‘Bark at the Moon’ Might Be Ozzy’s Craziest Album
I know, I know. Just typing “Bark at the Moon Might Be Ozzy’s Craziest Album” made me laugh, too. But let’s get into it.
The reason we’re laughing, of course, is because every album Ozzy makes is “Ozzy’s craziest album.” And because everything Ozzy Osbourne does is the craziest thing Ozzy has ever done. That’s just Ozzy. But there are a few things about his third solo effort that I think are worth revisiting forty years on.
Let’s start with the cover. Yes, that’s Ozzy himself as a werewolf, not some body double or stand-in actor. And if you look at the evolution of the cover art of his first two solo albums (and 1982’s Speak of the Devil live album, featuring Ozzy spitting what looks like cranberry jelly), you could see things escalating. So it tracks he’d go full-on wolfman. This would be bested 3 years later with dragon-beast Ozzy on the cover of The Ultimate Sin.
Bark at the Moon Might Be Ozzy’s Craziest Album
Let’s pivot from the album’s look to the album’s sound. This was the solo record where Ozzy really leaned into the synths. Granted, keyboardist Don Airey is credited on Ozzy’s previous solo effort–1981’s Diary of a Madman–but he didn’t actually appear on the album. His fingerprints are all over this one, though. 40 years on, the album has transcended to classic status. But at the time, it was a bit divisive to some fans that Ozzy pivoted to a synthy, pop-metal sound.
And lastly, there’s poor Jake E. Lee. I love Jake E. Lee. He had big shoes to fill in filling Randy Rhoads shoes, and he did so admirably. To hear him tell it, he actually co-wrote a good chunk of Bark at the Moon with Ozzy. But Sharon made him sign a contract giving up his writing and publishing rights in exchange for not having his parts re-recorded and not getting fired from the band. I’m inclined to believe Jake on this one.
In fact, let’s wrap up with the clip from the title track. Ozzy getting mileage out of the werewolf gimmick, Jake just shredding in that closing solo.