Ozzy Osbourne says "The Ultimate Sin" is his least favorite album he has ever released as a solo artist. Although it's currently out of print physically (but available on streaming services), the 1986 LP contains one of his biggest hits, "Shot In The Dark", and has been certified double platinum. "[Producer] Ron Nevison didn't really do a great production job," Ozzy tells Rolling Stone in a new interview. "The songs weren't bad; they were just put down weird. Everything felt and sounded the fucking same. There was no imagination. If there was ever an album I'd like to remix and do better, it would be 'The Ultimate Sin'."
"The Ultimate Sin" reached No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified platinum in the United States on May 14, 1986, by the RIAA and and double platinum in October 1994. It was the follow-up to "Bark At The Moon", which was the first Ozzy album to feature Jake E. Lee on guitar following the tragic death of Randy Rhoads.
The writing sessions for "The Ultimate Sin" were by disagreements over songwriting, with Lee, who claimed he had been cheated out of the credits he deserved on "Bark At The Moon", later telling Ultimate Classic Rock that he demanded a revised contract before agreeing to contribute. Bassist Bob Daisley was dismissed during the making of the LP and Phil Soussan was brought in as is his replacement. Ozzy later invited Daisley to come back to help with the lyric writing, which Bob had shouldered the bulk of since the start of the singer's solo career.
In a 1986 interview with Guitar World, Lee stated about about the writing process for "The Ultimate Sin": "While Ozzy was in the Betty Ford clinic, I got a drum machine, one of those mini-studios, a bass from Charvel — a really shitty one — and I more or less wrote entire songs. I didn't write melodies or lyrics because Ozzy is bound to do a lot of changing if I was to do that; I just write the music. I write the riff and I'll come up with a chorus, verse, bridge and solo section, and I'll write the drum and bass parts I had in mind. I put about 12 songs like that down on tape, and when he got out of the Betty Ford clinic, it was, 'Here ya go. Here's what I've got so far.' And I'd say half of it ended up on the album."
Daisley, who is credited with all the lyrics on "The Ultimate Sin" apart from "Shot In The Dark" (which is credited to Soussan and Osbourne), later said he was also heavily involved with the music writing on the LP.
"I did write the album with Jake and then Ozzy and I had a falling out and he fired me and he was going to fire Jake as well," he explained in an interview. "I've never been a 'yes' man. So a few weeks later, he called me and he had Phil Soussan on bass but I'd already written a lot of the music with Jake, so they knew they had to credit me on the songs anyway, so I guess he thought he may as well get his money's worth and asked me to come back and write the lyrics also. I did that as sort of a paid job. I write it, you pay me and take it and go. So I spent a few weeks writing the lyrics for the whole album. Then they recorded it. In a way, I am glad I am not on that album. It's the one album I didn't really like."
Earlier this week, it was announced that Ozzy will be celebrated with the first-ever definitive vinyl collection of all his original solo material. Due out November 29 on Sony Legacy, "See You On The Other Side" contains each of his studio albums on multi-color splattered, 180-gram vinyl, as well as otherwise out-of-print rarities like his "Mr. Crowley" and "Just Say Ozzy" EPs. It also features a collection of rarities, "Flippin' The B Side", a seven-inch flexi disc containing the previously unreleased "See You On The Other Side" demo, 10 posters, 12 augmented-reality experiences that allow fans to interact with the singer, and an autographed certificate.