Steal Away The Night: An Ozzy Osbourne Day-by-Day
Author of over 45 books on heavy metal and hard rock bands, Popoff has put together a very detailed narrative of Osbourne's over-40-year career, with the book offering the reader a trove of information most of us were never previously given access to. Although we do get the familiar (and often tired) escapades, Popoff leans heavily towards giving the reader a deeper understanding of what happened behind the scenes - something periodicals of the 70s and 80s like Hit Parader, Circus, and Creem failed to offer.
This information comes courtesy of Popoff's meticulous eye for detail, and dozens of first-hand interviews from those that were involved with Osbourne, whether it was on the road, in the studio, or just simply "being there."
We do not, of course, literally get a "Day-by-Day account", but Popoff does offer readers hundreds of entries that were vital to The Prince of Darkness' career, while throwing in a generous array of lesser (but fascinating, nonetheless) tidbits that merely enhance the final product.
We begin with five pages of the author's personal perspective and influence of Ozzy before the chapter "Nursery of a Madman," which begins with the date April 2, 1920, and the birth of Aleister Crowley.
We proceed with an itemization of key figures' birthdates in Osbourne's solo career, i.e., Sharon Arden, Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, etc., before continuing on with key dates of Osbourne's involvement with Black Sabbath. From there, it's an entertaining literary ride through Osbourne's compelling solo career, and his eventual re-connection with Black Sabbath.
All information is filed, chronologically, of course, under a date and an abundance of sidebars, which are separated from the date headings in other sidebars. These are quips and observations from key players in Osbourne's career that add a bit more personal perspective to the facts.
The reader is treated to accounts of everything ranging from Ozzy's firing from Black Sabbath (and Ronnie James Dio's eventual hiring) to Sharon Arden's initial involvement with Ozzy ("keeping an eye on him," after her father Don Arden signed him to Jet Records) to Randy Rhoad's recruitment and George Lynch losing out the guitar role (twice, as a matter of fact).
There are accounts of Osbourne's emotional ups and downs (read: substance abuse), his MTV-fame, in addition to touring and recording studio stories, the success of Ozzfest, and the reunion with Sabbath that lead to the passable-at-best 2013 studio album 13.
We get first-hand experiences from Osbourne drummers Tommy Aldridge, Lee Kerslake and Carmine Appice; guitarists Brad Gillis, Jake E. Lee, and Zakk Wylde; and Sabbath members Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Bill Ward. And that's just to name a small handful. With so many testimonies, we get a very informative and often varying outlook on everything that has transpired.
Some of the most enlightening information, at least regarding the early years, comes courtesy of bassist Bob Daisley who played an integral part in putting together the original Ozzy Osbourne band lineup (Kerslake, Rhoads and himself) and writing the songs.
Steal Away The Night: An Ozzy Osbourne Day-by-Day is an intriguing who, what, where and how overview, not only of Ozzy's misadventures, but of the business of rock music that few are personally exposed to.
An additional highlight of the book is the plethora of illustrations. Not all of the photographs are top-notch (some are a bit grainy and out of focus), but that's easily overlooked. We get live shots, studio candids and a multitude of backstage passes, record ads and concert ads. One of my personal favorites is an ad for a 1978 gig with Quiet Riot and Van Halen.
This is a book that could have been easily thrown together, but instead, we are treated to meticulous and enticing information. Steal Away The Night: An Ozzy Osbourne Day-by-Day is definitely a book any Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath fan would love and reference for many years to come.
~ Bruce Forrest