27 Years Ago: Ozzy Osbourne Gets Sober And Releases The Knockout Album "No More Tears"

September 18, 2018

Music was going through some serious changes in the early '90s. Hair metal was on its way out and grunge was on the way in. However, on September 17th, 1991, Ozzy Osbourne was able to jump over any troubles with the transition with his smash solo album No More Tears.

Following his 1988 album No Rest for the Wicked, Ozzy was in a very low point in his life. In 1989 while very intoxicated, he attempted to strangle his wife Sharon Osbourne to death. After being charged with attempted murder, he spent a considerable amount of time in rehab. At the same time, he had a pair of lawsuits by parents for alleged subliminal messages in his song "Suicide Solution," blaming him for the suicides of their 16-year-old and 17-year-old sons. These allegations followed a similar case in which the parents of a 19-year-old who had taken his on life sued Osbourne based on the same song, though the case was dismissed.

The heat on Ozzy died down in 1991 when the court ruled in favor of Osbourne and CBS. He had also given up alcohol, leading No More Tears to be his first dry album, though he would later admit that he would sometimes take pills to keep a buzz going.

Ozzy claims that his life after exiting rehab were some of his best years in music, revealing that a musician doesn't have to be on a substance in order to create good music. Guitarist Zakk Wylde stepped up his role for contributions to the album, including the epic seven-and-a-half minute title track "No More Tears" which included a solo, extra orchestral parts, piano and more. 

Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead received a writer's credit on the album for co-writing "I Don't Want to Change the World," "Desire," "Hellraiser," and "Mama, I'm Coming Home," with Ozzy as well. He later claimed in his autobiography White Line Fever that he earned more revenue for the songs he wrote for No More Tears than all of the money he's earned after fifteen years with Motörhead.

In turn, Ozzy appeared on Motörhead's "I Ain't No Nice Guy," which saw moderate success on radio before the band was dropped by Epic Records.

Much like his public image, the cover art was a departure from his previous albums which featured a beast-like Ozzy on Bark at the Moon, The Ultimate Sin and Diary of a Madman. For No More Tears fans received a softer, angellic Ozzy conceptualized by his wife Sharon.

With six songs on rotation at radio stations and seven music videos consistenly featured on MTV, No More Tears was a smash hit unlike any of his previous albums. It spent 86 weeks on the music charts, topping at No. 7 on the albums chart, and going quadruple platinum, Ozzy remained a force to be reckoned with for decades.