With news that Ozzy Osbourne was in the intensive care unit, millions of music fans around the world went on red alert. Ozzy is now out of the woods, but has had to cancel a tour because of pneumonia. For all Ozzy’s crazy comments and reality show moments, his first and most devoted fans are those who love the music. Although he shot to stardom as the frontman for Black Sabbath, the band kicked him out in 1979. Ozzy then embarked on an extremely successful solo career. Let’s take a look at the Prince of Darkness’s greatest hits.
Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler showed up on this mostly-forgettable 1995 album. The album is notable, however, for the way it features a more emo-version of Osbourne. Ozzmosis was saved in part by Zakk Wylde’s able guitar prowess. At the same time, however, the album is overproduced and as such is quite a head-scratcher.
Black Rain, 2007
Zakk Wylde arrived on the Osbourne scene in 2007 as guitarist and co-writer. The album is supposedly the first one Osbourne recorded sober. Wylde quickly established that he could hang with Ozzy. It didn’t hurt that Wylde’s biggest influence was Ozzy collaborator and classical guitar enthusiast Randy Rhoads, who died in a plane crash while on tour with Ozzy in 1982. Black Rain is underrated because it returned Osbourne to a much heavier sound. The most pleasing aspect of the album was that it blended in psychedelia. Overall, it was a pleasant experience, which is not exactly the vibe Ozzy is known for.
Down to Earth, 2001
Down to Earth is not groundbreaking, but it brought out the things Ozzy is best known for. Credit Osbourne with bringing in a kicking backing band, first with the return of Zakk Wylde, plus Suicidal Tendencies bassist Robert Trujillo and Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin. These guys were all fans of Ozzy and knew exactly how to achieve a classic Osbourne sound. The sound is a bit ragged at times, but overall the album embraced Ozzy for who he was and is.
Bark at the Moon, 1983
Jake E. Lee replaced Randy Rhoads on this record. This is of course an impossible task, and Lee brought Ozzy a different sensibility. Despite the lack of buzz, this album still packs a punch with fans. The best tracks are “Rock and Roll Rebel” and “Bark at the Moon.” Despite Lee’s work, there was no way they could replicate the heights that Ozzy found with Rhoads.5.
The Ultimate Sin, 1986
The divisive album The Ultimate Sin was released at a time when metal was undergoing a transition from heavy and dramatic to a peppier sound. This album helped Osbourne keep up with the times without making him sound false. Jake Lee was on board, writing music that was relatable but still tinged with the bad boy sensibility Ozzy was known for. Ozzy was not happy with the album, which was recorded at a time when he was heavily doing drugs. However much Ozzy dislikes the effort, it is probably one of his most underrated record.
No Rest for the Wicked, 1988
The first album for Zakk Wylde on guitar showed yet again that it was a mistake to ever count Ozzy out. Osbourne is energetic and Wylde is stylistically a better match for Ozzy’s arrangements. The album is filled with singles like “Fire in the Sky” and “Miracle Man” that are still loved today.
No More Tears, 1991
Although Lee was gone by this point, Ozzy raised his game once again with No More Tears. The album includes a collaboration with Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister on four tracks. The album went quadruple-platinum and contained several hit records. Ozzy amped up the ballads, but never turned sappy, while layering in some insightful commentary about the time. This was Ozzy’s first album after being cleared from inducing suicide with his music – which sounds laughable now, but was a huge deal for music at the time. “Desire” and “S.I.N.” Showed that Ozzy was on top of music trends. He also had his first American top 40 hit with “Mama, I’m Coming Home.”
Diary of a Madman, 1981
We’ve saved the best two for last. Ozzy’s second solo album ruled the airwaves, showing off the incredible skillset of Randy Rhoads. In addition to Rhoads, the album was buttressed with work from Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley. The only thing that stops this album from being the top-rated was a few ballads that seemed half-cooked. The single “Diary of a Madman” is perhaps the greatest work Rhoads ever did. The sounds is fantastic and it creates the sinister atmosphere that Ozzy is best known for.
Blizzard of Ozz, 1980
It comes as no surprise that the top album was 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz, the first solo album Ozzy cut post-Sabbath. It introduced the world to the creative genius of Randy Rhoads. Few guitarists were as influential in the world of metal. Rhoads, with his extensive knowledge of classical guitar, was the perfect match for Ozzy’s dystopian voice and lyrics. The two created arrangements that lifted Ozzy’s vocal interpretations into the stratosphere. The album was a masterpiece which showed that Osbourne could wind up even more influential alone than he was in Black Sabbath. This was the first clue the music world had that Ozzy knew how to create backing bands that could set him up to reach his maximum potential.