Ozzy Osbourne's third studio album "Bark At The Moon", was released on November 15, 1983.
The story of this album begins with what was probably Ozzy Osbourne's biggest low point, and we're not talking about a musical one.
Ozzy Osbourne's drinking and drug problems were at their peak, and these not only affected his functioning as an artist, but also led to a sequence of unusual events that put him in a negative light in the media, all within two months. On January 20, 1982, Ozzy bites a bat during a performance and is forced to receive a series of shots against rabies. He later collapsed during a performance on stage, and a month later, on February 19 he was arrested for urinating at the Alamo Memorial in Texas and if that wasn't enough, then he was even spotted sniffing a long line of working ants. But the biggest blow of all landed on Ozzy on March 19, 1982, with the news that the talented guitarist, who was also his co-writer on his first two albums - Randy Rhoads, died in a plane crash. For more details about that horrific accident, click and read the end of our review for the album "Diary of a Madman".
But Ozzy is Ozzy, right? He managed to get out of what seemed like his biggest low point and land on his feet like a cat with nine lives. Just two weeks after Randy Rhodes' death, Ozzy Osbourne hires the services of guitarist Bernie Tormé, who previously played with Ian Gillan, and returns to the stage to complete the tour to promote the album "Diary of a Madman". He does not stop there and immediately afterward records the live album "Speak of the Devil" which focuses on songs by the mother band "Black Sabbath", while in the process he replaces his backing players like socks, in an attempt to reach a winning lineup with which he will record his next album.
This line-up got locked up during the tour with Bob Daisley returning to play bass, the formidable Tommy Aldridge on drums, and of course Don Airey on keyboards. But as we know Ozzy's "X-Men" must be a high-class guitarist, charismatic, virtuoso, one who will push the whole band forward, one who can step into Randy Rhoads' big shoes of Tony Iommi's heavy cowboy boots, before him. The one who was chosen after a careful selection to fill this important role was eventually Jake E. Lee who played in one of the first lineups of "Ratt" and later in "Rough Cutt", and which rumor has it that his name was even considered at one point as a second guitarist in "Motley Crue" at their early days.
The idea was to return to "Ridge Farm Studios" in England in an attempt to recreate the magic that existed on the first two albums. The problem was that this time Ozzy Osbourne was completely out and could not contribute to the writing process, so those who took the reins were mainly bassist Bob Daisley, who also wrote most of the lyrics for the album, and the excellent new acquisition - guitarist Jake E. Lee. Rumor has it that Daisley received between £ 50,000 and £ 60,000 from Sharon Osborne just to write the material for the album. The two worked for hours in and out of the studio writing most of the album material, with Ozzy Osbourne occasionally showing up in the studio stoned, adding and correcting the materials the two wrote.
Although as mentioned the vast majority of the material was written by Daisley and Jake E. Lee., They ended up not getting credit for it, when on the album it was written that all the songs were written by Ozzy Osbourne. Some say the two were even forced at the end of the recordings to sign a contract in which they waive their credit. This conduct of Ozzy and especially Sharon Osborne, is also well known to us from the first two albums of the Prince of Darkness, in which no credit was given to the real writers, leading to a point that Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake (the previous drummer), filed a lawsuit against Ozzy in 1986 for not paying them royalties for their part in writing the songs on his first two albums. As we told you at the time in a review of the album Blizzard Of Ozz, in response to the lawsuit, Ozzy re-recorded all the bass and drum roles on these albums, along with drummer Mike Bordin from "Faith No More" and bassist Robert Trujillo.
But let's not let this story obscure the real treasure that exists on this amazing album.
It opens up with the theme song "Bark at the Moon" featuring one of the most amazing riffs in heavy metal, not to mention not one, but two crazy solos by Jake E. Lee. The song tells the story of a werewolf who returns from the world of the dead to take revenge. Ozzy noted that the title of the song came from a joke he used to provide and her punchline was "eat shit and bark at the moon". Ozzy provided the title to Jake E. Lee and Bob Daisley, who simply wrote the song based on the title. It was the first song written for the album and is also one of the greatest songs from the Prince of Darkness, in his entire glorious career. And it is impossible to talk about this song without mentioning the amazing clip in which Ozzy changes shape with heavy makeup and becomes a werewolf. Ozzy claims it took 8 hours to prepare him for the clip. Please note that this clip was preceded by a month the iconic Michael Jackson clip for "Thriller" in which similar heavy makeup was used on Michael Jackson.
Still, at a faster pace relative to the album, we have the “Center Of Eternity” that opens up the other side of the vinyl which is in our opinion also one of the best songs on the album and Ozzy Osbourne’s most beautiful. The song opens slowly with a scary and creepy bell ringing in the style of "Black Sabbath" and continues with the ecclesiastical choir evolving to the dark sounds of Don Airey's synthesizer. This opening track of the song has been dubbed "Forever" at the European album version, but is undoubtedly an integral part of the song that just explodes in 1:15 minute with Jake E. Lee's bouncing riff and the "speed drug" Ozzy Osbourne's singing, that seem to chase after Jake's riffs during the verses. Listen how beautifully Ozzy Osbourne's voice blends during the chorus with Don Airey's keyboards in a sweeping melody. And you must not, but you must not miss Jake E. Lee's solo in this song. Jump right into the bridge part that starts at 2:49 to get into the atmosphere and go through with us in the hallway that leads straight to this psychic solo that is simply a school for guitarists.
The third and fourth tracks on the album "Now You See It (Now You Don't)" and "Rock 'n' Roll Rebel" move at a mid-pace relatively to the album's average RPM, with a clear lead of Jake E. Lee's riffs. The first of which was written by Bob Daisley as revenge against Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, for their attitude towards him and especially in the subject of song credits. He was even surprised that Ozzy and Sharon did not notice this and included the song on the album.
Still staying more or less at the same rhythm with "Waiting for Darkness" and with the catchy and monotonous guitar-keyboard line, without a doubt one of the most beautiful and special songs on the album.
The album also features two ballads that prove that even the Prince of Darkness sometimes knows how to slow down, light a candle and be a little romantic. Already in the second track, we meet "You're No Different" an exciting song full of "eighties" keyboards with a melodic and sweet melody that slowly intensifies and develops until the end with Jake E. Lee's solo leading us to the song's Fade Out. And make sure not to miss the special and uncharacteristic of metal bass playing of Daisley in this song. Similarly, the second track on the other side of the vinyl "So Tired", is a charming and melancholy ballad with a production that includes strings arrangements, conducted by Louis Clark. It reminds us at times of things that the "ELO" did very successfully in a completely different genre.
Here it is worth noting that there are differences between the European and American versions of the album, with the American version having the song "Slow Down", one of the weakest on the album that sounds like a filler, while the European version includes "Spiders" that seals the album. The album's reissues included the two songs and another bonus track - "One Up the 'B' Side", which was the b-side of the single "Bark at the Moon".
The story of this album ends as it began, with the entanglement of Ozzy Osbourne. In the year of the album's release, a 20-year-old Canadian man claimed that the song "Bark At The Moon" caused him to murder a woman and her two children. A year later, the parents of a 19-year-old boy in the United States sued Ozzy over the fact that the song "Suicide Solution" from his first album caused their son to commit suicide. The well-publicized lawsuit against him was dismissed.