Blizzard of misogyny: in defence of Sharon Osbourne

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On Monday morning I got a heads-up email. “Irate people are getting irate,” it said. It included a link to a Facebook post by Bob Daisley, best known as a bass player for Ozzy, Uriah Heep and more.

Bob was irate and was making a lot more people irate. Eventually I became irate too.

A month on from the Classic Rock Awards – at which Ozzy had picked the Classic Albums Award for Blizzard Of Ozz – Bob had decided to do what he does best: have a go at the Osbournes and, by extension, Classic Rock magazine.

Here’s what Bob had to say:

“In this year’s recent Classic Rock ‘Roll of Honour Awards’, Ozzy Osbourne was presented with the ‘Classic Album Award’ for our ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ album. After the ceremony, Randy Rhoads’ brother and sister, Kelle and Kathy, were taken aside and secretly handed a paper bag containing an award for Randy, for his contribution to the album. I find this insulting and disrespectful to the Rhoads family and, in particular, to Randy. I’d like to know why Randy’s award wasn’t presented ‘publicly’ to the Rhoads family members, and why drummer Lee Kerslake and I weren’t even mentioned. That album was not a ‘solo’ Ozzy Osbourne record, as many have been wrongly led to believe, it was a work of art made by four people, the band called The Blizzard of Ozz. I co-wrote the music with Randy, I wrote more than 90% of the lyrics, and the four band members played on and co-produced the album together, so why did ‘Classic Rock’ choose to acknowledge only one member of the band? I do not begrudge Ozzy receiving his award, but I’d like to know why Randy wasn’t acknowledged ceremoniously and why Lee and I weren’t even mentioned, let alone given an award for our significant contributions to that album. ‘Classic Rock’ should know better, and they should be ashamed!”

Classic Rock Editor Siân Llewellyn swiftly responded on behalf of the magazine:

“There was certainly no offence intended, Bob Daisley. We have given out our Classic Album award many times in the past and we often present to one member from the line-up involved in its creation (just to give an example, we presented Cream’s Disraeli Gears to Jack Bruce, Aerosmith’s Rocks to Joe Perry etc…), and that in no way is marginalising the contribution made by the other band members. Unfortunately, it’s simply logistics. We’re not the Rock’N’Roll Hall Of Fame and we just don’t have the budget to fly in/honour everyone involved in the making of a classic album. It’s a recognition of the music within. And, as you of all people know, Blizzard Of Ozz is a classic album in every sense.

“The Rhoads family attended the event as guests of Ozzy and he honoured Randy in his acceptance speech saying, ‘I’ve had a great life and some disasters. The biggest was when Randy died. I owe my career to him.’ Ordinarily, we only present one statue for the Award (to the person collecting on the album’s behalf), but this year we thought it was appropriate to have one made for Randy’s family as they were in the room. It was given to them later in the evening – no paper bag, I’m sure! - and we photographed them with it for the current issue.”

In other words:

  1. We never invite the full band to pick up the Classic Album Award

  2. Ozzy invited the Rhoads family as guests

  3. We made sure the Rhoads family got an award

  4. There was no paper bag

  5. Both Ozzy and Joe Elliott (presenter of the award) paid tribute to Randy.

And, let’s face it, regardless of whether Blizzard was initially conceived as ‘a band’ or not, Ozzy was the frontman and the name on which they were trading (they were called Blizzard Of Ozz not Blizzard Of Bob) and the album was finally released under his name (the work of EVIL Sharon Osbourne or record company pragmatism?). We didn’t get Frank Beard to pick up the ZZ Top award years ago, or ask Brad Whitford to pick up the Aerosmith award. They’re both key members of their bands, we have utmost respect for them, but the Classic Rock Awards is a show. And shows demand stars.

Randy Rhoads’ sister and brother Kathy and Kelle with the award, LA November 4, 2014.

So what’s left? Well, Ozzy never paid tribute to Lee Kerslake or Bob Daisley.

I wonder why? Because they never died young in a plane crash, robbing the world of their emerging and amazing talents, maybe?

Or maybe it’s because Bob and Lee have continually badmouthed and brought legal proceedings over the years?

Yeah, that’ll be it.

Whichever: Bob took a swipe, Siân explained, all good right? Except it wasn’t. By Tuesday, rival rock news outlets were reporting the story and Daisley’s Facebook post was aflame with comments. In fact, Daisley’s Facebook friends were copying and pasting his post into Classic Rock’s Facebook page “to expose the truth.”

Because, of course, no one knows that Bob Daisley played on Blizzard. Sharon Osbourne heads up an international conspiracy to keep it from all but the most committed few. I mean, it’s not like it gets a mention on Wikipedia’s page on the album!

Oh shit, it does.

Well, it’s not like Classic Rock’s ever written about it! I mean, Sharon wouldn’t LET them tell the truth!

They have? Twice? In issue 150 and issue 161? Oh.

Yeah, but they probably never let Daisley and Kerslake speak! They did? Ah.

Well… I bet they don’t mention that Sharon and Ozzy re-recorded the bass and drum parts on the record, replacing Daisley and Kerslake with Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin!

They did? And they mentioned the 2011 reissues that restore the original versions and quote Ozzy commenting on them, “I’m glad [they’ve been restored]. I don’t give a fuck if you’ve got Jesus Christ and Moses playing drums and bass, it ain’t the same”?

Well if they did, it’s only because SHARON TOLD THEM TO!

By Tuesday, Daisley’s original comment had 500-odd comments, all in support of him, many anti-Classic Rock… and a huge, sickening percentage laying the blame squarely at the feet of Sharon Osbourne.

Well, you might say, she’s Ozzy’s manager, right? She’s bound to have something to do with this terrible travesty in which a great album was acknowledged, the singer given an award, the family of the deceased guitar player acknowledged from the stage and given their own award afterwards!

That sounds EXACTLY like the kind of thing that evil witch would do!

It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Because the truth isn’t far from that. Sharon took the brunt of ‘the blame’ because women in rock are singled out for a particularly vicious form of abuse (cf. Courtney Love, Yoko Ono etc).

Sharon was called a cunt, a slag, a witch, a jackal, a crook, Yoko Jr, and an old scrag who needs money for her ‘facelifts’. She was called the devil, the ‘real evil behind Ozzy’, and blamed for the behaviour of her father.

Here’s some edited high(low)lights…

Have you ever seen vitriol like that dished out towards any male manager? Any male rock star?

My favourite posts of all are the ones that claim that Sharon a) probably makes demands that mean that Bob Daisley can’t be mentioned and b) is trying to airbrush/erase the true story from history. “They have a lot of influence in the music industry if you know what I mean…” Like Sharon’s head of some organised crime syndicate who’s only aim is to disparage former Ozzy bass players.

For the record I have only met Sharon twice. Once at the Classic Rock Awards, the first time she came, in which she made a point of thanking me and saying what a great night she’d had (number of managers who’ve done that: maybe half a dozen in 10 years), the other time backstage at a festival in Norway where Ozzy was due to play with Slash. She told me she liked my t-shirt and then left me and Ozzy to do an interview.

LIke: Woooo. What a witch. What a control freak etc etc.

So what did Bob say? He must have been embarrassed, shocked even to have triggered such misogyny and hatred - he probably counselled people to control their emotions and act responsibly, right? Nope. He wrote this: “I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to those who left comments of support regarding the ‘Classic Rock Awards’ issue. The response was overwhelming and it warmed me to the core. Your words are worth so much more than any award, and I thank you one and all. Love, Bob Daisley.”