Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums :
Artist : The Blizzard Of Ozz Band
Album : Blizzard Of Ozz
Released : September 20, 1980
Album : Diary Of A Madman
Released : November 7, 1981
M.M. Album Rating : 5/5 (Two Of The Holy Grails Of Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Music)
There are many examples throughout music history of two albums made from the same artist or band that just seem to belong together, like they should’ve been a double album. When you think of the first two Blizzard Of Ozz band albums, known as Ozzy Osbourne’s first two solo records you really can’t think of one without the other. Recorded with the same musicians, within a year of each other they just fit together perfectly. Not only are they “Holy Grails” of the music we all love so much, but they are also the final two studio projects by the legendary guitar player Randy Rhoads. That alone makes them absolutely essential, Nevermind the fact that the music on these two records is so legendary too. Unfortunately though, the music has kind of taken a back seat to the story “behind the music” of these two classics. It’s a story of betrayal, greed, and disrespect. Disrespect not only to the late Randy Rhoads, but also to the musicians he recorded this music with.
For those that have truly followed the career of Ozzy Osbourne know that he has never really been a songwriter. He’s contributed pieces of music, and certain melodies, but never full songs with music and lyrics. There are a few examples, one on the Black Sabbath album “Sabotage”, where ironically Ozzy did write lyrics to the song called “The Writ”, which is about the band’s former manager ripping them off, and how betrayed the band feels. It’s almost laughable now that Ozzy wrote lyrics like that, especially since his wife Sharon and him have done the exact same thing for decades since his solo career started. A solo career that was not supposed to be at the time. When Guitar player Randy Rhoads, bass player Bob Daisley, and drummer Lee Kerslake first got together with Ozzy after he was fired from Black Sabbath they made it clear that they wanted this to be a band, not an Ozzy solo project. All of the members had been in the music business for years, and realized it was time to take care of themselves. When Randy, and Bob especially (who contributed the most songwriting to both records) began writing the music they realized that they were contributing too much to be part of a backing band. It was Ozzy’s own father who came up with the band name “Blizzard Of Ozz”. Everyone liked it, and The Blizzard Of Ozz began recording their debut record.
To say the members felt betrayed when the first pressing of the record came out which had Ozzy’s name in big letters, and Blizzard Of Ozz in small, was an understatement. Randy Rhoads especially felt betrayed, and never got over it the rest of his life. To make matters worse, Sharon was now doing her best “Yoko Ono” impression telling the band how things were going to be, but unlike Yoko she had the actual power to make any changes she wanted, it didn’t matter to her how it affected the continuity of the band. By the time Diary Of A Madman was recorded drummer Lee Kerslake was fired against Randy, and Bob’s wishes. Bob also found himself in hot water with Sharon when he asked for his rightful songwriting, performance, and band royalties on the second album. By the time “Diary” came out bass player Rudy Sarzo, and drummer Tommy Aldridge had replaced Bob and Lee on the album artwork, (pictured below) even though neither had played a note on the album.
Contrary to the brotherhood that both Sharon and Ozzy talk about now, Randy’s last days were unhappy and pretty miserable. He was being forced to record a live album of all Black Sabbath covers which he protested against, but was threatened with legal action if he didn’t. Having Ozzy even punch him in the face for not agreeing with the plans. He originally agreed to record a third studio album with Ozzy, but many close to him said by March of 1982 he just wanted out of the whole Ozzy Osbourne circle. It’s sad to know now he died so unhappy, and disgusted with the whole music business. To this day Sharon and Ozzy have tried to re-write history by making Ozzy and Randy sound like blood brothers, and a “Lennon/McCartney” songwriting team. Nothing was further from the truth. Ozzy and Sharon want everyone to believe that even though Geezer Butler wrote all of the lyrics in Sabbath that Ozzy woke up one day and became Bob Dylan. Yeah, laughable to say the least.
Throughout the years Sharon and Ozzy have continued to keep both Lee and Bob from their rightful royalties, and recognition of the work they did on the first two albums. For instance, the original artwork of The Blizzard of Ozz band on the first album is gone, (I have it pictured below). Sharon and Ozzy have tried to erase both men from history. In the year of 2000 they did the most unforgivable thing of all. They re-released Blizzard and Diary with new bass and drums tracks !!!! All because they wanted to get out of paying performance royalties. Are you kidding me ??? What a slap in the face to the legacy of those two albums and especially Randy who wasn’t here to defend himself or his legacy. Thankfully the fans staged an enormous protest, where both Ozzy and Sharon threw each other under the bus saying it wasn’t their idea but the other one, so pathetic and laughable.
Thankfully the original tracks were restored a few years later, but the disrespect continues. Ozzy and Sharon made a documentary on the two albums, not one mention of Bob or Lee. It was almost passed off like Ozzy and Randy are a duo. Ozzy also continues to lie through his teeth about certain songs. Like saying he wrote “Suicide Solution” for Bon Scott, when Bob wrote the lyrics and it had nothing to do with Bon. The whole thing is sickening and disgraceful. Up to this point Ozzy and Sharon have gotten a pass by most fans and the press, but the tables may be finally turning. Guitar player Jake E. Lee who replaced Randy for the third album “Bark At The Moon” is telling his story of how he got screwed over too. Bob has an open invitation at anytime to go on Eddie Trunk’s radio and television show. Hope he does so soon. Plus Bob’s excellent book “For Facts Sake” tells the whole story. It’s an excellent read.
The story of these two classic albums is a tragedy. It’s pathetic that both Ozzy and Sharon have forgotten that in 1979/1980 Ozzy was considered “Washed Up”. These are the men that helped him resurrect his career. They have been treated like absolute “shit”. They deserve better, and so does Randy’s legacy.
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