Speak of the Devil is a live album by Englishheavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. The album consists entirely of renditions of songs originally recorded by Osbourne's previous band Black Sabbath. It was released on 27 November 1982. The album was entitled Talk of the Devil in the UK, that being the more commonly expressed idiom there.
In the UK, it was the second of four Osbourne albums to attain Silver certification (60,000 units sold) by the British Phonographic Industry, achieving this in January 1983.
The album sleeve states that it was recorded at The Ritz in New York on 26 and 27 September 1982, though this may not be entirely correct. 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 played also 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. In April 2002, Speak of the Devil was deleted from Osbourne's US/North American catalog and is no longer in print. However, the album is still widely available in other markets, particularly Japan.
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.
A Japan-only official release video also entitled Speak of the Devil has been available since the early 1980s. This video release contains completely different content than the album, consisting of both Black Sabbath songs and Osbourne's early solo material. This video release features a live performance recorded on 12 June 1982, at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre with the same backing band as the album. 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".