When John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne was effectively fired from Black Sabbath in 1979, I don’t think anyone (except the “Prince of Darkness” himself) knew what would become of an Ozzy solo career. In 1980 he released his first record, Blizzard of Ozz, and there was, in fact, something to pay attention to, here. He had found a young guitar player by the name of Randy Rhodes (Quiet Riot), who played in classic fashion but with uncommon precision and style. “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley,” the two singles from the album, give the listener a clear view of both, Ozzy’s future and the talent of the young guitarist.
On November 7, 1981 the greatest Ozzy record (IMO) was unleashed onto the world, Diary of a Madman (Jet); and it was a clear and powerful sign that there would be no containing this madman, later to be called, The Godfather of Heavy Metal! The two singles, “Flying High Again” and “Over the Mountain” give an immediate glimpse of Ozzy’s Genius and the evolution of that young guitarist, Randy Rhodes. The production of the entire record is thick, in a good way! It helps to portray the power of this duo as they were getting wound up to revolutionize the metal world. But it is the title track, “Diary of a Madman” which casted Ozzy’s vision the clearest, I think; with the incorporation of a choir and keyboards, this track is huge when speaking to what was to come – Dark and Eerie.
Unfortunately, it would not be the duo of Ozzy and Randy that would conquer the world. Ozzy would have to foster another relationship when Randy Rhodes was tragically killed (1982) in a plane crash while on tour with Osbourne in Florida. Three Ozzy guitarists would follow, Brad Gillis [Night Ranger] (1982), Jake E. Lee (1982-87) and Zakk Wylde (1987-present). But for this masterpiece entitled, Diary of a Madman, its Ozzy (vocals, obviously), Randy Rhodes (guitars), Bob Daisley (bass), Lee Kerslake (drums) – though neither of the last two are credited anywhere but the original release. Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot; Whitesnake) soon took over bass and Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake; Ted Nuggent; Thin Lizzy) the drums for the American tour to support the album.
Ozzy has had MANY great songs during his career, but the ONE great record is Diary of a Madman – Triple Platinum in the US!
I got to see Ozzy in 2018 in Bristow, Va. His stage presence, along with Zakk Wilde’s, is the best I’ve seen. Of the “big bands,” this was definitely one of the best shows!
Favorite Songs: Flying High Again, Over the Mountain, S.A.T.O., Diary of a Madman
Rating: A Masterpiece 10/10!!