Bark at the Moon is the third studio album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, originally released on 15 November 1983. The album features former Mickey Ratt and Rough Cutt guitarist Jake E. Lee, who replaced guitarist Randy Rhoads who had been killed a year earlier in a plane crash. The album peaked at number 19 on the Billboard album chart and within several weeks of release was certified Gold for over 500,000 sales in the United States. To date, it has sold over 3,000,000 copies in the US. In the UK, it was the third of four Osbourne albums to attain Silver certification (60,000 units sold) by the British Phonographic Industry, achieving this in January 1984. The album was remastered on CD in 1995 and again (with a different mix) in 2002. This is the first album to feature guitarist Jake E. Lee and the only studio album to feature drummer Tommy Aldridge.
Bark at the Moon is the only Ozzy Osbourne album on which the songwriting is credited entirely to Osbourne. However, guitarist Jake E. Lee maintains that he composed a significant amount of the album’s music but was cheated out of his writing and publishing claims by Osbourne’s wife and manager Sharon. Lee claims that after he had composed the songs and completed recording his parts in the studio, he was presented with a contract which stated that he would have no claim to any writing or publishing relating to the album. The contract also stated that Lee could not mention this publicly. Lee claims he signed the contract because he had no legal representation and because Sharon threatened to fire him and have another guitarist re-record his parts if he refused.
Osbourne himself admitted several years later in the liner notes to The Ozzman Cometh that Lee had been involved in the album's writing to at least some degree, stating that the album's title track was in fact co-written by the guitarist. Osbourne's bassist at the time, Bob Daisley, has mirrored Lee's account of the album's production, stating that he co-wrote most of the music with Lee and wrote the vast majority of the lyrics. Daisley has stated that he accepted a buyout from Osbourne in exchange for writing credit. Osbourne's former drummer Lee Kerslake, who also played with Daisley in Uriah Heep after leaving Osbourne's band, stated that Daisley had been hired by Sharon Osbourne to write the Bark at the Moon album for "$50–60,000 or whatever it is. He was offered the chance to write with Ozzy. Words, music – write the album."
Some European pressings identified the track "Centre of Eternity" as "Forever". On tours for the album, Osbourne referred to it as "Forever". This can be heard on bootleg recordings of tours promoting the album. The title track was released as the album's first single with an accompanying music video, the first Osbourne had made. In the early 1980s infancy of the music video medium, the video was highly anticipated due to his outrageous image. The decision to release the ballad "So Tired" as the album's second single was unpopular with many longtime fans. The track "Spiders in the Night" was originally only included on the European, Australian, New Zealand and Greek releases, but was included on the 1995 CD reissue and the 2002 reissue, listed simply as "Spiders".
Composed by Daisley, the lyrics to the song "Now You See It (Now You Don't)" were a pointed rebuke aimed at Osbourne's wife and manager Sharon, who had fired him from the band in 1981. Daisley stated many years later that he was surprised the Osbourne camp allowed the lyrics on the album.
Shortly after Bark at the Moon's 1983 release, a Canadian man named James Jollimore murdered a woman and her two children after allegedly listening to the album. The media and Christian groups began to infer that the music was Satanic and had influenced Jollimore to commit the monstrous act. The timing was particularly inopportune for Osbourne, who was at the time facing allegations that his song "Suicide Solution" had influenced a fan to commit suicide.
Bark at the Moon is Osbourne's only studio album to feature drummer Tommy Aldridge, who was a fixture of Osbourne's live band for several years in the early to mid-1980s. He was fired after the recording of the album and briefly replaced by Carmine Appice, but returned mid-tour after Appice was removed by the Osbournes. When asked why Aldridge was brought back, Osbourne told Hit Parader magazine in early 1984 "For health reasons. He (Appice) was making me sick." Nonetheless, Appice did appear in the popular music video for the "Bark at the Moon" single.
Bark at the Moon was re-issued again in 2002, although this version was actually a new remix of the album. This 2002 remixed version of the album was met with mixed reaction; many elements found in the original mix are not present in the remix, namely several lead guitar parts. In addition, the song "You're No Different" has an alternate ending (with the fade-out removed) and "Centre of Eternity" has an altered intro segment. This edition also included the bonus tracks "Spiders" and "One Up the 'B' Side", originally the B-side of the "Bark at the Moon" single.
^ † All writing was officially credited to Osbourne. However, Jake E. Lee has claimed that he and Bob Daisley wrote material for the album, but were cheated out of writing credits by Ozzy's manager/wife, Sharon Osbourne. Ozzy later admitted that they were involved in the songwriting "to some extent" but stated they were co-written with him.