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The 50 best Ozzy Osbourne songs of all time

40. All My Life (Ordinary Man, 2020)

Love ballads were seldom Ozzy's strong suit. Instead, when it comes to the softer side of the singer's repertoire, the magic so often comes from the more reflective and personal lyrics, even if such songs are so often offered via the medium of a character. Even so, there are poignant lines in All My Life that feel like they truly belong to Ozzy himself, reflections of a man in his seventh decade who has seen friends fall away in recent years and knows the end must surely be nigh. 

39. Breakin' All The Rules (No Rest For The Wicked, 1988)

Ozzy's career was in a strange place as the end of the 80s closed in. Even then, LA's glam metal scene was beginning to show signs of bloat and oversaturation, Penelope Spheeris' Decline Of Western Civilisation: The Metal Years documentary showing just sorry a state metal's biggest stars were in, Ozzy included. Yet, despite it all Ozzy was still an undeniable star, his music still drawing arenas full of fans every night. Breakin' All The Rules might not be the biggest anthem in Ozzy's repertoire, but it showed he was still fighting to stay on top even as the changing of the guard approached, still capable of churning out bona fide heavy metal anthems. 

38. The Ultimate Sin (The Ultimate Sin, 1986)

Ozzy's own personal choice for least favourite solo record, The Ultimate Sin caught the singer amidst interpersonal conflicts within his band, much of them due to songwriting credits - or lack thereof. With guitarist Jake E. Lee refusing to submit material without a contract guaranteeing him credit and bassist Bob Daisley falling out with Ozzy partway through the writing process and departing the band, things looked bleak in the Osbourne camp. Nonetheless, The Ultimate Sin became one of Ozzy's best selling records, buoyed by the popularity of metal in the mid-80s and the fact fans were happy to follow the adage 'if it ain't broke...'. 

37. Rock 'n' Roll Rebel (Bark At The Moon, 1983)

Now this is more like it - given room to manoeuvre, Jake E. Lee shows off exactly what he can do, reinjecting the panache that fans had come to expect from Ozzy's solo output. Lyrically, the song tackled some of the controversies Oz was caught up with at the time, not least battles with the PMRC [though admittedly it was Dee Snider that did much of the fighting] and accusations of satanism. But as Ozzy himself says here - 'They say I worship the devil/why don't they open their eyes?/I'm just a rock 'n' roll rebel'.

36. Waiting For Darkness (Bark At The Moon, 1983)

The best moments of Bark At The Moon come when Ozzy is moving away from the more arena-y moments a la Blizzard and Diary of a Madman and instead playing up to the devilish image represented on the album cover. Waiting For Darkness is pure horror theatre, its synths and stabbing strings over the solo feeling like a headlong plunge into Thriller territory (a wise move, considering just how much of a success Michael Jackson's own horror-inclined record proved to be). 

35. Gets Me Through (Down To Earth, 2001)

Despite its all-star line-up (Zakk Wylde on guitar, Faith No More's Mike Bordin on drums, a soon-to-be Metallica's Rob Trujillo on bass), 2001's Down To Earth remains an almost entirely ignorable entry in Ozzy's canon. Though it performed reasonably well commercially, the record proved to be without staying power, its songs seldom being played beyond its album cycle. Though Zakk Wylde re-joined the Ozzy band after a six-year departure, his contributions were little more than as a session player, arriving too late to have any impact on the writing process. As a result songs like Get Me Through are admirable efforts on the part of Ozzy himself, whose vocals bristle with defiance reflected in the lyrics, but otherwise lacks the magic touch Wylde usually brings to the band. 

34. Let Me Hear You Scream (Scream, 2010)

Its parent album Scream may have been a commercial disappointment, but there's no denying that lead single Let Me Hear You Scream was an absolute belter. In fact, so far as Ozzy's harder rocking songs of the 21st Century go, Let Me Hear You Scream is about as close to nailing the anthemic bombast of his youth as Ozzy has got, interim guitarist Gus G showing he wouldn't be engulfed by the towering shadow of on-again-off-again guitarist Zakk Wylde.

33. Crazy Babies (No Rest For The Wicked, 1988)

Cemented around a chunky riff from Zakk Wylde, Crazy Babies almost feels as though it belongs on No Rest For The Wicked's 1991 follow-up No More Tears, fitting in perfectly alongside the likes of I Don't Wanna Change The World and Desire. What it does show is that even when he was barely through the doors, Wylde was already having an impact on the shape of Ozzy's material. 

32. Desire (No More Tears, 1991)

Compared to the ploddy crisis of creativity Ozzy suffered in the mid-80s, his first two releases with Zakk Wylde as co-pilot in the songwriting department feel like a rocket taking off. Going in to write No More Tears, Ozzy insisted that the band tackle every single song on the record like it could be a radio hit - and why not, rock'n'roll was still big business in the early 90s after all. Desire shows just how much that approach paid off, roaring to life and reminding people why Ozzy was one of metal's biggest names in the first place. 

31. Killer Of Giants (The Ultimate Sin, 1987)

Originally the title-track for the album that would become The Ultimate Sin, Killer Of Giants moves away from the stadium rock flair found elsewhere in Ozzy's canon to instead go down a more classical heavy metal route. The synth section of the song that kicks off around the 4-minute mark suggests creative ambitions that stretched almost towards prog territory, pushing Ozzy's stylistic boat out in a satisfying way that begs the question of what direction the material would have took if Jake E. Lee remained in the Ozzy band going forwards.

Rich Hobson
Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.