Ozzmosis is the seventh solo studio album by English heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne. Recorded in Paris and New York with producer Michael Beinhorn, it was released on 24 October 1995 by Epic Records. The album reached number 22 on the UK Albums Chart and number four on the US Billboard 200. “Perry Mason”, “See You on the Other Side” and “I Just Want You” were released as singles.
After the release of his sixth album No More Tears in 1991, Osbourne announced that he would retire from music. However, he returned with Ozzmosis in 1995, which featured long-time guitarist Zakk Wylde as well as former Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Deen Castronovo and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. The release received mixed reviews from critics.
Ozzmosis was one of many Osbourne albums remastered and reissued in 2002. The reissue featured bonus tracks “Whole World’s Fallin’ Down” and “Aimee”, originally released as B-sides to “Perry Mason” and “See You on the Other Side”, respectively. The album has been certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and has sold over 3 million copies.
Recording for Ozzmosis took place at Guillaume Tell Studios in Paris, France, Right Track Recording and Electric Lady Studios in New York City, and Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, New York. Production was led by Michael Beinhorn, with Paul Northfield engineering and David Bianco mixing the album. Writing credits on the album alongside Osbourne, guitarist Zakk Wylde and bassist Geezer Butler include John Purdell, Jim Vallance, Mark Hudson, Steve Dudas, Lemmy Kilmister, Duane Baron and Steve Vai.
Ozzmosis was the first and only Ozzy Osbourne album to feature Butler, drummer Deen Castronovo and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Guitars were performed by Osbourne’s long-time band member Wylde, although Steve Vai was originally slated to perform guitar on the album after writing a number of songs with Osbourne in 1994 (of which only “My Little Man” remained). Vai reportedly left the project due to a “falling out” with Osbourne, although this has been disputed by Wylde who claims they are still friends.
Prior to Beinhorn’s involvement in the project, Ozzmosis was due to be produced by Michael Wagener, who had mixed Osbourne’s previous album, No More Tears. A number of songs were recorded with Wagener, as well as a different lineup of the band including bassist Mike Inez and drummer Randy Castillo, reportedly with the intention of making the album sound similar to No More Tears; however, with seven songs completed, Epic Records allegedly requested a change in production style and replaced Wagener with Beinhorn. Of Wagener’s produced material, “Perry Mason”, “See You on the Other Side”, “Tomorrow” and “Old LA Tonight” were re-recorded with Beinhorn, “Aimee” and “Living with the Enemy” were released as B-sides, and “Slow Burn” remained unreleased; Wagener’s version of “See You on the Other Side” was later released on 2005 box set Prince of Darkness and his demo of “Perry Mason” was released in 2005.
The singles from that album
Three singles were released from Ozzmosis. The first was “Perry Mason” in November 1995, which reached number 23 on the UK Singles Chart and number three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart. “See You on the Other Side”, released on 9 January 1996, charted in the US at number five on the Mainstream Rock chart and in Sweden at number 59. The third and final single, “I Just Want You”, charted in the UK at number 43 and in the US at number 24 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
In support of the album, Osbourne and his band completed the Retirement Sucks! Tour, named in reference to Osbourne’s previous the tour, the No More Tours Tour, which was originally slated to be his last before his retirement from music. The tour started in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on 10 October 1995, two weeks before the North American release of the album on 24 October; tickets for the first leg of shows sold out in 30 minutes or less. Speaking about his return to touring, Osbourne joked that “If you stayed at home, day in and day out, for 3 years with your wife and a house full of screaming kids, you’d want to get back out on the road too!” The tour continued through 1996.
Ozzmosis charted at number 22 on the UK Albums Chart, five places lower than its predecessor No More Tears and three places lower than its successor Down to Earth. It was more successful in the United States, reaching number four on the Billboard 200, the highest position achieved by Osbourne on the chart at the time. The album also reached the top ten in Finland and Sweden, the top 30 in Germany, New Zealand and Norway, the top 40 in Switzerland, and the top 50 in Australia.
By the end of 1995, Ozzmosis was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, indicating US sales of over 1 million units; in April 1999, the RIAA certified the album double platinum. The album was also certified platinum by Music Canada, indicating sales in the country of over 80,000 units. According to Billboard magazine, Ozzmosis has sold in excess of 3 million copies in total. As of the 2010 release of Scream, Ozzmosis is the latest Osbourne studio album to be certified multi-platinum by the RIAA.
Media response to Ozzmosis was mixed to negative. Writing for music website AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine criticised the album for its lack of evolution from previous releases No Rest for the Wicked and No More Tears. Despite praising the “still impressive” skills of guitarist Zakk Wylde, Erlewine condemned the “modern-rock conscious” production style of producer Michael Beinhorn, which he claimed was the cause of the album’s main problem – that “on the surface, the music is hard and loud, but it actually sounds smooth and processed.” Entertainment Weekly critic Chuck Eddy claimed that due to the long running lengths of tracks on the album, Ozzmosis “feels like a parody of the most overinflated opera”.
Retrospectively, writers for both Blabbermouth.net and PopMatters have criticised Ozzmosis in reviews of later Ozzy Osbourne albums. Nick DeRiso of Ultimate Classic Rock ranked Ozzmosis as the eighth best Osbourne album, ahead of only Down to Earth, Under Cover and Scream, criticising the production style of the album. Writing for Loudwire on the 20th anniversary of the album, Jon Wiederhorn described Ozzmosis as “a more sonically pristine, but natural extension of the type of melodic hard rock/metal songwriting” on Osbourne’s previous two albums, noting the presence of “raging rockers … fist-raising anthems … and teary ballads”.
Michael Beinhorn (keyboards)
Geezer Butler (bass)
Deen Castronovo (drums)
Ozzy Osbourne (vocals)
Rick Wakeman (keyboards)
Zakk Wylde (guitar)
01. Perry Mason (Osbourne/Wylde/Purdell) 5.53
02. I Just Want You (Osbourne/Vallance) 4.56
03. Ghost Behind My Eyes (Osbourne/Hudson/Dudas) 5.11
04. Thunder Underground (Osbourne/Butler/Wylde) 6.30
05. See You On The Other Side (Osbourne/Kilmister/Wylde) 6.10
06. Tomorrow (Osbourne/Wylde/Purdell/Baron) 6.37
07. Denial (Osbourne/Hudson/Dudas) 5.12
08. My Little Man (Osbourne/Kilmister/Vai) 4.52
09. My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide (Osbourne/Butler/Wylde) 6.34
10. Old LA Tonight (Osbourne/Wylde/Purdell) 4.50
11. Whole World’s Fallin’ Down (Osbourne/Shaw/Blades) 5.06
12. Aimee (Osbourne/Wylde) 4.45