Ozzy Osbourne box set due May 31
By Eric Pedersen, Reuters March 18, 2011
LOS ANGELES — Note to the legions of folks who only know Ozzy Osbourne as the doddering, semi-coherent reality TV patriarch: The guy made some pretty good records.
Epic/Legacy has set a release date for “definitive versions” of Osbourne’s first two solo albums, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the former’s U.S. release. On May 31, the remastered sets will be available individually on CD and LP or as a box set.
The box compiles the vinyl and CD versions of both albums; a CD called “Ozzy Live” culled from unreleased concert material recorded during the Blizzard tour; a 100-page coffee table book; a wall poster; a full-size replica of Osbourne’s signature gold cross; and a DVD titled Thirty Years After the Blizzard that features interviews, archival film and a half-hour of never-bootlegged live footage shot at the Palladium in New York in May 1981.
The albums, the singer’s first after his decade fronting Black Sabbath, made a star of guitarist Randy Rhoads. Having joined Osbourne’s band after leaving Quiet Riot, which he co-founded, Rhoads’ bracing riffs and freewheeling, classical-tinged solos became a blueprint for ‘80s metal, helping set the stage for the genre’s explosion in popularity.
“Blizzard” and “Diary” would be his only studio output with Osbourne; Rhoads was killed in March 1982, when the plane in which he was a passenger crashed after the pilot attempted to buzz the band’s tour bus.
Blizzard of Ozz was released stateside March 27, 1981, six months after its U.K. bow. The album sold well but never cracked the Billboard Top 20. It was an instant hit on rock radio, spawning such eventual classic rock staples as Crazy Train and I Don’t Know. The set has sold more than 4 million units in the U.S.
The rhythm section on the original album, bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake, sued in 1986 over unpaid royalties. Their tracks were deleted from the 2002 reissue of Blizzard and replaced by new work by bassist Robert Trujillo, who joined Metallica the following year, and drummer Mike Bordin.
The “0th Anniversary Expanded Edition features Daisley and Kerslake’s original playing and three previously unreleased bonus tracks.
“Diary of a Madman” debuted just seven months after “Blizzard’s” U.S. bow. It reached No. 16 on the Billboard and is certified triple-platinum. The album produced the FM favorites “Flying High Again” and “Over the Mountain.” The new “Legacy Edition” of the disc will include the Ozzy Live CD.
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