Why Ozzy Osbourne re-recorded two of his biggest albums

After a tumultuous end to his time in Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne looked to right the ship with a new backing band. The Blizzard of Ozz, as the band was first named and conceived, would later become the name of Osbourne’s first solo album with the lineup, Blizzard of Ozz. Still, the membership remained the same: guitarist Randy Rhodes, bassist Bob Daisley, and drummer Lee Kerslake, along with keyboardist Don Airey.

That was the lineup that remained with Osbourne for his follow-up, 1981’s Diary of a Madman, minus Airey, who had joined Rainbow as a touring musician. Since Kerslake was a late addition to the Blizzard of Ozz lineup, almost all the songwriting credits on that album go to Osbourne, Rhodes, and Daisley. When Diary of a Madman was first released, Daisley and Kerslake were fully excluded from both songwriting and performing credits. According to Daisley, the situation for the band changed immediately once Osbourne began to be represented by Sharon Arden.

“It was only when Sharon (Osbourne) came in that we had a problem,” Kerslake claimed in 2014. “When she started managing—taking over—she wasn’t the manager until Diary of a Madman. Before that was her brother, David. He didn’t really want to handle it. He had too much to do for Don (Arden) in the office. So she came in, and it started to get edgy. But we never suspected a thing until we went away on holiday. Next minute, they’re rehearsing with Tommy Aldridge and Rudy Sarzo and going to America.”

Once Arden took over, Daisley and Kerslake were replaced by Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge, respectively. It was Sarzo and Aldridge who received playing credits on Diary of a Madman, even though neither appeared on the album. Both Daisley and Kerslake had been irked that Osbourne received solo credit for Blizzard of Ozz, so as the recording for Diary of a Madman came to an end, they were given the boot.

“When the album was released, the words ‘Ozzy Osbourne’ were in bigger print than ‘The Blizzard of Ozz’, which made it look like an Ozzy Osbourne album called The Blizzard of Ozz,” Daisley explained in 2013. “Randy [Rhoads] was never one to rock the boat. He knew he was in a situation which was a good opportunity for him being relatively unknown, so when Lee [Kerslake] and I were ousted, Randy had no allies, and the act became ‘Ozzy Osbourne’ and no longer a band.”

The sacking of Daisley and Kerslake nearly led to Rhodes quitting as well, but Kerslake talked him out of it. “He didn’t want to go [on tour with Osbourne],” Kerslake told Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles in 2011. “We told him we were thrown out. He said he was going to leave the band as he did not want to leave us behind. I told him not to be stupid, but thanks for the sentiment.”

In 1986, Daisley and Kerslake sued Osbourne for unpaid royalties from their time in the band. The pair won restored songwriting credits on Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman but failed to receive proper performing credits on the latter. When the two albums were being prepared for re-issue in 2002, the Osbournes made the decision to re-record the albums with members of Osbourne’s then-current backing band, Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin and future Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo.

The original contributions from Osbourne, Rhodes, and Airey were left intact, but Daisley and Kerslake’s parts were removed out of spite. “Because of [Daisley and Kerslake’s] abusive and unjust behaviour, Ozzy wanted to remove them from these recordings,” Sharon Osbourne attempted to justify in a press release for the re-issued albums. “We turned a negative into a positive by adding a fresh sound to the original albums.”

In his autobiography I Am Ozzy, Osbourne contradicts this claim and insists that Sharon was the responsible party for erasing and re-recording the instrumentals. In any case, fan reaction to the re-recorded material was highly negative. Additional newly recorded backing vocals from singers Mark Lennon and John Shanks added to the controversy, with most re-issue copies failing to notify buyers of the changed backing tracks. When the albums were being prepared for another re-issue in 2011, the original tracks recorded by Daisley and Kerslake were restored.

Check out ‘Crazy Train’ down below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *