Garry Sharpe-Young has written a book that many MUSIC fans have been anticipating for a long time. This book is not for the casual fan of Ozzy's music or his family's television show. Garry Sharpe-Young has written a book that quite thoroughly describes the ups and downs of Ozzy's solo career with the emphasis being placed upon what it took to take a down and out rock star and rebuild his career as a solo artist. If you are looking for tales of debauchery involving Ozzy and his band members, you are out of luck. If you want to know how the band that recorded the two albums was put together, then you are in luck. If you are a fan of Randy Rhoads, the legendary guitarist who was killed in a plane crash in 1982, this book is like manna from heaven. This is the type of book that is an obsessive-compulsive's dream come true when it comes to learning about everything that goes down behind the scenes of your favorite artist. Even if you are not a fan of Ozzy but only interested in how the big business music game is played, then Garry Sharpe-Young has written the book for you.
The book starts with Ozzy being ousted from his band Black Sabbath. Not having another vocation or any hobbies, Ozzy, with the help of his management, is quick in his attempts to put together a solo act. After a never ending search, Ozzy hooks up with guitarist Randy Rhoads, and upon returning to England, put together one of the tightest bands in rock history. With the addition of Bob Daisley on bass and Lee Kerslake on drums, the Blizzard of Ozz had the foundations of classic English metal with the cutting edge of one of America's finest metal guitarists. Much of the book revolves around this time period due to the fact that Ozzy's career, post-Sabbath, has relied upon the material written and recorded during this time period. Mr. Sharpe-Young does a fine job of describing how much input each member of the band had. Currently, there is a lawsuit against Osbourne by Daisley and Kerslake due to Ozzy not giving them proper credit on the cds or financially for their contributions. After reading the book, you will be able to tell how strong Sharon Osbourne's influence is in situations such as these. That lovely woman you see on TV is one of the shrewdest businesspersons in music entertainment.
We then follow Ozzy as he changes from a drugged out has been into the crazy acting metal hit machine (with the help of songwriters like Bob Daisley and Lemmy Kilmister) of the 1980s and 1990s. After the death of Randy Rhoads, the rest of the book is a constant barrage of the hiring and firing of musicians for the next 20 years. Each slot in his band gets replaced by at least 4 different people. For example, since 1982, Bernie Torme, Brad Gillis, Jake E. Lee, and Zakk Wylde have all taken turns as Ozzy's guitarist. Sharpe-Young makes it clear that in Ozzy's world, there is no band, but only a revolving door of dependable role players. Garry Sharpe-Young's book on Ozzy Osbourne serves its purpose to a large degree, but there are some weak points that I would like to point out. First, it is obvious that not everyone that has been involved with Ozzy in the past is willing to speak of his or her dealings with Osbourne. Sharpe-Young even has to use anonymous sources in telling the story. Due to this fact, those who were willing to talk sometimes had more input than was probably necessary. My second complaint is due to my being an American reading a biography written by someone who is European. Sharpe-Young mentions bands such as Budgie and UFO with much more reverence than an American music journalist would. Although these bands are important for their contributions, their day was almost over in America by the early 80s. I personally saw both Ozzy shows in Atlanta during 1981 and 1982 (two days before the death of Rhoads), and it was a young Def Leppard, and not the drunken UFO, that was on the rise.
I'll finish by saying what I said at the beginning, if you are a casual fan of Ozzy's music, don't bother, but if you are a diehard fan of Ozzy, Randy Rhoads, or hard rock music, then go to the Cleopatra Records website and order one for yourself.