Ozzy! I’m not sure what to think of Ozzy Osbourne the man, but Ozzy Osbourne the band? Well that’s just some kick-ass shiznit! There were several key figures that had a hand in making the Ozzy Osbourne band so great (guys like Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde, and Ozzy himself). The Ozzy Osbourne discography of the ’80s stands as one of the best of the decade.
The Ultimate Sin has often been cited as Ozzy Osbourne’s worst album of the ’80s. Though I agree it is not a perfect album, I still have a very favorable opinion of The Ultimate Sin. As for flaws, it does seem (at least to these ears) that Ozzy’s performance on this album was less inspired than in previous years, and the glossy production by Ron Nevison (same guy who did KISS’ Crazy Nights in ’87) did not totally suit Ozzy Osbourne’s style. I often skip two tracks when I listen to The Ultimate Sin, Killer Of Giants and Thank God For The Bomb, leaving seven tracks that I would rate as good or great. Bassist Phil Soussan was responsible for writing the album’s best song (and biggest hit) Shot In The Dark, a truly memorable tune. I also really like Lightning Strikes, Secret Loser and Fool Like You. At the end of the day, Ozzy could always be counted on to deliver a great melody and have a top-notch guitarist by his side (Jake E. Lee on this one).
Sadly, The Ultimate Sin has been unceremoniously “deleted” from the Ozzy catalog. The last time it was released on CD was in 1995. Subsequent re-releases and re-packaging of Ozzy music have always omitted this album. I remember reading somewhere Ozzy thinks this album sucks, but a more realistic reason is that Ozzy doesn’t want to share royalties with Soussan or (lyricist) Bob Daisley. The parties have been embroiled in litigation over royalties in the past. Douche move by Ozzy and crew. Good tunes, though. You can still find used copies of the 1995 remaster out there. Scoop it up. My score: A-
UPDATE: My hypothesis that Ozzy deleted The Ultimate Sin due to royalty battles with Phil Soussan has been proven FALSE by Phil Soussan himself! Here’s what he wrote me:
Hi and thanks for reviewing The Ultimate Sin!