Programming note – I was unable to post last Friday due to technical difficulties with pictures. That post, which is just a look at my Iron Maiden collection, will come at another time. But this week there will be a post every day of the week.
September of 1991 was a watershed month in music history. There are so many albums that released that month of importance, some of grand significance. September 17th of that year saw the release of two, or I guess three, huge albums for the rock crowd. Guns N’ Roses dropped their long-hyped Use Your Illusion double set. Those captured my attention to a point that I’m literally going to spend the rest of the week on here talking about them.
But not today. The Album Of The Week comes from the same day in 1991, but from a different rock and metal institution. The Prince Of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne released No More Tears on the 17th nearly 30 years ago.
It’s not that we necessarily need a special occasion to discuss this seminal record, but with its 30th anniversary approaching and also a sorely-needed vinyl reissue of the album coming on its 30th birthday, I figured this week would be a great time to pay homage to it.
Ozzy Osbourne – No More Tears
Released September 17, 1991 via Epic Records
Favorite Tracks – Hellraiser, No More Tears, I Don’t Want To Change The World
I was very hyped for this release as soon as it was announced. By this time in 1991 I was staying up every Saturday night to watch Headbanger’s Ball, which quickly became my church rather than the droll kind I got drug off to on Sunday morning. Ozzy was a fixture on MTV and especially the Ball around the time of the album’s release. For 14 year old me it was can’t-miss viewing.
Lucky for small Midwest town me, the album did not come with a dreaded Parental Advisory sticker, so the only place in my cowtown that sold albums, Wal-Mart, stocked it. I bought it the minute I could and jammed out to it over and over again.
I know this is a divisive point in Ozzy’s catalog. Some older than me turned their noses up at this direction, preferring the all-out evil Prince Of Fucking Darkness to the more subdued elder statesman of rock that Ozzy became in the ’90’s. But for me? No way – this is absolutely where it’s at. It was the perfect album at the perfect time for me.
This is a beefy album, with 11 tracks and nearly an hour runtime. It works just great for me, there honestly isn’t a tune or even a note that I don’t appreciate here. Even the three quasi-ballads – Mama I’m Coming Home, Time After Time, and the excellent album closer Road To Nowhere are all choice cuts.
Of course Ozzy’s calling card is rock and metal, and No More Tears delivers in spades. This album slams with Zakk Wylde’s guitar and a deep-rooted drive and groove. Mr. Tinkertrain opens with a frantic pace and, while maybe kinda creepy, sets the mood as dark and heavy. The title track is an epic masterpiece – a long, brooding, doom-laden lament of lost love, or at least sex, or something, I don’t know. The Lemmy-penned Hellraiser really kicks up the dust and throws things into high gear. Desire is a very tasty rock anthem that could be suited for a raceway, pro wrestling entrance, or something of that like.
As I look back in the absolute gold mine that was music in 1991, I honestly feel like this album was the one that really kicked things over the top for me. Yeah, grunge arrived and changed the world. Sure, Metallica became one of the biggest bands in the world. Guns N’ Roses offered up a double serving of their unique brand of psychotic excess. Skid Row didn’t let “hair metal” go out quietly into the night – they recorded one of the greatest albums of the era and honestly probably transcended the term hair metal. Van Halen even dropped a Van Hagar-era cut that I feel is woefully underrated and sneakily heavy.
But I keep coming back to Ozzy for this year. I’ve been over it before – I was ready to come into the 1990’s and have my turn with the fun and ritz of hair metal. But the world just threw everything into chaos right when I arrived to the station. Instead I came in amazed at the shifting landscape around me, but still looking for something familiar to cling to. And old reliable Ozzy offered that.
It isn’t just that Ozzy helped anchor me in a turbulent musical climate or that he offered his own gateway into the far heavier things I was about to explore – No More Tears is an excellent document on its own terms.
For Ozzy he seemed to shed the “general of the Satanic armies” persona he had developed in the 1980’s, fueled in large par to the grotesque Satanic Panic of that time. Instead he was the rock god that everyone respected and revered, he was the dad and husband who talked funny but also got on stage and brought it every night.
For me this album was extremely important. It absolutely fits the “raised on rock, made by metal” ethos that shaped my formative years. Ozzy was that metal god and he delivered a sermon I was more than ready for. No More Tears stands to this day as one of my favorite albums and most important steps on the road through music I travel. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to move on and make the most of the night.