Sharon Osbourne has been a controversial figure throughout her life, with her volatile relationship with Ozzy always in and out out of the news and her outspoken nature giving some brilliant quotes.
She’s mostly stuck by Ozzy through years of ups and downs and various addictions, however, and her commitment to him as his wife and manager can’t be questioned, It’s just her treatment of the other members of his band she’s copped some flack for.
In a new interview with the Eddie Trunk Podcast (via Ultimate Guitar), early producer on Ozzy’s work Max Norman has detailed how he feels that Sharon “shafted” his bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake in an effort to rob them of future earnings.
“When they showed up for the first record [1980’s Blizzard of Ozz],” Norman begins, “I don’t think there were any lyrics ready for the most part.
“It’s well-known that in Black Sabbath, Geezer Butler wrote the lyrics; and for Ozzy solo records, Bob told me from album one all the way through [1991’s] ‘No More Tears’, he was actually not only playing bass, but writing lyrics.
“That’s a very weird situation and they [Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslak] both got shafted pretty badly,” he continues. “They would be like, ‘What’s going on with the publishing?’ So there was a little bit of it going on and I tried not to get involved in that stuff.”
Norman argues that it was Sharon’s involvement in the dealings that cut them out of publishing they were entitled to, and the reason they were eventually pushed out of the band.
“Once Sharon got involved, that started to escalate,” Norman explains. “There was some tension towards the end of the second record [1981’s Diary of a Madman], they were still not getting what they wanted.
“Once that record was finished – the second record – I got a call from Sharon [saying] ‘We want to replace the bass and drums.’
“I refused to do it,” Norman asserts. “I said, ‘No, I’m not doing it. First of all, you are fucking the record up, and secondly these two guys deserve it.’
While Norman feels that both members got the short end of the stick, he feels that it’s Bob Daisley whose contributions were seriously overlooked.
“You don’t get any publishing if you’re the drummer really, so that’s just a drummer’s lot.
“Bob wrote pretty much all of the lyrics on both of those records, so he certainly deserves – that’s half of the publishing right there. Lyrics and melody.
“And usually Ozzy comes up with the melodies. So Bob didn’t have much of the legal standing as far as publishing goes, but they also wanted to get them off the record so that they can get rid of the mechanicals as well.
“I’m not exactly sure of the timing, but I know that they did it, and I know that I’ve heard it at one point and I went, ‘Oh my God…'”
He goes on to explain in the full interview that axing the two from the record and replacing their parts had the knock-on effect of making guitarist Randy Rhoads’ guitar parts sound “off”, and compromised the quality of the record overall, with Sharon almost entirely to blame – although, as always, there are two sides to every story.