Blizzard of Ozz/Diary of a Madman
30th anniversary collector’s edition
Epic/Legacy (88697 75147 2)
By Gillian G. Gaar
Even Ozzy Osbourne feared that his rock ’n’ roll ride might’ve come to an end when he was dismissed from Black Sabbath. But his first two solo albums kept him in the game and now are reissued in special anniversary editions.
The 2002 reissues of “Blizzard Of Ozz” and “Diary Of A Madman” replaced the parts of bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake with newly recorded parts by other musicians due to a legal dispute. The new reissues restore Daisley and Kerslake’s original work, and both albums have also been remastered, improving both the sound and performances in numerous ways; now the albums have the impact that they should. “Blizzard” also includes three bonus tracks, two of which were previously unreleased (one of which is a great, flashy guitar solo from Randy Rhoads). The single edition of “Madman” features no bonus tracks, but the two-disc Legacy Edition comes with a live CD drawn from the “Blizzard” tour, with the band performing before a clearly adoring crowd, Osbourne even throwing in a few Black Sabbath covers for the encore (“Iron Man,” “Children of The Grave,” “Paranoid”).
Rhoads’ classical influences give both the albums a unique flavor beyond Osbourne’s flamboyant antics, and the lyrics occasionally stray into unexpected territory (Blizzard’s “Revelation [Mother Earth]” can easily be read as a pro-environment song). Further insight is offered on the Collector’s Edition box, which comes with a DVD that has a documentary about the making of the two albums and how the controversies around Osbourne’s behavior (biting the heads off small animals, publicly urinating on the Alamo — while wearing a green evening dress) threatened to overshadow the music. Fans will enjoy a half hour of previously unseen footage shot at the band’s 1981 show at New York’s Palladium (it even amazes Osbourne, who’s seen watching it in the documentary). That alone might persuade fans to shell out for the collector’s set, which also includes CD and vinyl versions of both albums, a 100-page book, and a replica of the cross Osbourne wears.
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