Are you ready for an Ozzy Christmas album? We aren’t either, but that’s not stopping him from releasing one anyway, according to the latest issue of Rolling Stone. Sharon Osbourne says that Black Christmas will be released late next year and be accompanied by a TV special. She says that she’s discussed the idea with her husband, but “he’s trying to forget that it actually exists.” So are we, Sharon, so are we. I guess if Trans Siberian Orchestra, Twisted Sister, and Rob Halford can wring money out of cash registers by making holiday classics heavier, Ozzy might as well do it too. But I have to imagine this album will finally elevate Down To Earth to “Second Worst Ozzy Album” status.
However, it’s not all bad news in the article. It was revealed that there are going to be 30th anniversary editions of 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz and 1981’s Diary of a Madman coming out over the next two years. That’s pretty much to be expected for albums of this caliber and importance, but the deluxe editions will restore the original bass and drum tracks of Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake, respectively. In a dispute over royalties, and basically just to fuck them over, the 2002 reissues of the albums had Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin, Ozzy’s touring rhythm section at the time, re-record the tracks.
Until now, Daisey and Kerslake haven’t gotten a break. First, Diary had Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge listed as the bassist and drummer in the liner notes, and the original rhythm section had to sue to get songwriting credits on the album, which they eventually got in 1986. Then, when the albums were reissued in 2002, there was initially nothing on the albums stating that the original drum and bass tracks had been removed. It’s encouraging that the new versions will restore the original tracks. There’s really no reason they should have been re-recorded in the first place. In a press conference at the time, Sharon said that Ozzy wanted the tracks removed because of “Daisley and Kerslake’s abusive behavior.” But to a generation of fans that grew up on those two albums, it was akin to George Lucas screwing around with the Star Wars trilogy and putting stupid digital crap that no one wanted in them. Maybe Sharon’s going soft in her old age. Probably not, but either way, this is to be commended.