23 Years Ago: Ozzy Osbourne Releases Comeback Album ‘Ozzmosis’
Today no one really takes rock and roll retirement seriously, but when Ozzy Osbourne announced his 1991 album No More Tears was going to be his swan song fans took it to heart, especially since the tour that followed was called No More Tours. But Ozzy soon realized that being back home was far less fun than being on the road and playing for adoring audiences was far preferable to watching the History Channel for hours on end. So Osbourne put a new band together and on Oct. 24, 1995 he released his seventh studio album, Ozzmosis, which put him right back at the top of the metal hierarchy four years after he announced his initial retirement.
It was as if he had never left. Ozzmosis followed the 1993 concert album Live & Loud and all sorts or reports about Ozzy working with guitarist Steve Vai and bassist Bob Daisley. An album never materialized, but Vai is credited with songwriting on the Ozzmosis song “My Little Man.” Backing Osbourne on the album were Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, guitarist Zakk Wylde, drummer Deen Castronovo and Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman.
The offbeat lineup didn’t have much of an effect on the record, which sounded like a more sonically pristine, but natural extension of the type of melodic hard rock/metal songwriting on 1988’s No Rest for the Wicked and No More Tears. In additional to Vai, Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister co-wrote “See You on the Other Side” with Zakk Wylde and Butler and Wylde contributed to “My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide.” Mark Hudson, Steve Dudas, Jim Vallance, John Purdell and Duane Baron also wrote for Ozzmosis.
Osbourne and his bandmates recorded the album with producer Michael Beinhorn at three locations: Guillaume Tell Studios in Paris, France, Electric Lady Studios in New York City and Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, N.Y.
The sessions were professional and productive, yielding the B-sides “Whole World’s Fallin’ Down” and “Aimee.” Musically, Osbourne followed the formula he had effectively pursued since his 1980 solo debut Blizzard of Ozz. There were raging rockers (“Thunder Underground” and “My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide”), fist-raising anthems (“Ghost Behind My Eyes,” “Perry Mason”) and teary ballads (“See You on the Other side,” “I Just Want You.”). For some, Ozzmosis was too predictable and overly polished. Others were fine with the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach Osbourne took for the record.
The commercial songwriting and production certainly didn’t hurt sales; Ozzmosis debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The album didn’t blow up and fade away. By the end of 1995 it was certified platinum by the RIAA and in April 1999 the album went double platinum.
Osbourne supported Ozzmosis with the Retirement Sucks tour, which featured guitarist Joe Holmes, who was hired when it looked like Wylde was going to join Guns N’ Roses, bassist Robert Trujillo and Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin.
Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.
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