Zakk Wylde: 10 albums that changed my life

(Image credit: Eleanor Jane Parsons)

Zakk Wylde never takes anything seriously, not even his own music. The Black Label Society frontman and sometime Ozzy Osbourne guitarist is quick to deflect anything approaching a serious question with a quip or a gag, frequently at his own expense. All of which makes steering Zakk through the albums that changed his life a tricky, if not entirely unentertaining task. Abba and Helen Reddy? Are you sure about that, Mr Wylde?

The first album I bought was… Black Sabbath – We Sold Our Souls For Rock’N’Roll 

“The first rock album would be by Black Sabbath. Before that it was 45s, stuff like Donny and Marie, Olivia Newton John, Barry Manilow… Then life ended when I bought We Sold Our Souls…. I fell into the world of cool music and hard rock guitar.”

The first album I had sex to is… Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon

“I remember listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon one time while making out with a chick. At parties and skating rinks, though, there’d be Bob Seger or The Cars playing, Bee Gees, shit like that.”

The album I break the speed limit to is… Abba – Arrival

“I don’t speed, ’cos I don’t want to get tickets. My wife calls me fucking ‘grandpa’ when I’m driving, and I say, ‘Yeah, a grandpa with no fucking tickets!’ But for driving fast it’d be Abba’s Dancing Queen. Yeah, why not? Look at me, I am a dancing queen!”

Someone asks me what metal is, I’d hand them… Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance

“I’d give ’em Screaming For Vengeance by Judas Priest. Kick-ass songs, great production… yeah, just killer songs – there’s not a bad one on there.”

The album with the best artwork is… Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was killer. I remember the sleeve photos on [follow-up album] Sabotage, and Ozzy saying [adopts Birmingham accent], ‘Look at the state of me in this fucking outfi t; I look like a fucking homo in a kimono’. I told him, ‘I always thought you were Bill Ward,’ ’cos I didn’t know who was who on the photo!’”

No one will believe I own a copy of… Lady Gaga – The Fame 

“I think Lady Gaga is fucking awesome. Have you ever seen her play piano? She’ll sit down and really throw down something. Aside from all the crazy outfits, she’s a really fucking good musician and she writes all that shit too. Check out YouTube, ‘Lady Gaga Led Zeppelin’. It’s her with dark hair playing in a little club in a cover band, before she became Lady Gaga.”

The album I wish I’d made is… Led Zeppelin – IV

“Well the residuals from White Christmas are still coming in, so that or the soundtrack to Grease would be pretty fucking good too, I reckon – we’d be sitting in my Learjet right now. I’m trying to think of records I really love… I would say any Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin album, you can really pick any one.”

The disc that should not be is… Black Label Society – Sonic Brew

“The first Black Label album! No, any Black Label album! Ha ha ha! I recorded the whole thing but when I listen to it I’m thoroughly disgusted, feeling suicidal… and then I break out my Donnie and Marie and Olivia Newton John albums and feel uplifted again.”

The album I’d want played at my funeral is… Helen Reddy – I Don’t Know How To Love Him

“It would be a song like Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar! That would be a good one. Or Lionel Ritchie, Three Times A Lady. It’d be like, ‘Three times a lady… not anymore!’ then ‘I am woman, hear me roar… not anymore, he’s dead!’

The album I’d want to be remembered for is… Black Label Society – The Blessed Hellride

“For the artists that I love, it’s not a specific record, it’d be everything they did. For BLS it’d be The Blessed Hellride. Ozzy remembers an album if he had a good time making it, rather than if it did well.”