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|Speak of the Devil|
|Live album by|
|Released||27 November 1982|
|Recorded||26–27 September 1982 by Record Plant Mobile|
|Venue||The Ritz, New York City|
|Label||Jet / Epic|
|Ozzy Osbourne chronology|
|Singles from Speak of the Devil|
Speak of the Devil is a live album by English heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, released on 27 November 1982 as a double album. The album consists entirely of renditions of songs originally recorded by Osbourne's previous band Black Sabbath. The album was entitled Talk of the Devil in the UK, that being the more commonly expressed idiom there.
In early February 1982, a decision was made by Osbourne’s management and record label to record a live album consisting entirely of songs he had recorded in the 1970s with Black Sabbath. Several factors led to this decision. Sabbath’s publishing deal with their previous management had recently expired; by re-recording these songs all the songwriters (including Osbourne) would benefit from the publishing royalties. Additionally, Jet Records had cut a distribution deal with CBS Records which saw the small label stand to make a sizeable profit.
Business decisions aside, Sabbath was readying its own live album release and Osbourne wanted his album in stores first. "We were both going through our own miseries," recalled Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler. "We couldn't afford not to release Live Evil and Ozzy was forced into making Speak of the Devil."
The plan to record an album of Sabbath covers was not met with enthusiasm by Osbourne's band. Guitarist Randy Rhoads and drummer Tommy Aldridge refused to participate, feeling that they had established themselves as recording artists and such an album would be a step backwards professionally. They shared their feelings with bassist Rudy Sarzo; though Sarzo wasn't completely comfortable refusing to participate, he chose to stand with his bandmates and the trio informed manager Sharon Arden of their decision.
Though Sharon took the news reasonably well, Osbourne was furious. He responded by going on what Sarzo described as "the worst drinking binges I had ever witnessed" and his relationship with Rhoads never fully recovered. It was during this tumultuous period that Osbourne was infamously arrested for drunkenly urinating on the Alamo. Several hours before the Alamo incident, he drunkenly fired the entire band (including Rhoads), though later had no memory of doing so. Osbourne frequently confronted Rhoads on the tour bus and taunted him with claims that the likes of Frank Zappa and Gary Moore were willing to replace him. Osbourne's unstable and confrontational behavior soon convinced Rhoads to leave the band. He grudgingly agreed to perform on the live album but would depart after fulfilling his contractual obligations to Jet Records, which consisted of one more studio album and subsequent tour.
The original plan was to record the album at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens with Rhoads. The show, complete with half-naked girls on the stage in what manager Sharon anticipated would be "the greatest rock spectacle ever", would also be videotaped and released for the burgeoning home video market. These plans all crumbled upon Rhoads' sudden death weeks later.
The album sleeve states that it was recorded at The Ritz in New York on 26 and 27 September 1982, during the Speak of the Devil Tour, however all tracks with the exception of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" were taken from 27 September concert as verified against the soundboard recordings of both performances which exist as bootleg recordings. "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" was not played at either of the Ritz concerts.
Album producer Max Norman stated in 2007 that due to a limited budget, he had Osbourne perform an entire show in the afternoon (of which day he wasn't clear) with no audience. That performance was recorded in the event that the actual live performance that night was not of suitable quality for release. "At least we've got a choice and we'll have more material to draw from", he said. According to Norman, the finished album features three songs from that performance with crowd noise later added in post-production. Though Norman did not specifically identify which tracks he was referring to, he said "If you got nothing to do for a couple of days you could just lie there and listen to them in the headphones and figure out which songs had the real audience and which ones didn't."
This is the only official Osbourne recording to feature Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis, who had temporarily stepped in for the recently deceased Randy Rhoads following Bernie Tormé's brief stint in the band. Gillis did tour with Osbourne during this time period, and the group also played material from Osbourne's first two solo albums during this tour.
A double album, Speak of the Devil represents the fulfillment of a contractual obligation, as Osbourne owed Jet Records two more records. Osbourne has publicly renounced the album, stating that it was only released to satisfy his contractual obligation. At the time, a live album featuring guitarist Randy Rhoads was being prepared, but it was scrapped indefinitely upon Rhoads's sudden death in a March 1982 plane crash. Speak of the Devil was hastily recorded and released in its place. The planned live album featuring Rhoads' work would eventually be released five years later in 1987, entitled Tribute.
Though they had been full-time members of Osbourne's band for some time, this is Osbourne's first album to feature bassist Rudy Sarzo (who left to rejoin Quiet Riot less than a month later) and drummer Tommy Aldridge. The duo had been credited on the 1981 Diary of a Madman album but did not actually play on it. Guitarist Gillis would also soon depart to rejoin Night Ranger. Bob Daisley, who had performed as bassist on both of Osbourne's previous studio albums, would return in that role, while Jake E. Lee would replace Gillis on Osbourne's next studio album, 1983's Bark at the Moon.
Speak of the Devil's gatefold includes multiple photos of a member of Osbourne's road crew (who took part in the stage show by bringing the vocalist drinks between songs) who suffered from dwarfism and who the vocalist nicknamed "Ronnie", a joke aimed at Ronnie James Dio. Dio had replaced Osbourne as Black Sabbath's lead vocalist and stood only 5' 4" tall.
Speak of the Devil was released one month before Osbourne's former band, Black Sabbath, released their own live album entitled Live Evil, a situation which contributed to a growing rivalry between the two camps. In the US, sales of Speak of the Devil were much better than those of Live Evil, while in the UK it was Live Evil which attained the higher chart-placing: figures on ultimate sales are not widely available.
The original CD release of Speak of the Devil omitted the song "Sweet Leaf", presumably due to time constraints. It was, however, reinstated for the 1995 reissue of the album.
|1.||"Symptom of the Universe"||Sabotage (1975)||5:41|
|2.||"Snowblind"||Vol. 4 (1972)||4:56|
|3.||"Black Sabbath"||Black Sabbath (1970)||6:04|
|4.||"Fairies Wear Boots"||Paranoid (1970)||6:33|
|6.||"The Wizard"||Black Sabbath||4:43|
|2.||"Sweet Leaf"||Master of Reality (1971)||5:55|
|3.||"Never Say Die"||Never Say Die! (1978)||4:18|
|4.||"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"||Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)||5:34|
|5.||"Iron Man"/"Children of the Grave"||Paranoid / Master of Reality||9:12|
A Japan-only official release video also entitled Speak of the Devil has been available since the early 1980s. This video release has no relation to the album of the same name, consisting of Osbourne's early solo material with a handful of Black Sabbath numbers. This video release features an outdoor live performance recorded on 23 June 1982, at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre with the same backing band as the album. The recording was done by MTV and originally broadcast on the cable network on 31 October 1982, under the title "MTV Halloween Live From Irvine". Being an outdoor show, there was insufficient haze from the fog machines to reflect the laser light show, and thus they weren't used; the lasers seen in the final edit were added later in post-production. On 16 July 1982, the band gathered at Jet Records' offices in Los Angeles to watch the final edit. Osbourne was unhappy with the laser show and stormed out of the room. Bassist Sarzo later observed him drunkenly slashing the producer's tires in the parking lot.
This video was finally released in the US in DVD format on 17 July 2012 from Eagle Rock Entertainment. Following its US release, this DVD has been met with positive responses. William Clark of Guitar International said, "Everything from the stage sets, to the action on stage and the powerful Ozzy persona make this live performance, in a word, fantastic".
|USA||RIAA||1992||Platinum (+ 1,000,000)|
|Canada||CRIA||1983||Gold (+ 50,000)|
|UK||BPI||1983||Silver (+ 60,000)|