Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Covet Corner: The Black Sabbath/Ozzy Collection

Welcome to part 2 of the 5-part blog series Covet Corner. I'm your envious host, The Vintage Warrior.

Behold the next set of vintage material that you may covet: My Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne vinyl collection.

Yes, there are a couple glaring emissions here. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage and Never Say Die! by Black Sabbath have always eluded me on vinyl for a decent price. Sure, I have them all on CD...but we all know that's just not the same.

Black Sabbath's first album is a classic. With elements of blues, rock and the building blocks of what eventually became "heavy metal," Black Sabbath featured long, terrifying songs about going to hell and dealing with wizards. My favorite track off the album is the blues-infused "Wicked World." Feel free to enjoy it along with me.

from Black Sabbath (1970)

Paranoid is the album most people know, due to the songs "Paranoid," "Iron Man" and "War Pigs." Its a shame that too many people out there think these three songs are the extent of what Black Sabbath had to offer. Obviously the previously mentioned songs are good, so I'm not going to bother posting them. But here's a ditty that you probably haven't heard nearly as much (well, maybe you have):

from Paranoid (1970)

Master of Reality was basically Black Sabbath's ode to drugs, particularly marijuana ("Sweet Leaf") and other forms of debauchery. Its no secret that the entire band suffered from substance abuse for pretty much the entire time Ozzy was in the band, but these were the early days so their youthful energy balanced out the death-ride and great albums were produced. Master of Reality is one of them. One of my favorite songs from the album is "Children of the Grave." It's basically the greatest metal song EVER recorded. I dare you to challenge me on that!

originally from Master of Reality. (1971)

Ahhhh...Vol. 4. Not only was this the very first Black Sabbath album I owned on vinyl, it was also one of the very first vinyl albums I ever owned. I remember finding it at a vintage/thrift store in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Its an album I regrettably have nearly worn out and hope to replace at some point. But in the meantime, enjoy one of Black Sabbath's more "heavy psychedelic" songs, "Wheels of Confusion." (I was tempted to post the cocaine-loving "Snowblind," but I can't help but liking this song more)

from Vol. 4 (1972)

Unfortunately, this is where my collection hits a gap. However, Technical Ecstasy is an excellent album and is one that I listen to often. I remember not liking it back in the day because it didn't sound like the doom-metal of their first four albums, nor did it rock the same way that Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage did. Its an album that has grown on me over time. I really dig the new direction the band was trying to go in, and its a shame that this is when things really started to go south between Ozzy and Sabbath (Tony Iommi). 

I have many favorite songs from this album. Their most famous is probably "Dirty Women." Here's one that rocks even more:

from Technical Ecstasy. (1976)

For the moment, that's it for the Ozzy Osbourne-era of Black Sabbath records I have. That one odd-ball album you see in the collage-pic is a collection of songs from Black Sabbath and Paranoid. Since my copy of Black Sabbath is a little bit rough, I usually grab this Attention! album to listen to in its place.

I have no idea when this was released. But that is one awesome cover.

 Ronnie James Dio was Ozzy Osbourne's official replacement in Black Sabbath, and his completely different style of singing gave Black Sabbath a much-needed shot in the arm. Dio's boisterous and angry vocals on Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules were in extreme contrast to Ozzy's style, and Black Sabbath as a band had to adjust to that. Hands down, one of the greatest Black Sabbath songs ever is "Heaven and Hell" from  Heaven and Hell, and Mob Rules has its classics as well. Unfortunately, tensions between Dio and Tony Iommi arose (of course), and Dio went on to an excellent solo career of his own. Below you'll hear my favorite tracks from Black Sabbath's Dio-era. I hope you enjoy the change!

from Heaven and Hell. (1980)

from Mob Rules. (1981)

One of Black Sabbath's last stabs at greatness before delving into mediocrity was Born Again, with the former lead singer of Deep Purple (Ian Gillian) on board to belt out the jams. This album wasn't a huge hit, but it did have some classics such as "Zero the Hero." Ian Gillian only did this one album with Black Sabbath, but it definitely has its place in the hearts of many Black Sabbath fans. "Zero the Hero" is awesome, but nothing on this album touches "Disturbing the Priest."

from Born Again. (1983)

And that's it for my Black Sabbath collection! Oh, wait...yeah...I do have that shitty Seventh Star album. It's not really a Black Sabbath album. It was meant to be a Tony Iommi solo album but the record label insisted on releasing it as Black Sabbath. It is HORRIBLE. AWFUL. With Glenn Hughes on vocals, this was some of the worst music the 1980's ever produced. The only reason I'm posting the "hit single" from the album is so you can hear how bad it actually was.

from Seventh Star. (1986)

Ok, lets cleanse our palates from that awful Seventh Star crap and get on to the OZZY!!!

Clearly, I don't have as many Ozzy albums as I do Black Sabbath ones, but the Ozzy albums I do have are all essential. Ozzy's first solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, is perhaps his most famous due to "Crazy Train" being his hit single. "Crazy Train" is indeed one of Ozzy's best songs, but I'd like to give you a taste of something else.

from Blizzard of Ozz. (1980)

Diary of a Madman is another great Ozzy Osbourne album. Randy Rhodes was still alive and kicking ass on the ax, and Ozzy was in top form. The great thing about Ozzy's early solo career was that not only was Black Sabbath re-energized from Ozzy's dismissal, but Ozzy himself was re-energized. It's clearly evident on theose first two Ozzy Osbourne albums. Many would argue it was due to his friendship with Randy Rhodes, and I don't think they were wrong.

from Diary of a Madman. (1981)

No Ozzy Osbourne collection is complete without Bark at the Moon. Sadly, Randy Rhodes had met his end via plane crash before this album was recorded, but that didn't stop Ozzy from recording a mediocre album! Honestly, I don't really like this album for some reason. It's got a lot of '80's cheese on it. The best track is the title track. Enjoy the music video for it below, it's a classic!

originally from Bark at the Moon. (1983)

The last album I have to present to your envious nature is Ozzy Osbourne's live album, Speak of the Devil. It's fully comprised of Ozzy-era Black Sabbath songs, and was meant as a dig at Black Sabbath for releasing Live Evil with Ronnie James Dio singing a lot of the old Ozzy songs. Band politics aside, this is not only a great collection of Black Sabbath songs performed by the Ozzy Osbourne band, but it's also one hell of a live recording. It sounds amazing on vinyl! You almost feel like you were at the concert. I love it.

from Speak of the Devil. (1982)

I hope you enjoyed this week's edition of Covet Corner. Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne don't need any more press of course, but that's not going to stop you from wishing you had a few of the records I do.

Join me next week when I take a break from the vinyl records and will show you a comic book collectible or two.

Until then, stay envious my friends.


  1. There was a lot to enjoy in this post. Where to begin?

    -Those first 3 albums, all produced by Rodger Bain (for Tony Hall Enterprises), are so simple yet so memorable in their sound and style. They have such a uniform vibe to them, they could have been one triple album. It is noticeable that subtly, with each release, their music was progressing.

    -Those next 3 albums (Vol. 4, Sabbbath Bloody Sabbath, and Sabotage) are where the band began to sound more progressive. Choirs, orchestration, and synthesizers started popping up more. The lyrics became more mature and about deeper subjects as well.

    -Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die were where it was all building up to. By this point they could almost be classified as full on prog, and it seemed to be the point where the line-up basically hit a wall. Perhaps Heaven and Hell, if Ozzy had been on it, would have continued in this vein?

    -Love the Dio stuff, and have always found Heaven and Hell to be a lot stronger than Mob Rules.

    -I love Born Again! It's so sludgy. Here's some trivia: I heard the Sabs called them demon baby on the cover "Aimee," after Ozzy's first daughter with Sharon who was born during that era.

    -Those first 3 albums are essential. And Speak of the Devil is so great, as his band (featuring future Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis and featuring bassist for EVERYBODY Rudy Sarzo) were tight as hell! I love the updated arrangements they use for some of the songs.

  2. I just remembered listening to "Wheels Of Confusion" with Jerome one night in the fall of 2000, when he came to visit Kalamazoo after moving back home. I remember it sounding pretty awesome to me at the time. Do you remember that night Matt? There's a pic of the three of us from then.

  3. I remember Jerome coming back at that time, but not the event you describe. Unfortunately, most of my time in Kalamazoo is a blur.

    Wheels of Confusion rules. The lyrics make no sense, but its a damn good jam.