Ozzy Osbourne: Diary of a Madman

Ozzy Osbourne: Diary of a Madman

Ozzy Osbourne
Blizzard of Ozz/Diary of a Madman
(Sony Legacy)
Looking back you kind of have to ask what all the controversy was about.

Sure he bit the head off a bat… and a dove, (like we haven’t all done that) and he wrote a song called “Suicide Solution” (lyrically, amazingly tame by today’s standards for controversy), but did Ozzy Osbourne’s first couple of solo record really deserve so much vitriol form every right-wing political group and nut job religious organization with a bull horn and photocopier?

On the 30th anniversary of the release of Ozzy’s first two solo records – Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madman (ok, Blizzard technically came out in 1980) – Legacy and Epic have re-released and re-mastered both albums including a slew of extra tracks and a live CD.

The records stand up remarkably well over the decades and what’s surprising most is just how accessible the songs come across. Though the religious critics would have you believe the music is nothing more than love notes to Satan, wrapped around blistering metal guitars, the truth is that the songs are inspiring lyrically (“Crazy Train” is quite possibly the most coherent metal songs ever penned) and the music, from Osbourne’s voice to Randy Rhoads groundbreaking guitar solos, can honestly be called pop music just as much as they can be called metal. As Sharon Osbourne explains in the documentary that accompanies the box set (Thirty Years After the Blizzard), they set out to record albums that would be both creatively and commercially successful. And they were. Songs like “Flying High Again,” “Over the Mountain” and “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll,” are among some of the genre’s best and even belong on the playlist of those who have never owned a Sabbath album.

Thirty Years After the Blizzard also manages to give a touching look into Ozzy’s relationship with Rhoads, who died in a tragic accident shortly after the release of the second record. The Prince of Darkness still manages to get misty eyes sitting in his studio listening to found audio of Rhodes playing his guitar during the recording sessions.

In 2002, a spiteful Sharon Osbourne fighting in court with the band’s original bassist and drummer over royalties reissued these albums after stripping the original bass and drum and having Ozzy’s current bandmates come in and re-record those parts. This latest box set, rights a wrong by re-mastering the original 1980/81 albums. I guess you can’t kill rock and roll.