Diary Of A Madman

Ozzy Osbourne

Jet Records, 1981


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Ozzy Osbourne has possibly gotten one of the worst reputations in the music industry, even if a lot of it was his own doing. But there's one thing that all the stories, public relations nightmares and whatnot can't take away from the man: his genius often shows its face in his music.

Take Diary Of A Madman, Osbourne's 1981 release. If people thought Osbourne was washed up following his dismissal from Black Sabbath, his solo debut Blizzard Of Ozz marked a shaky return to the limelight for Osbourne, despite the solid power of some songs and a bolt of electricity in the form of guitarist Randy Rhoads. Diary Of A Madman took all the lessons learned from Osbourne's first solo outing and, with only one mistake, turned out quite possibly Osbourne's most solid solo effort of his career.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Featuring two new band members (bassist Rudy Sarzo - who later went on to Quiet Riot - and drummer Tommy Aldridge) and a much better production job, Osbourne is clearly at the top of his game on this disc - and lets the listener know he's pulling no punches from the start with "Over The Mountain". While this one might not be one of Osbourne's best-known tracks, it set the standard for this album - namely, that mediocrity would not be tolerated.

Well, that isn't totally true - only one song, "S.A.T.O.," doesn't live up to the high expectations that Osbourne and his band created on Diary Of A Madman. This particular track just doesn't seem to come together from the start, with a meandering rhythm part and vocals that don't seem to quite match the feel of this track. But it's the only half-baked concept on the entire record, marking a major improvement for Osbourne.

The rest of Diary Of A Madman, simply put, is a masterpiece. You've got the all-out rocker "Flying High Again," featuring a solo from Rhoads which tops even the barn-burner he laid down for "Crazy Train" - remarkable! You've got the two ballads "You Can't Kill Rock And Roll" and "Tonight" which show just how much power Osbourne and crew could have when the intensity was turned down a notch or two. (Osbourne seems to have a knack for these kinds of songs - witness "So Tired" from Bark At The Moon or "Mama, I'm Coming Home" from No More Tears - all of them absolute wonders.)

Even the lesser-known tracks, such as "Believer," "Little Dolls" and the title track are powerful examples of how good this band could be - never mind the fact that the music was written by the previous incarnation of Osbourne's band. Osbourne had finally gotten a group that had turned into something magical - albeit transitory, as Rhoads would be killed in a tragic airplane mishap in 1982.

If anything, Diary Of A Madman stands not only as a testimonial of Rhoads's guitar mastery, but to the rebirth of Osbourne as a singer, songwriter and band leader. Although he's created some other wonderful songs in the nearly 20 years since this record was released, quite possibly Osbourne reached his creative peak with Diary Of A Madman.

Rating: A-

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Jet Records, and is used for informational purposes only.