25 Years Ago: Ozzy Osbourne Gets Sober and Scores Big on ‘No More Tears’
No matter who long Ozzy Osbourne stays away, his fans never lose faith. A case in point remains No More Tears, which arrived on Sept. 17, 1991 – three long years since he'd last released an album of new material.
Ozzy's sixth studio LP racked up multi-platinum sales behind nearly an hour of new songs and plenty of grinding riffs from lead guitarist Zakk Wylde. Along the way, No More 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," Osbourne told Guitar World at the time. "I'm five months sober, and it's very difficult. I don't know whether it's good or not."
Fans answered definitively, as the album's title track and leadoff single, a hypnotically loud mid-tempo number, dominated the rock charts for weeks. Double-platinum by the end of the year, No More Tears even handed Ozzy Osbourne a rare Top 40 pop hit with "Mama, I'm Coming Home" – one of four songs here 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, No More Tears also boasted a slightly rawer approach from producers Duane Baron and John Purdell.
But even as it found Osbourne near the top of his game creatively, No More Tears also heralded 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 Ozzy 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, Osbourne 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 perfectly titled "Retirement Sucks Tour."
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This Day in Rock History: September 17