Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music

1986 – Part 1.5: Ozzy Osbourne – The Ultimate Sin

Boris Vallejo is on hand to create the cover art.

I did a recent post on this album in February 2021.

This album gets no love. The people who run the Ozzy Osbourne machine are trying their best to kill “The Ultimate Sin” because of the complicated relationships they have with the people involved in creating it and the various disputes over royalty payments.

Jake E. Lee circa, 1989 when he was promoting Badlands, blasted the sound of the album and the fixed mindset of producer Ron Nevison to not allow him to try any different sounds. Bob Daisley in his book blasted the album as the worst Ozzy Osbourne album he’s been involved in. And recently Ozzy, in a Rolling Stone interview, said the songs were just put down weird and that everything felt and sounded the same. Ozzy further mentioned that “The Ultimate Sin” is his least favourite solo release.

By 1986, Ozzy was in rehab and the people that held it all together were Bob Daisley and Jake E Lee. Lee got burned on the song writing credits for the “Bark At The Moon” album, so he demanded a contract up front before he even started writing. By the time Ozzy came out of rehab, Jake had already compiled 12 songs and the contract issues from the past made for a tense recording session.

Apart from “Shot In The Dark” (which is credited to Phil Soussan and Ozzy Osbourne) all of the lyrics on “The Ultimate Sin” are written by Bob Daisley to vocal melodies and titles put to him by Ozzy. But as usual, Daisley had a falling out with the Osbourne’s and was fired again and in spite, the first 500,000 copies of the album don’t have Daisley credited. This was corrected after the Osbourne’s were served with court papers.

But for all of the backroom band and business politics, this is one of my favourite albums from Ozzy.

“The Ultimate Sin”

The drum intro from Castillo sounds like it’s recorded on paper skins, but as soon as the riff kicks in from Lee, it’s head banging time. The song is credited to Daisley, Osbourne and Lee.

Overkill, enough is enough
There’s nothing left of me to devour
You’ve had your fill, I’m all I have left
What can stop your hunger for power?

Intoxicated Ozzy gave the media and the religious zealots a lot of material to work with. Daisley had been around Ozzy long enough to see how the headlines played out.

Check out the solo and the outro section with the double kick drumming.

“Secret Loser”

I’ve written about this track before, but who remembers the Charlie Sheen movie “The Wraith”?

In the movie, Charlie Sheen plays a person who comes back to life to avenge his death at the hands of a gang (who got away with the murder). He kills his murderers one by one, by car racing each gang member and then setting them up to crash and die. “Secret Loser” appears during one such car race and it connected right away with me.

How good is the intro riff?

Could it be that I’m obsessed with feeding my disease / I couldn’t make it known the hidden things no one sees

Daisley was pretty good at writing autobiographical stories of Ozzy. I think this one is no different, especially the line about how Ozzy is obsessed with feeding the disease and in this case, the disease is the persona of Ozzy being constantly intoxicated, drugged out and doing something publicly embarrassing.

Check out the guitar solo from Lee.

“Never Know Why”

If we’re offensive and pose a threat
You fear what we represent is a mess
You’ve missed the message that says it all
And you’ll never know why

I guess too many people judged heavy metal and hard rock music without really getting to know it and the people involved with it. I guess they will never know why we rock.

Make sure you check out the outro solo.

“Thank God For The Bomb”

The intro riff from Lee, is sleazy and sinister at the same time.

The title is almost Alice Cooper like, and musically, it feels like a Van Halen track from back in the David Lee Roth days.

“Never”

An underrated track.

The “I Don’t Know” meets “Suicide Solution” verse riff is the link to the past which gets me interested.

“It is the chain that you’re dragging that was once your relief”

That house you wanted, is now the thing that gives you worry. The family you wanted, is now the thing that gives you happiness but also stress and fear.

How good is the Chorus!

Did I mention the solo is killer.

“Lightning Strikes”

It’s so creative what Lee did here.

Take the riff from “Crazy Train” and play the higher notes in a different order over the F#m pedal point. It’s the essence of creativity. Take something that came before and tweak it.

I’m not apologizing
I am what I am
There is no compromising
I don’t give a damn

Ozzy was rocking all night, alright and he didn’t give a damn.

“Killer Of Giants”

The acoustic/clean tone electric intro grabs my attention straight away.

But how good is the fingerpicked verse when Ozzy sings “if none of us believe in war, then what are the weapons for?”

The vocal melody and guitar riff for the Chorus gets me out of chair, singing, “mountain of protests for not stopping the war”.

And that guitar solo. So emotive and really bluesy.

“Fool Like You”

Another underrated deep album cut.

How good is that intro?

If it doesn’t get you up and banging that head, then you have no heartbeat.

You’re hearing what you want to hear
Misunderstanding all you see
An attitude in all of us
Is it really you and me

As much as we tell ourselves we don’t have a bias, we do. All of us.

Did I mention that the lead break is a killer?

It is.

Lee goes all exotic and harmonic minor.

And how good is the section, when they come out of the solo, with Lee allowing the power chords to ring out, while Castillo goes to town with drum fills.

And there is an outro solo, which is too brief as someone made the dumb decision to fade it out.

“Shot In The Dark”

The big hit.

The way Lee decorates the song with the riffs, melodic fills and leads is excellent and of course Soussan keeps the bass line driving along.

The album is 35 years old and no re-release has happened.

But the fans don’t forget.

And for me, it was my entry point to Ozzy.

Play it loud.

\::/

Part 1.1 on Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time is here.

Part 1.2 on David Lee Roth – Eat Em And Smile is here.

Part 1.3 on Metallica – Master Of Puppets is here.

Part 1.4 on Europe – The Final Countdown is here.

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14 thoughts on “1986 – Part 1.5: Ozzy Osbourne – The Ultimate Sin

  1. Some good stuff on here Pete. I always liked the title track, Secret Loser and Killer of Giants. I actually have a copy of this on vinyl. I should dig it out.

  2. Pete, my favorite Ozzy album as well. It was really my introduction to Ozzy and the first Ozzy I’d ever bought so I guess that is why it has a special place in my heart. The craziness behind the album makes it that much better!!

  3. Henrik says:

    It does not get love it deserves, that’s for sure. Okay, drum sound is horrible and overall soundscape is a tad too polished but the tracks are pure gold.

    I heard some of the tunes in Stockholm 1986 where Ozzy, Jake & Co stopped as part of Monsters of Rock lineup during their Ultimate Sin tour.

    Years later in Helsinki…Ozzy & Friends… what a pleasant surprise:
    a) Gus G played Jake E Lee stuff and Zakk was kept at bay until Black Sabbath part of the show.
    b) Gus G’s setlist comprised of
    The Ultimate Sin
    Shot in the Dark
    Killer of Giants

  4. Patrick says:

    The Ultimate Sin did get re-release way back in 1995 here in the US. It was part of the Ozzy remasters released on CD and cassette.

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