Speak of the Devil (Ozzy Osbourne album)

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Speak of the Devil
Live album by
Released27 November 1982
Recorded26–27 September 1982 by Record Plant Mobile
VenueThe Ritz, New York City
GenreHeavy metal
LabelJet / Epic
ProducerMax Norman
Ozzy Osbourne chronology
Diary of a Madman
Speak of the Devil
Bark at the Moon
Singles from Speak of the Devil
  1. "Paranoid" / "Never Say Die"
    Released: 1982
  2. "Symptom of the Universe" / "N.I.B."
    Released: 1983 (UK only)
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[1]
Martin Popoff8/10 stars[2]
Sounds5/5 stars[3]

Speak of the Devil is a live album by English heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, released on 27 November 1982. It is a double album consisting entirely of live 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 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.[4]


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, Black Sabbath was also readying its own live album release and Osbourne wanted his album in stores first.[5] "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."[6]

The plan to record an album of Black 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 he 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 for the live album. 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.[5]


The original plan was to record the album at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens with Randy 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.[5] These plans all crumbled upon Rhoads' sudden death weeks later in a plane crash.

This is the only official Osbourne recording to feature Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis, who had temporarily stepped in for the recently deceased 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.

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."[7][8]

The album sleeve states that it was recorded at The Ritz in New York on 26 and 27 September 1982, 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.[9] "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" was not played at either of the Ritz concerts[10][11] and the recorded version included on Speak of the Devil is believed to have come from the audience-less afternoon show referenced by producer Norman.

A double album, Speak of the Devil represents the fulfillment of a contractual obligation, as Osbourne owed Jet Records two more records.[7] Osbourne has publicly renounced the album, stating that it was only released to satisfy his contractual obligation.[12] Another live album featuring Rhoads' work would eventually be released five years later in 1987, entitled Tribute, though this recording consisted mostly of Osbourne's solo material as opposed to Black Sabbath covers.

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",[13][14] a joke aimed at Ronnie James Dio. Dio had replaced Osbourne as Black Sabbath's lead vocalist and stood only 5' 4" tall.[15]

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.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.

Side one
No.TitleOriginal albumLength
1."Symptom of the Universe"Sabotage (1975)5:41
2."Snowblind"Vol. 4 (1972)4:56
3."Black Sabbath"Black Sabbath (1970)6:04
Side two
No.TitleOriginal AlbumLength
4."Fairies Wear Boots"Paranoid (1970)6:33
5."War Pigs"Paranoid8:35
6."The Wizard"Black Sabbath4:43
Side three
No.TitleOriginal AlbumLength
1."N.I.B."Black Sabbath5:35
2."Sweet Leaf"Master of Reality (1971)5:55
3."Never Say Die"Never Say Die! (1978)4:18
Side four
No.TitleOriginal AlbumLength
4."Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)5:34
5."Iron Man"/"Children of the Grave"Paranoid / Master of Reality9:12


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 rounded out by three 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 of the same name. 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, wind resulted in 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 members 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 Rudy Sarzo later observed him in the parking lot, drunkenly letting the air out of the producer's tires in protest.[5]

This video was finally released in the US in DVD format on 17 July 2012 from Eagle Rock Entertainment.[16] 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".[17]


Band members[edit]




Country Organization Year Sales
USA RIAA 1992 Platinum (+ 1,000,000)[22]
Canada CRIA 1983 Gold (+ 50,000)[23]
UK BPI 1983 Silver (+ 60,000)[4]


  1. ^ Franck, John. "Ozzy Osbourne - Speak of the Devil review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  2. ^ Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5.
  3. ^ Bushell, Garry (20 November 1982). "Ozzy Osbourne: Talk Of The Devil (Jet)". Sounds.
  4. ^ a b "Search for Artist Ozzy Osbourne". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Sarzo, Rudy (2017). Off the Rails (third edition). CreateSpace Publishing. ISBN 1-53743-746-1
  6. ^ Hogan, Richard (1984). "Is Sabbath Turning Purple?". Circus. p. 66.
  7. ^ a b Fischer, Michael (19 June 2007). "On Yer Bike with Studio Wizard Max Norman". KNAC.com. KNAC. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  8. ^ Saulnier, Jason (2013). "Max Norman Interview – Legendary Producer on Ozzy Osbourne Albums". Music Legends.ca. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  9. ^ https://www.collectorsmusicreviews.com/ozzy/ozzy-osbourne-speak-of-the-devil-ritz-1982-complete-zodiac-027/
  10. ^ https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/ozzy-osbourne/1982/the-ritz-new-york-ny-5bd38fdc.html
  11. ^ https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/ozzy-osbourne/1982/the-ritz-new-york-ny-1bc5f994.html
  12. ^ God Bless Ozzy Osbourne documentary film, produced in 2011. Next Entertainment.
  13. ^ "Drummer Tommy Aldridge Says Ozzy Made Fun Of Ronnie James Dio". Blabbermouth.net. 22 January 2005. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  14. ^ Hotten, Jon. "Black Sabbath - The Dio Years" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2009. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  15. ^ imdb.com. "Biography for Ronnie James Dio". imdb.com. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  16. ^ Wilkening, Matthew (8 May 2012). "Ozzy Osbourne's 1982 'Speak of the Devil' concert film headed for DVD". Ultimate Classic Rock.com. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  17. ^ Clark, William (6 November 2012). "Review: Ozzy Osbourne - Speak of the Devil DVD". Guitar International.com. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  18. ^ a b "Ozzy Osbourne Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 37, No. 24, February 12, 1983". Library and Archives Canada. 12 February 1983. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  20. ^ "Speak of the Devil Billboard Albums". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Speak of the Devil Billboard Singles". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  22. ^ "RIAA Searchable Database-Search: Ozzy Osbourne". Archived from the original on 26 June 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Gold Platinum Search for Ozzy Osbourne". Music Canada. Retrieved 25 October 2015.