On February 22, 1986, Ozzy Osbourne's fourth studio album, "The Ultimate Sin", was released.
This album was released 3 years after the previous album "Bark At The Moon", the longest gap compared to Ozzy's first three albums, which were released between 1980 and 1983.
The reason for the long time it took to release the album, was mainly because Ozzy was not fit to work on a new album for a long time. His drinking problems worsened and culminated in entering the Betty Ford Rehabilitation Center, from which he was released in 1985. Ozzy said he was so stoned that he had no idea which institution he was in and that Sharon was able to persuade him to go there, only after she promised him that they will teach him how to drink like a gentleman there. It did not end there, because as soon as he entered the institution Ozzy asked the manager where is the bar.
While Ozzy was busy rehabilitating, the talented guitarist Jake E. Lee managed to write enough material for an entire album. But after what happened on the previous album ("Bark At The Moon"), he demanded that Ozzy will sign a contract protecting his rights, before he even share one note with him. This demand will lead to Jake E. Lee's dismissal. As well known, bassist Bob Daisley and guitarist Jake E. Lee wrote the vast majority of the material for the previous album, but in the end, they did not receive any credit for their work, when Ozzy Osbourne got all the writing credit. Moreover, the contract presented to them at the end of the recordings of "Bark At The Moon" was the opposite of what they were promised, this caused a great deal of resentment on the part of Daisley, who had experienced such behavior from Ozzy on the first two albums as well. Disagreements between Daisley and Ozzy eventually led to Daisley's dismissal, with Phil Soussan being brought in to replace him. Despite that, it did not stop Ozzy from re-inviting Daisley to return to the band and assist him in writing the lyrics for the reviewed album and surprisingly Daisley, once again, caved in and re-joined the band.
Jake and Daisley went into the studio with drummer Jimmy DeGrasso to record demos for the material they wrote, but this band did not survive in light of Ozzy's commitment to the "Black Sabbath" reunion show, as part of Live Aid. Eventually, Degerso and Daisley were replaced before the recordings by drummer Randy Castillo and bassist Phil Soussan, who even co-wrote the biggest hit from the album "Shot in the Dark".
This song was written by Phil Soussan, Ozzy Osbourne and Steve Oberland, who did not get credit for writing it. It's the only song on the album not written by Jake and Daisley. It was originally written years earlier for Soussan's previous band "Wildfire" and was performed in 2012 by Soussan with the band "FM". The title of the song refers to the 1963 film "The Pink Panther". Soussan who was a fan of "The Pink Panther" film series, originally wrote lyrics influenced by the film, but Ozzy changed them a bit to something a little darker. This song that ends the album has become one of Ozzy's big hits.
This album was originally supposed to be called "Killer of Giants" like the name of the song on the second side of the album, but Osborne changed it at the last minute to "The Ultimate Sin", after the album's opening song.
Those two mighty songs competed for the album title, are probably the best of it.
The theme song "The Ultimate Sin" opens with the drumming of Randy Castillo, whose rhythm reminds us of the opening of "Run To The Hills" by "Iron Maiden". The resemblance is so high, that every time we hear this opening we are sure that the guitars of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith are about to enter. But make no mistake, we are not at all disappointed by Jake E. Lee's heavy and catchy riff. What a beloved and amazing gifted guitarist who makes sure to pad the heavy and monotonous riff with intelligent guitar licks. These little ones like in the 3:07 to song and 3:16 of it just blow our minds over and over again and make us long for this great guitarist.
"Killer of Giants" is simply a tremendous masterpiece. The opening of the arpeggio with the reverb and the sudden transition to classical guitar with Ozzy's vocals is simply ingenious. What an amazing melody in Ozzy's singing, absolutely one of his best moment. The bridge before the chorus that begins with the words "Giants Sleeping" starting at 1:49 melts us down every time again. Written by him or not, gave credit or not, Ozzy is just a great singer worthy of all the superlatives!
But this album is definitely not just those three great songs we mentioned.
"Secret Loser" features a very catchy guitar riff and is one of the fastest and most beautiful songs on the album, with amazing chords that soak up a very strong atmosphere to Ozzy's emotional and melodic vocals. "Thank God For The Bomb" features a cheerful and cynical chorus influenced by the Cold War that took place during the recording of the album and manages to sweep us over and over again with its insane energies.
"Fool Like You" with the sound of the palm-muted strings in the intro, simply takes off starting from the bridge at 2:58 and continues to evolve with Jake's crazy solo and Castillo's beautiful drum passes. The first few seconds of "Lightning Strikes" remind us of the immortal riff of "Crazy Train" a bit, but we have absolutely no problem with that, just give us more of this amazing guitarist.
This album became Ozzy's most successful album to date, with sales of over a million copies in the US alone, within three months of its release. The album was also a success on the charts and immediately after its release the band went on a successful tour. After the tour, the band began working on the next album, but the tensions between Jake E. Lee and Ozzy Osbourne eventually led to his dismissal by Sharon Osborne via telegram, without any justification.
Due to his dismissal before the recording of the album, Bob Daisley, again, did not receive credit for his contribution in the first prints of the album, but this was corrected in the later prints, to prevent a lawsuit. Despite all that, Daisley will return to collaborate with Ozzy on the next album, as well as a young guitarist that replaces Jake - named Zakk Wylde.
Despite the album's success and the fact that it includes at least two of the greatest songs in his repertoire, Ozzy noted that it is his least favorite album from his solo career. Ozzy explained that he had no problem with the songs, but he thinks that the production, made by producer Ron Neusson, is not good enough. Ozzy pointed out that if there is one album of his that he wants to remix, it is "The Ultimate Sin".