Plenty has been written about Sharon Osbourne and what a detestable witch she is; here’s a few more sentences: Sharon Osbourne is the Devil. She is a corruptor of careers, poisoning every artist and all the art that she touches, manipulating and distorting their histories and legacies, and can only be described as Evil. This petty, vengeful shrew has made heroes into villains, stolen glory from the gifted, and turned her own husband into a clown. The amount of damage to the world of Hard Rock and Metal that this woman has done is epic, and in my eyes makes her the musical equivalent of Hitler or Stalin.
Thanks for letting me get that out of the way. Anyone who wants further detail about the exploits of the most hated woman in music since Yoko Ono should read Bob Daisley’s excellent book ‘For Fact’s Sake’, which focuses in incredible detail on the years he worked with the Osbournes. For now, I’m going to try to focus my lens on just one single bit of debris left in Sharon’s wake: Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Diary of a Madman’ LP. An amazing, important album, this record turned the tables on the Ozzy vs. Sabbath debate and set His Ozzness on a course to superstardom. But within this single album and its convoluted history lies enough evidence of her withering touch to condemn her for all eternity. Read on.
After Ozzy was fired from Black Sabbath in 1979, he (or rather, his handlers) formed a band. Randy Rhoads, Lee Kerslake, Bob Daisley and Ozzy himself all felt that it was a true ‘band’, not a solo project, and they named the band ‘Blizzard of Ozz’. They agreed that having ‘Ozz’ in the band’s name was concession enough to their high-profile lead singer. Even their label, Jet Records, produced promo material using the band name ‘Blizzard of Ozz’. On the band’s debut album, however, the title and logos present the album title as ‘Blizzard of Ozz’, and the artist’s name as ‘Ozzy Osbourne’. (In some territories, the album was released without ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ on the cover at all.) Right out of the gate Ozzy was being represented as a solo act, thus diminishing the contributions of the other band members. For their follow-up album, ‘Diary of a Madman’, the name ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ is nowhere to be found.
Here’s were things get really ugly. Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley were both fired from Ozzy’s band (by Sharon, not by Ozzy) soon after the recording sessions for ‘Diary’ were completed. The pair had done the unthinkable: question management. Months later, DoaM was released, with an inner sleeve that included a picture of Ozzy’s new ‘band,’ and what one would assume are performance credits, including ‘Rudy Sarzo – Bass’ and ‘Tommy Aldridge – Drums’. The script above the band pic is written in the Theban alphabet, and reads, ‘The Ozzy Osbourne Band’. Back in pre-internet 1981, it took a while for the truth to leak into the rock press, but eventually it was revealed that DoaM was recorded by the same line-up of musicians that recorded ‘Blizzard of Ozz’. Bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake are credited in the sleeve notes as songwriters, but not listed anywhere as contributing musicians… Johnny Cook, who played all of the keyboards on the album, is also uncredited.
(Side Note: Rudy Sarzo’s early career has always baffled me. He was in Quiet Riot with Randy Rhoads before DoaM, which explains how he got the Oz gig… But while his picture is on the cover of the second QR album, and he is credited in the notes with playing bass on the record, he didn’t. So the first two records Sarzo’s discography credit him as the bass player and feature his picture in the album art, but neither record features his actual bass playing. So the basis of this guy’s considerable reputation is his being credited with the bass tracks on two albums that he had nothing to do with? Awesome.)
And thus began the epic legal battles undertaken by Daisley and Kerslake. I won’t go into them all here; but I will mention that in 1986, Daisley & Kerslake settled one suit filed against Don Arden, owner of Jet Records, for unpaid royalties and proper accreditation for his work on DoaM. Oh, and did I mention that Don Arden is Sharon Arden’s father; Sharon Arden managed Ozzy’s band, and would become Sharon Osbourne in 1982. This twisted triangle set the stage for the dirty dealings detailed in Daisley’s book. So: if you’re Ozzy Osbourne, your wife is you manager, and your father in-law holds your recording contract. Your manager and your label are screwing your band, and you yourself are screwing your manager. What do you do? Nothing, because you’re Ozzy Osbourne, clueless idiot.
The years rolled on, and, despite their settlement with Arden, Daisley & Kerslake never saw any performance royalties from The Blizzard’s first two albums. Daisley continued to collaborate with Ozzy as a bassist, lyricist and songwriter through 1991’s ‘No More Tears’ album, although the unpaid royalties and performance credit issues resulting from his work on DoaM remained unresolved. The first two Blizzard records were re-mastered and re-released in 1995, almost a decade after their settlement with Arden. With new versions of these now-classic albums were hitting the stores, Daisley & Kerslake beleived that they would finally see themselves properly credited for their contributions to both albums… Nope. The credits on these new versions read “Drums – Tommy Aldridge” and “Bass – Rudy Sarzo”. Still no money; still no credit. Arden’s settlement had been a complete sham. The lie that had been perpetuated for a decade had been re-told to a new generation of rock fans.
Refusing to give up the fight to be credited and paid for his work, Daisley responded with more legal action. The bassist eventually became such a fly in Sharon’s ointment that she famously had the Blizzard’s first 2 albums deleted, and in 2002, reissued them with Daisley and Kerslake’s performances erased and replaced with new tracks played by Rob Trujillo and Mike Bordin. Daisley and Kerslake would no longer be able to claim performance royalties on this new version of the album. This move might very well be viewed as the biggest ‘Fuck You’ in the history of rock music. The notes on the back of these CDs, unattributed to anyone specific, say that the new tracks give the albums ‘a fresh sound’… Bullshit. Both players copy every note played on the original records exactly. Great pains were taken to capture the same sounds as those on the original versions. Good job, guys.
(Side Note: Mike Bordin? Fine drummer. Rob Trujillo? Fine bassist. I do question, however, their professional ethics. I’m sure they made a pretty penny recording these tracks, but I’ve no doubt they were aware of exactly what they were contributing to: the bastardization of a classic album, and their aiding and abetting of Mrs. Ozz in the ultimate insult to a fellow musician. Shitty.)
Ozzy has said that he had nothing to do with this decision, that it was all Sharon; Sharon has said that it was solely Ozzy’s decision. Based on the Ozzy we watched on the TV show ‘The Osbournes’, the most challenging decision Ozzy was capable of making in 2002 was which cereal to eat for breakfast, so I’m thinking that the decision to replace those tracks was Sharon’s. Ultimately, after several years of sleepless nights, wracked by guilt, a deeply ashamed Sharon Osbourne finally had Daisley and Kerslake’s tracks restored to DoaM, just in time for the record’s 30th anniversary. We can be sure that her decision had nothing at all to do with the years of vociferous fan backlash, abysmal press and weak sales figures that resulted from her bogus 2002 version… Well, at least this version would be another chance to get the credits right and restore this classic album to its proper form and standing. Just Kidding!!!
The 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition of ‘Diary of a Madman’ includes no performance credits at all for the DoaM album which comprises Disc One, not even for Ozzy and Randy’s contributions. The 2nd disc, which features a live show from 1981, is properly accredited to Ozzy, Randy Rhoads, Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge. These credits are placed in the CD booklet after the info for Disc Two, creating the impression that these four musicians were responsible for the music on both discs. Intentional? You betcha. It shouldn’t be a surprise at this point to learn that none of the pictures used to illustrate the booklet feature Daisley or Kerslake; in fact, in some instances, their likenesses have been awkwardly photoshopped out of some pics that are probably familiar to many fans.
The 30th Anniversary Boxed Set included both the ‘Blizzard’ and ‘Diary’ albums, and also came with a DVD called ‘Thirty Years After the Blizzard’. It purports to be a documentary on the making of the ‘Blizzard’ & ‘Diary’ albums, although, by avoiding any mention of Daisley and Kerslake, its presentation is skewed to say the least. It’s the Ozzy and Randy Show, and it paints a picture of two gifted musicians coming together and making magic. Ironic, because Ozzy himself has said that he had little input into these albums beyond contributing vocal melodies, as at the time of their recording, he was a complete mental and physical train wreck. While there is some classic RR footage to be found here, along with several touching moments featuring Ozzy reminiscing about working with Rhoads, leaving one half of the band/songwriters/performers (including the album’s primary lyricist) out of the picture does history a grave disservice.
‘Diary of a Madman’ has had 4 major releases on Compact Disc: 1987, 1995, 2002 & 2011. Only the bastardized 2002 version contains the proper performance accreditation. The casual fan would have no idea which version of this album they were buying from iTunes, because most mp3s don’t come with credits or liner notes attached. If you hear ‘I Don’t Know’ or Flying High Again’ on the radio today, do you know who you are listening to? DoaM has sold over three million copies since it’s release. Three million lies, told again and again, for over three decades. Don’t support Sharon Osbourne’s 30-year campaign of deceit. Find the vinyl version. The truth is out there.
The denial of credit to Daisley and Kerslake is nothing more than a game to this vicious, vengeful bitch, played for her own amusement at the expense of two excellent musicians and all fans of great music. And it’s a game she continues to play… The music world is currently watching this despicable cow destroying Black Sabbath from the inside out, by stabbing at its heart: drummer Bill Ward. There is ZERO doubt in my mind that this detestable hag is behind the curtain, pulling the strings to ensure that the original Sabbath will never play or record together ever again, because this time it was Ward who did the unthinkable: he asked to be fairly compensated for his contributions to one of the greatest bands of all time.