friend and guitarist Randy Rhoads. Cannot remember any longer what the message actually was, but it was far from 'Satanic'. It's funny how people seem to mistake entertainment for reality.

Brad Gillis meanwhile had been travelling in one of the crewbuses, having been recommended, as I think he told me, by someone in the record co in LA. No one appeared to want to give him an audition: I saw him with a guitar one day messing around and thought, this guy can do it, he's absolutely great! He also knew the material, having been a fan of Randy's. I spoke to Ozzy and Sharon (I think) and Don Airey about him, Don (the principal inquisitioner: you had to get past Don to get a proper audition!) was not at all keen to audition him. At the time I think he preferred me to stay. I talked him into giving Brad a try, he auditioned him, loved his playing, and we were all happy. I was outta there, and they got a great guitar player.
-Bernie Tormé (ex-Gillan, Ozzy, Desperado)

This album was also released under the title 'Talk Of The Devil'.

Axeman Cometh Ozzy Osbourne - The Axeman Cometh (BeechMarten/BM 097)
Recorded live in Memphis, TN 4/28/82

1. "Over The Mountain" (4:27)
2. "Mr. Crowley" (5:48)
3. "Crazy Train" (5:36)
4. "Revelation Mother Earth" (5:49)
5. "Steal Away (The Night)" (3:59)
6. "Suicide Solution" (6:22)
7. "guitar solo" (3:13)
8. "Suicide Solution" [reprise] (1:54)
9. "drum solo" (3:01)
10. "Goodbye to Romance" (6:09)
11. "I Don't Know" (5:13)
12. "Believer" (5:12)
13. "Fyling High Again" (5:07)
14. "Iron Man" (3:35)
15. "Children of the Grave" (5:04)
16. "Paranoid" (3:00)

Although this disc is actually called "Randy Rhoads - The Axeman Cometh" from the sources that I have checked, this is completely inaccurate as it is actually Brad Gillis on guitar. It took some investigating to fnd the actual date of this concert, but it seems to be April 28, 1982. Randy Rhoads was killed in a plane-crash at approximately 9:00 a.m. on Friday, March 19, 1982. The music contained herein is pretty atrocious. While the band sounds good, Ozzy is obviously not at the top of his game. Ozzy as a vocalist has always been hit or miss. I've seen him where he was singing so out of key and cracking so bad it was embarrasing. Unforutnately that is exactly what we get here. I saw Ozzy at Ozzfest in 2003 and he sounded like this then too. However, I saw him again with Black Sabbath in 2004 and he sounded great! Go figure. Anyhow, this disc is still an interesting look into Ozzy's history and the guitar solo and drum solo are pretty cool as well. Sound quality here would probably be graded A or A-, which isn't bad for a bootleg.

Bark At The Moon
Ozzy Osbourne - Bark At The Moon
(Epic) 1983

1."Bark at the Moon" (4:16)
2."You're No Different" (5:01)
3."Now You See It (Now You Don't)" (5:05)
4."Rock 'N' Roll Rebel" (5:26)
5."Centre of Eternity" (5:24)
6."So Tired" (3:58)
7."Slow Down" (4:19)
8."Waiting for Darkness" (5:17)
9. "Spiders in the Night" (4:22)

Ozzy 1983
Ozzy Osbourne at the US Festival 1983

"Bark At The Moon" was Ozzy's first studio disc after the tragic death of Randy Rhoads. For this disc, Ozzy brings in a young, unknown guitar shredder named Jake E. Lee. Also added to the band is keyboardists Don Airey of Rainbow fame and longtime drummer Tommy Aldridge. "Bark At the Moon" is one of my favorite Ozzy discs to this day due to the infections song writing. The first half of the disc sported most of the hits ("Bark At the Moon" and "Rock 'N' Roll Rebel") but the second half of the disc is just as good. "Centre of Eternity," "Slow Down" and the eerie Alice Cooper-like "Spiders in the Night" are among the best stuff Ozzy has ever done. "Spiders" is actually bonus track on the remastered edition of the disc but was originally released as a b-side on the "Bark At the Moon" single. For some odd reason, however, the big wigs at Sony decided not to put on the track "One Up the B-Side" which was, the b-side of the "So Tired" single. Anyhow, besides this minor annoyance, "Bark At The Moon" is Ozzy's most consistent albums from beginning to end.

Ultimate Sin
Ozzy Osbourne - The Ultimate Sin
(Epic) 1986

1. "The Ultimate Sin" (3:44)
2. "Secret Loser" (4:09)
3. "Never Know Why" (4:28)
4. "Thank God for the Bomb" (3:54)
5. "Never" (4:19)
6. "Lightning Strikes" (5:14)
7. "Killer of Giants" (5:42)
8. "Fool Like You" (5:20)
9. "Shot in the Dark" (4:26)

Man, Ozzy could put out an album with nothing but fart noises and sell a million copies. This cd was huge for Ozzy, and fortunately it isn't full of fart noises. However, I still cannot see what all the hoopla was about. Certainly there is some great guitar work on here from Jake E. Lee, and Ozzy sounds, well, like Ozzy. However, there is nothing that completely stands out on this disc for me. Perhaps had I bought it when it came out it would have more nastolgic value. "Shot in the Dark" and "Lightning Strikes" are two standout cuts that are on par with past Ozzy efforts. I picked up a used copy of the remastered version of this disc, at the advice of a friend who told me the sound quality is far superior to the original. I hate the repackaged front covers, however, the remasters also have the full size cover on the back, so you can just flip the cover over to display the larger artwork in the jewel case. At the same time I found this disc used for a mere $3.99, a friend also sent me a European version with the original artwork as well, so now I have two. (thanks Kmorg)

This line-up of Ozzy also recorded a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" for the Stairway to Heaven, Highway to Hell compilation. Fortunately it also appears on the "Two Up the B-Sides" compilation. (see below). This was the last recording for Jake E. Lee who went on to form Badlands.

Jake E. Lee
Ozzy & Jake E. Lee

Ozzy Osbourne - Tribute (Epic) 1987

1. "I Don't Know" (5:43)
2. "Crazy Train" (5:12)
3. "Believer" (5:10)
4. "Mr. Crowley" (5:37)
5. "Flying High Again" (4:27)
6. "Revelation (Mother Earth)" (5:59)
7. "Steal Away (the Night)" (8:02)
8. "Suicide Solution" (8:00)
9. "Iron Man" (2:51)
10. "Children of the Grave" (4:58)
11. "Paranoid" (3:02)
12. "Goodbye to Romance" (5:44)
13. "No Bone Movies" (4:08)
14. "Dee" [studio outtakes/instrumental] (4:23)

Randy Rhoads

This live disc was released several years after Randy Rhoad's tragic death. Many hold to the opinion that Randy was one of the greatest guitarists ever. AMG reviewer Steve Huey went so far as to say, "Randy Rhoads'...all-around ability was arguably second only to Eddie Van Halen." This live album is a testimony to the fact that Randy was great guitarist. It is filled with killer guitar solos and even a fun studio outtake of "Dee", a song named after Randy's mother."Tribute" is a bit heavy on songs from the first Ozzy album, but otherwise this is a cool live disc. Even includes a Tommy Aldridge drum solo.

No Rest For The Wicked Ozzy Osbourne - No Rest for the Wicked (Epic) 1988

1. "Miracle Man" (3:44)
2. "Devil's Daughter" (5:14)
3. "Crazy Babies" (4:14)
4. "Breaking All the Rules" (5:11)
5. "Bloodbath in Paradise" (5:02)
6. "Fire in the Sky" (6:22)
7. "Tattooed Dancer" (3:52)
8. "Demon Alcohol" (4:27)
9. "Hero" -unlisted track (4:49)

Exit guitar wizard Jake E. Lee, enter new unknown shredder Zakk Wylde. The new guitarist inspires some life into 'ol Ozzy cause this disc is great! Killer heavy metal from beginning to end. Of course, if you are reading this, you are probably already an Ozzy fan and already know this. Track 9 is not listed on the insert or cover anywhere."Hero" was a hidden track on the original "No Rest for the Wicked" and is included on the recent re-releases as well.

Just Say Ozzy Ozzy Osbourne - Just Say Ozzy (Epic) 1990

1. "Miracle Man" (4:01)
2. "Bloodbath in Paradise" (5:00)
3. "Shot in the Dark" (5:33)
4. "Tattooed Dancer" (3:46)
5. "Sweet Leaf" (3:21)
6. "War Pigs" (8:23)

A short EP release of live tracks taken from the "No Rest for the Wicked" tour that featured Zakk Wylde on guitar, Geezer Butler on bass and Randy Castillo on drums. I wonder why the powers that be didn't add a few bonus tracks on the remastered edition. As it stands, not a bad EP, but far too short, especially when Ozzy has at least three other live cds. Despite this, a good listen.

No More Tears Ozzy Osbourne - No More Tears (Epic) 1991

1. "Mr. Tinkertrain" (5:55)
2. "I Don't Want to Change the World" (4:05)
3. "Mama, I'm Coming Home" (4:11)
4. "Desire" (5:44)
5. "No More Tears" (7:23)
6. "S.I.N." (4:46)
7. "Hellraiser" (4:53)
8. "Time after Time" (4:20)
9. "Zombie Stomp" (6:13)
10. "A.V.H." (4:12)
11. "Road to Nowhere" (5:10)

"No More Tears" is a more melodic album than most of what Ozzy had done to this point, but is also one of his finest albums in my opinion. Of course, with every Ozzy CD, there are the radio hits and this album sported two; "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and "No More Tears." However there are also some killer gems like the heavy as a freight train "Mr. Tinkertown" and the Lemmy/Ozzy collaboration "Hellraiser" that was also recorded by Motörhead for the movie of the same name. I actually prefer the Motörhead version but Ozzy's version is decent as well. Lemmy from Motörhead actually wrote the lyrics for "I Don't Want To Change The World", "Desire", "Hellraiser" and "Mama, I'm Coming Home".

Ozzy Osbourne - Live & Loud (Epic) 1993

1. "Intro" (3:12)
2. "Paranoid" (3:17)
3. "I Don't Wanna Change The World" (5:01)
4. "Desire" (6:00)
5. "Mr. Crowley" (6:25)
6. "I Don't Know" (5:12)
7. "Road To Nowhere" (5:30)
8. "Flying High Again" (5:03)
9. "Zakk Wylde Guitar Solo" (4:43)
10. "Suicide Solution" (5:02)
11. "Goodbye To Romance" (6:18)
1. "Shot In The Dark" (6:36)
2. "No More Tears" (7:50)
3. "Miracle Man" (4:58)
4. "Randy Castillo Drum Solo" (2:52)
5. "War Pigs" (9:17)
6. "Bark At The Moon" (5:28)
7. "Mama, I'm Coming Home" (5:45)
8. "Crazy Train" (6:20)
9. "Black Sabbath" (7:12)
10. "Changes" (5:15)

For every two studio albums, Ozzy seems to have a live album. This particular live disc from every metalheads favorite elf, is particularly good though. "Just Say Ozzy" was far too short. The Randy Rhoads Tribute was good, but featured too much material from the first record, and "Speak of the Devil", while being a good disc, featured only Black Sabbath material. As with every Ozzy live platter, "Live & Loud" is a testament of Ozzy's arsenal of guitarists through the year. Certainly Zakk Wylde is no slacker, nor is skin pounder Randy Castillo. According to the liner notes, this CD was to be a testament to Ozzy who was retiring from touring and recording. Of course, we all know that didn't happen. One thing about Ozzy in a live setting, he really needs to keep his mouth closed between songs because he just sounds like an idiot. I mean the man really needs to invest in a dictionary and learn some new words, or at least another word besides "f**k." Picked up the special edition digi-version with the speaker grill over the front cover and the little gold Ozzy plate (pictured above).

Ozzy Osbourne - Ozzmosis
(Epic) 1995

1. "Perry Mason" (5:53)
2. "I Just Want You" (4:56)
3. "Ghost Behind My Eyes" (5:11)
4. "Thunder Underground" (6:30)
5. "See You on the Other Side" (6:10)
6. "Tomorrow" (6:37)
7. "Denial" (5:12)
8. "My Little Man" (4:52)
9. "My Jekyll Doesn't Hide" (6:34)
10. "Old L.A. Tonight" (4:48)

Zakk Wylde

I've seen several bad review of this album, and while it may not be Ozzy's strongest overall, it just sounds like Ozzy to me. So what's the big deal? "Perry Mason" is one of the most infectious songs Ozzy has ever recorded. That heavy Zakk Wylde guitar riff will have any headbanger in an ears distance banging their heads...and that's just track number one! Track number two is an Ozzy Jim Vallance collaboration. Jim has worked with such notable bands as Aerosmith and Ted Nugent in the past and has helped them to score huge radio hits. Certainly "I Just Want You" is one of the best power ballads in Ozzy's repertoire. "Ghost Behind My Eyes" is co-written by Mark Hudson and Ozzy and sounds a bit more like an Alice Cooper song than an Ozzy song, but it's still not a bad track. "Thunder Underground" is a heavy, groove laden song. Zakk's guitar tone laid on top the heavy bass tones are just outstanding. "See You On the Other Side" is another excellent power ballad co-written by Ozzy and Lemmy (Motorhead), Other songs have Ozzy writing with Steve Via and Geezer Butler, who also plays bass on this album. Keyboards are handled by the one and only Rick Wakeman of Yes fame. Dean Castronova is credited with the drum work. So, as I said, I don't see what the big deal was/is. It sounds like Ozzy to me.

Long time drummer, Randy Castillo, passed away from cancer in April 2002.

Ozzman Cometh Ozzy Osbourne - The Ozzman Cometh (Epic) 1997

1. "Black Sabbath" -1970 Basement Tapes (9:25)
2. "War Pigs" -1970 Basement Tapes (8:15)
3. "Goodbye to Romance" (5:35)
4. "Crazy Train" (4:51)
5. "Mr. Crowley" (4:56)
6. "Over the Mountain" (4:32)
7. "Paranoid"--live w/ Randy Rhoads (2:53)
8. "Bark at the Moon" (4:16)
9. "Shot in the Dark" (4:16)
10. "Crazy Babies" (4:14)
11. "No More Tears" [edit] (5:54)
12. "Mama, I'm Coming Home" (4:11)
13. "I Don't Want to Change the World" [live] (4:00)
14. "I Just Want You" (4:56)
15. "Back on Earth" (5:00)

1. "Fairies Wear Boots" [1970 Basement Tapes] (6:55)
2. "Behind the Wall of Sleep" [1970 Basement Tapes] (5:09)
3. "Interview with Ozzy 1988" (17:45)

Seven studio solo albums, seven studio albums with Black Sabbath, a tons of live-albums and, Ozzy finally releases a "best-of" compilation. I'm not sure that I, or any Ozzy fan, could be totally happy with the track listing. I mean, Ozzy has never survived on singles, he has always been an album oriented artist, so there are favorite tracks that will not appear on this collection that some will think is a crime. I, for one, think that "Perry Mason" should have been included. Regardless, there is also a nice offering of rarities on this disc to make it worth owning. The four Black Sabbath classics are completely different from the studio versions on the Black Sabbath album. There is also an outtake from the "Ozzmosis" sessions called "Back To Earth" which is actually a pretty good song. I can't even see why it was left off that album. Overall, probably more essential for the four Black Sabbath tunes than anything else, but essential none-the-less.

Two Up The B Side Ozzy Osbourne - Two Up the B-Side (cdr compilation)

1. "You Looking at Me Looking at You" (4:14)
2. "You Said it All" [live] (3:56)
3. "Spiders in the Night" (4:20)
4. "One Up the B Side" (3:27)
5. "The Liar" (4:26)
6. "Purple Haze" (4:22)
7. "Mrs. J" [demo/instrumental] (2:40)
8. "Won't Be Coming Home" [demo] (4:59)
9. "Don't Blame Me" (5:00)
10. "Party with the Animals" (4:19)
11. "Living with the Enemy" (5:25)
12. "Whole World's Falling Down" (5:07)
13. "Voodoo Dancer" (5:24)
14. "Aimee" (4:46)
15. "Back on Earth" (5:00)
16. "Walk on Water" (4:18)
17. "Pictures of Matchstick Men"
................................. -Type O Negative
1. "Crazy Train" [remix] (4:23)
2. "Born to be Wild"-w/ Miss Piggy (3:30)
3. "Staying Alive"-w/ Dweezil Zappa (4:27)
4. "It's Only Rock and Roll" -various artists" (4:51)
5. "The Urpney Song" (3:56)
6. "Shake Your Head (Let's Go to Bed)"-Was (Not Was) (3:54)
7. "Led Clones"-Gary Moore (6:08)
8. "Close My Eyes Forever"-Lita Ford (4:42)
9. "Therapy"-Infectious Grooves (3:25)
10. "Shock the Monkey"-Coal Chamber (3:42)
11. "Bombers Can Open Bomb Bays"-Bill Ward (4:23)
12. "Jack's Land"-Bill Ward (4:41)
13. "Buried Alive"-Rick Wakeman (6:00)
14. "Vertical Man"-Ringo Starr (4:41)
15. "I Ain't No Nice Guy"-Motörhead (4:18)
16. "Nowhere to Run"-w/DMX, Ol' Dirty Bastard &
........Crystal Method
17. "Iron Man (This Means War)"-Busta Rhymes (4:36)

A cool 2-cdr collection of Ozzy rarities put together by a fellow cd-aholic who goes by the name of King God Space. Anyhow, disc one covers all the b-sides & rare tracks from Ozzy's solo work. Disc two features Ozzy appearing on songs by other artists, a few of which he appears singing only background vocals. I can't even hear Ozzy on a couple of these. ("Vertical Man" & "It's Only Rock and Roll") I've always liked the duet he did with Lita Ford. The Steppenwolf cover he did with Miss Piggy is pretty funny. However, disc one is the real gem in this collection. This disc is great b-side collections, some of which should really have been considered for the albums.

Down To Earth Ozzy Osbourne - Down to Earth (Epic) 2001

1. "Gets Me Through" (5:05)
2. "Facing Hell" (4:26)
3. "Dreamer" (4:45)
4. "No Easy Way Out" (5:06)
5. "That I Never Had" (4:24)
6. "You Know...(Part 1)" (1:07)
7. "Junkie" (4:28)
8. "Running Out Of Time" (5:06)
9. "Black Illusion" (4:21)
10. "Alive" (4:54)
11. "Can You Hear Them?" (4:59)
12. Multimedia Section

Have you ever sat around and thought to yourself, "Gee, I wonder what it would be like if Ozzy hired some crappy nu-metal band to play behind him." Well, rejoice for you have to wonder no longer. "Down to Earth" is as close to that at you may ever actually hear. Actually, in all seriousness, Ozzy still sounds like Ozzy, except that producer Tim Palmer gives the madman's band more of a muddy grunge sound than a crisp heavy metal sound, which takes the punch out of otherwise cool songs like "That I Never Had', "Junkie" and "Gets Me Through". The guitars are muffled, buzzy and not as crisp as I'd prefer. Perhaps 'ol Ozzy was attempting to compete with all the bands he brings with him on his nu-metal freak show, humbly titled Ozzfest. Still, there are some good songs on this disc. "Gets Me Through" is the most Black Sabbath like song I have heard from Ozzy in a long time. In predictable Ozzy style, he gives us the song that will offend every Christian preacher in the world in "Facing Hell". We even get the predictable cheese ballads in "Dreamer" and "Running Out of Time." Longtime Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde is back laying down some choice solos but this time with Suicidal Tendencies bassist Robert Trujillo and Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin backing him up. Overall, cannot claim that this is one of my favorite Ozzy platters, but certainly it's not bad either. It's just Ozzy!

Live At Budokan Ozzy Osbourne - Live At Budokan (Epic/Sony) 2002

1. "I Don't Know" (5:51)
2. "That I Never Had" (4:13)
3. "Believer" (4:56)
4. "Junkie" (4:17)
5. "Mr. Crowley " (6:45)
6. "Gets Me Through" (4:15)
7. "No More Tears" (07:14)
8. "I Don't Want To Change The World" (4:14)
9. "Road To Nowhere" (5:52)
10. "Crazy Train" (6:01)
11. "Mama, I'm Coming Home" (4:37)
12. "Bark At The Moon" (4:30)
13. "Paranoid" (3:39)

The first question everyone asked when this one came out was, "why ANOTHER live album?" After releasing "Speak of the Devil", "Tribute", "Just Say Ozzy", "Live & Loud", and both Ozzye-fronted Black Sabbath live discs, one would think that Ozzy had exhausted the live records. However, I suppose to cash in on the popularity of his MTV show "The Osbournes" this live album, recording in Japan was released. However, there are some positives about this disc. First of all, Ozzy's band sounds great! Robert Trujillo, Mide Vordin, John Sinclair on keys, and especially Zakk Wylde sound great! Zakk as been the cornerstone of Osbourne's sound for a longer period of time than any other sideman he has ever worked with. Wylde's squealing leads and crunchy guitar tone sounds great here. He truly is an amazing talent. As for the vocals, however, this is his weakest vocal performance captured on disc so far. Another negative is the track listing, which besides including some tracks from "Down To Earth", features those same songs you have heard live a hundred-thousand times. I sort of wish he would have dug up some forgotten classic like "Ultimate Sin", "Waiting For Darkness", "Mr Tinkertrain", "Diary Of A Madman", "Over The Mountain", or even an obscure Sabbath classic. This would have made this disc less of a cash-in and more vital to Ozzy's hordes of fans. There isn't even a song from the underrated "Ozzmosis". I wouldn't have minded hearing "Perry Mason", "See You On the Other Side" or "I Just Want You". However, despite the numerous complaints, this disc isn't all that bad. As I stated, the band sounds great and I can't really say I didn't enjoy hearing "Bark At The Moon" and "I Don't Know" for the umpteenth time. Sooooo, "Live at Budokan" is not something to completely avoid, but there are much better live discs available featuring the madman.

Prince of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne - Prince of Darkness (Epic) 2005

1. I Don't Know [live] (5:03)
2. Mr. Crowley (4:57)
3. Crazy Train (4:49)
4. Goodbye To Romance [live] (5:24)
5. Suicide Solution [live] (7:56)
6. Over The Mountain (4:33)
7. Flying High Again [live] (4:25)
8. You Can't Kill Rock And Roll  (6:45)
9. Diary Of A Madman ( 6:12)
10. Bark At The Moon [live] (4:23)
11. Spiders (4:29)
12. Rock 'n' Roll Rebel (5:22)
13. You're No Different (5:49)
1. Iron Man   [w/ Therapy?] (5:28)
2. N.I.B. [w/ Primus] (5:57)
3. Purple Haze [w/ Geezer Butler] (4:21)
4. Pictures Of Matchstick Men [w/ Type O Negative] (6:01)
5. Shake Your Head (Let's Go To Bed) [w/ Was Not Was] (3:57)
6. Born To Be Wild[w/ Miss Piggy] (3:29)
7. Nowhere To Run (Vapor Trail) [w/ DMX, 'Ol Dirty Bastard & fuzzbubble (4:43)
8. Psycho Man [Black Sabbath w/ Ozzy] (5:20)
9. For Heaven's Sake 2000 [w/ Tony Iommi & Wu-Tang Clan] (4:55)
10. I Ain't No Nice Guy [w/  w/ Motörhead] (4:18)
11. Therapy [w/ Infectious Grooves] (3:24)
12. Stayin' Alive [w/ Dweezil Zappa] (4:40)
13. Dog, The Bounty Hunter (:53)
1. Ultimate Sin [live] (4:36)
2. Never Know Why [live] (4:34)
3. Thank God For The Bomb [live] (3:59)
4. Crazy Babies (4:16)
5. Breakin' All The Rules (5:12)
6. I Don't Want To Change The World [demo] (3:55)
7. Mama, I'm Coming Home [demo] (4:09)
8. Desire [demo] (5:00)
9. No More Tears (7:25)
10. Won't Be Coming Home (S.I.N.)  [demo] (4:59)
11. Perry Mason [live] (5:54)
12. See You On The Other Side [demo] (6:36)
13. Walk On Water [demo] (4:41)
14. Gets Me Through [live] (4:26)
15. Bang Bang (You're Dead) (4:35)
16. Dreamer (4:45)
1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (3:54)
2. Mississippi Queen [w/ Leslie West] (4:09)
3. All The Young Dudes [w/ Ian Hunter] (4:34)
4. In My Life (Radio Edit) ( 3:31)
5. Fire (4:09)
6. For What It's Worth (3:20)
7. Sympathy For The Devil (7:11)
8. Working Class Hero (3:25)
9. Good Times (3:46)
10. Changes (4:06)

Ozzy is one of the godfathers of Heavy Metal. There is just no denying his legacy in both Black Sabbath and with his own solo work. As such, a box set, is certainly appropriate. The first two CDs are Ozzy's solo work containing various studio recordings, re-recordings, live tracks, b-sides, demos, etc. The last two CDs are; duets on disc three and cover songs on disc four. The cover versions were recorded specifically for this box set compilation.

Disc one is a good listen, though slightly disappointing in the fact that these are not the original tracks are recorded by Randy Rhoads, Ozzy Osbourne, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. Instead, these are Sharon Osbourne's re-recordings in which Daisley and Kerslake's tracks had been replaced. Honestly, I don't find it all that annoying as the re-recordings attempt to stick to the originals, but those intimately familiar with the original recordings will notice slight differences throughout. Frankly, I find this to be disrespectful to the band's legacy. A good half the tracks are live versions taken from the "Tribute" album, with Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge. These tracks, of course, aren't rare, but fit in nicely with the studio tracks. With "Bark At the Moon" the rarities start to show up. The live version of "Bark At the Moon" is a b-side track, as is the studio track "Spiders". Of course that song has been released on the remastered version of the CD as well. The last two tracks come off "Bark At the Moon". Overall, despite my pet peeve about the re-recorded bass and drum tracks, disc one is a good overview of Ozzy's early years.

Disc two starts off with three live live tracks taken from the "Ultimate Ozzy" video released in 1990 which has yet to be officially released on CD. Now this is the type  of stuff you expect to see on box sets. "Crazy Babies" and "Breakin' All the Rules" are both studio tracks from the "No Rest for the Wicked" LP. The next three tracks are all demos that were released on some rare promo album. These too are excellent inclusions for a box set. All three tracks were at least partially penned by Lemmy Killmister of Motorhead fame. I particularly like the demo version of "Mama, I'm Coming Home". These demos feature Zakk Wylde on guitar and Randy Castillo (R.I.P.: March 26, 2002) on drums. The "Won't Be Coming Home (S.I.N.)" demo features Geezer Butler from Sabbath on bass. Disc two features several other demos as well. "See You On the Other Side" is worthy of mention due to the fact that it has a horn section that I don't recall being on the album version. This is probably the best disc of the set thanks to the inclusion of all this demo material. While die-hards might have a lot of this stuff, it's nice to have it all compiled on one CD officially. "Perry Mason" live is an Ozzfest recording. This is a case where I think I would have rather have had the studio version included. The live version isn't bad, but the studio version is a tad better.

With the third disc, things start to go a bit south. This disc is very uneven, featuring collaborations from various compilations, tributes, etc. Most of the songs are covers, save for the awesome "Psycho Man", which is a Black Sabbath studio song taken from the live album that resulted from the short lived reunion between Ozzy and the Sabs. Some of my favorites from this disc are "Pictures of Matchstick Men" with Type O Negative, the aforementioned "Psycho Man" and "I Ain't No Nice Guy", the ballad sung by Ozzy and Lemmy. As a novelty I also find the cover of "Born to Be Wild" with Miss Piggy to be a fun listen. (Of course, I love the Muppets.) Never cared for Primus' cover of "N.I.B." as their "virtuoso" bassist completely butchers and overplays the bass lines. "Nowhere to Run" is an absolutely obnoxious and annoying rap song. The skip button becomes essential here. Same holds true for "For Heaven's Sake 2000" and the absolutely atrocious "Stayin' Alive". GAK!

The final disc is all covers that were recorded specifically for this box set, only to be released as a single disc down the road. The single disc has tracks not on this cover disc as well, so  unfortunately it devalues the box set. For most of the tracks here, Ozzy has chosen to cover it songs to cover that he listened to growing up in the '60s and '70s. Since most of this stuff is far removed from hard rock and heavy metal, Ozzy seems a bit out of his element. He sounds good enough on "Mississippi Queen". When reviewing the single disc "Under Cover" I stated, "It's almost like seeing Ozzy sing at your local tavern on karaoke night. What? That doesn't sound like a good thing to you? Hmmm..." That about sums up this disc.

The box set also includes an extensive 60-page booklet with tons of photos a
nd reading material. The booklet and packaging are quite nice. (Thanks Vexer6)

Under Cover Ozzy - Under Cover (Epic) 2005

1. "Rocky Mountain Way" (4:32)
2. In My Life" (3:30)
3. Mississippi Queen" (4:11)
4. Go Now" (3:42)
5. Woman" (3:45)
6. 21st Century Schizoid Man" (3:53)
7. All The Young Dudes" (4:34)
8. For What It's Worth" (3:20)
9. Good Times" (3:45)
10. Sunshine Of Your Love" (5:10)
11. Fire" (4:08)
12. Working Class Hero" (3:22)
13. Sympathy For The Devil" (7:11)

Originally included as part of his 'Prince Of Darkness' Box Set, Under Cover is now available as a single CD (or as a Dual Disc) with 3 additional songs. Personally, I was not overly excited about this CD especially after hearing Ozzy's version of "Sympathy for the Devil" on local rock radio. Ozzy chose hit songs to cover that he listened to growing up in the '60s and '70s like Mountain's heavy metal classic "Mississippi Queen," Creem's psychedelic "Sunshine Of Your Love" and the mellow John Lennon classic "Woman." You can tell Ozzy is a big Beatles fan since two Lennon songs and a Beatles song are among the thirteen on the CD. Osbourne recruited some of the original artists to help out on his versions. Leslie West plays a guitar solo on "Mississippi Queen" while Mott The Hoople's Ian Hunter lends some backing vocals to "All The Young Dudes." It sounds like Ozzy might have had fun recording these tracks. For the most part, however, Ozzy has chosen songs that fall outside of the heavy metal he is known for. It is for this reason that Ozzy seems a bit out of his element. While he sounds good on the aforementioned "Mississippi Queen" and surprisingly good on the the creepy Moody Blues classic "Go Now", others like the "For What It's Worth"" and "Sympathy For the Devil" just don't seem to work as well. Despite this, I think 'Under Cover' shows Ozzy's diversity and versatility and isn't quite as bad as what I was expecting. I actually enjoyed it a bit. It's almost like seeing Ozzy sing at your local tavern on kereoke night. What? That doesn't sound like a good thing to you? Hmmm...

Black Rain Black Rain Ozzy Osbourne - Black Rain (Epic Records) 2007

1. "Not Going Away" (4:32)
2. "I Don't Wanna Stop" (4:00)
3. "Black Rain" (4:43)
4. "Lay Your World on Me" (4:16)
5. "The Almighty Dollar" (6:57)
6. "Silver" (3:43)
7. "Civilize the Universe" (4:43)
8. "Here For You" (4:38)
9. "Countdown's Begun" (4:54)
10. "Trap Door" (4:04)

Over his nearly 40 year career, Ozzy has enjoyed some great highs, some embarrassing lows (ie. The Osbournes), but with albums such as Black Sabbath, Master of Reality, Blizzard of Ozz, Diary of a Madman, No More Tears, etc., Ozzy has solidified his position as one of heavy metal's most well known and respected front men. His name seems to be synonymous with heavy metal. However, at the age of 60, Ozzy isn't what he was in those days. He was never a great vocalist, but what he lacked technically, he made up for in charisma and attitude. Unfortunately, that charisma isn't heard so much here. Fortunately Ozzy surrounds himself with excellent musicians and "Black Rain" is no exception. Led by longtime guitarist Zakk Wylde, "Black Rain" sounds very much like a Black Label Society album with Ozzy on vocals. Mid-paced, downtuned, sludge riffs and Zakk's signature pinch harmonic, backed by a solid rhythm section of Rob "Blasko" Nicholson (Bass) and Mike Bordin (drums) and some nice lead work are typical of this album. There are a few good rockers on this one. I have no doubt that "I Don't Wanna Stop" will be a rock radio staple and a concert favorite. Likewise, "Not Going Away" and "The Almighty Dollar" are good Ozzy rockers. There are also the obligatory ballads, both of which aren't bad but neither of which stand up to greats like "Goodbye to Romance" or "Mama, I'm Coming Home". "Black Rain" certainly isn't a bad record. I think most long-time, die-hard Ozzy fans will be pleased. However, if anyone is expecting another "Blizzard of Ozz" or even "No More Tears", they may be disappointed. Ozzy's first record in 7 years is a step above "Down to Earth" but no where near as exciting as some of his best work.

I have a bit of a gripe about the packaging for the U.S. release. The CD is packaged in a cheap, thin, grey, cardboard sleeve with no cd tray or booklet. No lyrics, no liner notes, not even a stinkin' photo. This wouldn't be so bad if this album were sold at a discounted price. Instead, the I've seen prices on this CD at $15.99 and above. I purchased my copy at Hasting's the day it was released for the sale price of $11.99. Best Buy also had the CD on sale the week of it's release for $9.99. Apparently the record company is calling this cheap packaging "eco-friendly", because the CD sleeve made out of recycled paper. The lack of a booklet is said to "save paper." Ahhh, I guess giving the fans a five cent paper sleeve, instead of a quality package is one way to make a few more bucks. Ahhh, "The Almighty Dollar". iTunes buyers can download an exclusive track titled "Love to Hate" which I am sure will later show up on a "special edition" release of "Black Rain." Likewise, the Japanese version includes two tracks, "Nightmare" and "I Can't Save You". The European version has no bonus tracks but does come in a jewel case with a complete CD booklet. The picture to the left above is the European cover. I know own a copy of both the U.S. version and the European version.

Scream Ozzy Osbourne - Scream (Epic) 2010

1.   Let It Die (6:07)
2.   Let Me Hear You Scream (3:26)
3.   Soul Sucker (4:35)
4.   Life Won't Wait (5:07)
5.   Diggin' Me Down (6:04)
6.   Crucify (3:30)
7.   Fearless (3:42)
8.   Time (5:31)
9.   I Want It More (5:37)
10. Latimer's Mercy (4:27)
11. I Love You All (1:03)

Gone is long-time guitarist Zakk Wylde, replaced by guitarist Gus G known for his work in various power metal bands (Firewind, Dream Evil, Mystic Prophecy). As such, news quickly spread across the internet and people were excited at the possibilities. Frankly the last Ozzy album sounded more like Black Label Society than it did Ozzy. However, what resulted from this union isn't exactly what people might have expected. "Scream" does not sound like Dream Evil with Ozzy on vocals. In fact, this is the most modern sounding heavy metal album that Gus G. has ever recorded. Being that producer Kevin Churko has co-written all the songs on "Scream", it's not really a wonder that the songs sound more modern. Churko also had a big hand in the sound on Ozzy's previous record "Black Rain". However, the blame for that modern feel is much more to due with the production than the songwriting.

The songs are mostly upbeat and heavy and are clearly written to gain Ozzy some airplay. "Let Me Hear You Scream" is about as catchy as any arena-ready anthem that Ozzy has recorded and has that predictable shout-along chorus. Sure it's cliché, but it's rock and roll! It's suppose to be about having a good time and screaming along. It's also not the only good song on the album. Personally, I found the album to be front-loaded with the first four songs being the strongest, and the second half not quite as strong. However, the ballad "Time" is an enjoyable song from the later half of the album.

"Diggin' Me Down" has drawn attention for its criticizing lyrics about Jesus. The lyrics take digs at the Messiah asking why he is taking so long for his return and why he is not helping the poor and unfortunate on the earth. It's a bitter and angry song, and though I understand the empathy for the suffering, I don't particularly care for the tone of the lyrics.

Ozzy has been a part of some of the biggest and most influential heavy metal records of all time, with Black Sabbath and with albums like "Blizzard of Ozz" and "Diary of a Madman". As such, anything he records is not exactly going to live up to people's expectations. However, Ozzy fans should at least be pleased that "Scream" sounds like an Ozzy album and is at least good, if not one of his best in a long time. (Thanks Vexer6)

Related collections:

Black Sabbath | Quiet Riot | Badlands | Pride n Glory | Black Label Society | Suicidal Tendencies | Metallica

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