Legacy of a Madman

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.

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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.

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(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.

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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.

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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.

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‘Snakebitten

Rainbow, Gillan, and Whitesnake: three bands that filled the void between Deep Purple’s 1976 break-up and the Mk II reunion in 1984. All achieved great success in the UK and Europe, with charting albums & singles, Gold records, TV appearances, etc. However, while Gillan (the band) never made any serious waves on this side of the pond, Rainbow and Whitesnake did. Blackmore and Co. did it the old fashioned way: touring America incessantly in the late 70’s, and later retooling their sound for FM radio. The story of Whitesnake’s road to fame and fortune in the US is a tragic one. If handled differently, Whitesnake could have been another Bad Company, maybe even an Aerosmith. But sadly, this was not to be. In an effort to break into the lucrative American market, Whitesnake dove headlong into the empty glitz and glam of the of the MTv era. When the dust settled, we’d lost another fine band in the great Hair Metal Wars of the 1980’s.

Whitesnake had evolved out of the post-Purple career of David Coverdale, who, after 2 solo albums, decided to make a go of it with a proper band. ‘David Coverdale’s Whitesnake’ debuted with the ‘Snakebite’ E.P. in 1978, and by their third album, had absorbed former Purps Ian Paice and Jon Lord into their ranks. Alas, almost five years/albums into their career, despite major success in Britain, a breakthrough in the States continued to elude a band that was three fifths Deep Purple Mk III. Guitarist Mickey Moody, frustrated that a band with several Gold records could be 20,000 pounds in debt, quit the band near the end of sessions for Whitesnake’s fifth lp ‘Saints an’ Sinners’. The Coverdale/Marsden/Moody triumvirate was no more.

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David Coverdale knew some major changes needed to be made if the band were to break outside of the UK. The singer abruptly called a halt to the recording sessions and put the band ‘on hold’ in an effort to cut ties with manager John Coletta. During this enforced hiatus, guitarist Bernie Marsden left the band, as did the rhythm section of Niel Murray and Ian Paice. David Coverdale and Jon Lord were the last ‘Snakes standing…

So ‘Saints an’ Sinners’ sat unfinished for most of 1982. By the end of the year, Coverdale was managing Whitesnake himself, and had rebuilt the band from scratch. The new ‘Snake was comprised of bassist Colin Hodgkinson, ex-Trapeze guitarist Mel Galley, and Cozy Powell. Not exactly blooz-rawk legends… Recognizing this, Coverdale invited Micky Moody and his down-and-dirty slide guitar back to the band. Moody accepted.

As it turned out, all the unfinished ‘Saints…’ album needed was backing vocals, so Moody and Galley contributed vox and the sessions were wrapped. (Some believe the album was actually finished, with Coverdale holding the completed record hostage during his efforts to separate the band from Coletta.) ‘Saints an’ Sinners’, recorded by a version of Whitesnake that no longer existed, hit #9 in the UK. The record, um, missed thd charts completely; this latest failure of Whitesnake to crack the American market infuriated the band’s new manager…

Just before starting work on album #6, Coverdale scored a major record label upgrade, moving the band in the US from Atlantic to Geffen. The band began recording a new album in earnest. If anyone could guide Whitesnake to their US breakthrough, it was proven starmaker David Geffen. Geffen often acted as career advisor to the artists on his label, with outstanding results. What would this new high-powered ally advise Whtesnake’s new management?

Mickey Moody, back in the band he helped found, felt like a stranger in a strange land. Throughout the recording, Moody sensed his time was short. While on tour with Thin Lizzy in 1983, Coverdale struck up a ‘friendship’ with guitarist John Sykes, while Moody’s own friendship with the vocalist had all but evaporated. After a backstage incident between Moody, Coverdale and Sykes, Mickey decided to once again quit the band. He called a meeting to make his announcement, which everyone in the band attended… except singer/manager David Coverdale. John Sykes, available after the demise of Thin Lizzy, was immediately announced as his replacement. Imagine that.

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After ‘Slide it In’ was completed, David Geffen continued to work his magic behind the scenes. Geffen demanded the record be remixed for the US market. He also demanded that new guitarist John Sykes overdub guitars, and that Hodgkinson’s bass be re-recorded by ex-member Niel Murray. The resultant album is not really much different, with all of Moody and Galley’s work intact; Sykes’ more 80’s guitar tone is apparent but not obtrusive (though Murray’s new bass tracks were a vast improvement over Hodgkinson’s). The real difference would be in how the album looked on TV.

Both promotional videos for the ‘Slide’ album featured only Coverdale, Sykes, Murray and Powell (oh– and bimbos; lots of bimbos). Jon Lord had left to take part in Deep Purple’s Mk II reunion; Mel Galley had injured his arm and would never fully recover, forcing him to leave the band. New boy Sykes was now the band’s sole guitarist. Once again, the band people would experience would be vastly different than the one that wrote and recorded the music they were hearing. And so we see John Sykes pretending to play Micky Moody’s classic slide guitar parts, as well as Mel Galley’s solo on ‘Slow and Easy’ (Moody’s slide solo was edited out of the video). Sykes looks positively dreamy aping Galley’s solo in ‘Love Ain’t no Stranger’. And from the looks of the video, no one was playing the keybords.

Whitesnake’s new front line looked great in the videos, if you liked hair… and apparently America did. ‘Slide’ reached the American Top 40, a feat that no Whitesnake album before it had achieved. How? What was the difference between ‘Slide it In’ and all previous Whitesnake albums? Presentation. David Geffen knew what was coming. He knew that what music looked like would be just as important as what it sounded like to rock fans in the age of MTv. And let’s face it, Micky Moody, with his ever-present stovepipe hat and questionable facial hair, was hardly a match for the flowing locks and heroic posing of John Sykes. Geffen helped revamp Whitesnake for the MTv generation, and it worked. ‘Side it In’ went Gold in America, and Whitesnake had planted one foot firmly on the road to Hair Metal. David Geffen’s impact and influence on Whitesnake was undeniable, and after the success of ‘Slide’ he urged the band to ‘start taking America seriously’. Uh-oh.

It took Coverdale and Co. took more than three years to complete a follow up to ‘Slide’, mostly becasuse, as a band, Whitesnake was a mess. Cozy Powell quit after the last date on the ‘Slide’ tour, and was replaced by Aisnley Dunbar.
The Coverdale/Sykes writing partnership yielded two hits in ‘Still of the Night’ and ‘Is This Love’… but not much else. Unimpressed with bulk of the writing, producers Mike Stone and Lieth Olsen suggested re-recording earlier Whitesnake UK hit singles ‘Here I Go Again’, and ‘Crying in the Rain’. Then Coverdale developed a serious sinus infection, forcing the band into another extended hiatus. Sykes actually urged the band to replace Coverdale (!!!), which led to his firing by the band’s manage(Coverdale!)ment. Adrian Vandenberg was hired to replace Sykes. This was no longer a band, it was a goddamn soap opera.

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By the time the ‘Whitesnake’ album was released, Coverdale had rebuilt Whitesnake yet again, with Tommy Aldridge, Vivian Campbell, Rudy Sarzo (oh, for Christ’s sake!) and the aforementioned Vandenberg. What is this– Rainbow??. Nobody in this line up (except Covs) wrote or recorded any of the music they were fronting. And how ironic seeing Adrian Vandenberg ‘play’ John Sykes’ guitar parts in the videos for ‘Still of the Night’ and ‘Is This Love’… Somewhere, Micky Moody was smiling.

The ‘Whitesnake’ album defied all logic and was a smash hit everywhere. Riding high on the the Hair Metal wave, it charted higher in the US than in the UK, eventually selling 8 million copies, and pulled it’s predecessor from Gold to Double Platinum status. And the most important factor in this album’s success was not even a musician: Tawny Kitaen, Queen of the Video Bimbos. You know it’s true.

The transformation was complete: from a solid band of bluesy hard rockers to glam metal fops in just three albums. Whitesnake had reached its goal of conquering America. But mega success like this does not come without a price. Whitesnake’s road to success in America was littered with bitter ex-members, covert machinations and ridiculous videos. A once-great band had sold out and become a revolving door of hired hands with big names, big hair, but no soul. There would be one more Whitesnake record (featuring Steve Vai on guitar… the polar opposite of Micky Moody; look it up) before Coverdale folded the band ‘for good’. Some consider this to be the wisest management decision David Coverdale ever made.