22 Years Ago: Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘No More Tears’ Album Released
September of 1991 marked three years since Ozzy Osbourne had released an album of new material, but the fans never lost their fervor for the Prince of Darkness’s brand of metal.
For proof, look no further than the impressive multi-platinum sales that greeted Ozzy’s sixth studio LP, ‘No More Tears,’ after its release on Sept. 17, 1991. Boasting nearly an hour of new songs and plenty of grinding riffs from lead guitarist extraordinaire Zakk Wylde, ‘Tears’ ushered the former and future Black Sabbath frontman into the ’90s with some of his solo career’s best material.
“This is the first record I’ve ever done sober, I’m five months sober, and it’s very difficult. I don’t know whether it’s good or not,” Osbourne admitted during an interview with Guitar World. “We’re going in a bluesier direction, more like ‘Crazy Babies,'” added Wylde. “I’m trying to go for the stuff that no one is into.”
Plenty of people were into it, of course — starting with the record’s title track and leadoff single, a hypnotically loud mid-tempo number that dominated the rock charts for weeks. Double-platinum by the end of the year, the album even handed Ozzy a rare Top 40 pop hit with ‘Mama, I’m Coming Home’ — one of four songs on ‘No More Tears’ featuring a co-writing credit from Lemmy of Motorhead. And while Ozzy’s work had never been plagued by as much production flash as some of his peers during the ’80s, ‘Tears’ also boasted a slightly rawer approach by producers Duane Baron and John Purdell.
But even as it found Osbourne near the top of his game creatively, ‘No More Tears’ also signaled a period of change and upheaval. Not only did it mark the end of his long associations with drummer Randy Castillo and bassist Bob Daisley, it also offered the first signal that Osbourne might be getting tired of life at the top of the rock heap — after repeatedly saying in interviews leading up to the album that he was getting bored with his devilish image, he announced his retirement from major tours following its release, dubbing his 1991/92 jaunt ‘No More Tours.’ (Of course, as many other rock stars have done, Osbourne later reneged, returning to the touring life in 1996 with his ‘Retirement Sucks Tour.’)
When Ozzy returned four years later with his ‘Ozzmosis’ album, he had a new band, including his former Sabbath mate Geezer Butler on bass — and co-writes from noted AOR song doctors Jim Vallance and Mark Hudson — to go with a more “modern rock”-friendly sound to fit the changing trends of the mid-’90s. It would have been unfair to expect Ozzy to stay the same, but there’s no denying that more than two decades later, ‘No More Tears’ still holds up. Out promoting his ‘Scream’ album in 2010, he was asked how he felt about people saying that record was his best since 1981’s ‘Diary of a Madman,’ and he mused, “I’d question that. I’m glad they say that, but any album I’ve made, I’ve had fun making them. I like ‘No More Tears,’ as well — but then again, I’m not always right.”
This Day in Rock History: September 17