It’s not often I’m compelled to write about another site’s Top 10 list, but when I saw Ozzy Osbourne‘s Bark At The Moon made Yahoo’s list of Ten Worst Heavy Metal Albums of All-Time, I was flabbergasted.
Seriously, Bark At The Moon? Worst of ALL TIME? No way!
According to the intro to the Yahoo! list, which also bafflingly includes Iron Maiden‘s Fear Of The Dark, to be considered for inclusion the band has to be “somewhat famous,” stating “After all, why kick a band when it’s down, who were never up in the first place?” That means, heavy metal bands people aren’t really familiar with really wouldn’t qualify, which makes their number 6 choice, Raven‘s The Pack Is Back, an odd selection considering they were less famous than their counterparts Anvil BEFORE the Anvil! The Story Of Anvil award-winning movie was released. So, until Raven!: The Story Of Raven becomes the breakout hit at Sundance, I’d say leave the band alone in their obscurity.
Now, I’m not saying the list is totally wrong; what I am saying is… back to this Bark At The Moon business. WHY is this album on this list? I don’t even think it’s the worst Ozzy album, let alone the worst in heavy metal history. The song “Bark At The Moon” is one of the greatest heavy metal songs ever. The Yahoo! writer points out in his justification for this choice that it’s the keyboards that need to go, which makes me wonder WHICH version of the album he’s listening too. Because if you go back to the vinyl, you’ll hear an awesomely mixed album where the keyboards do not overpower anything. Later remastered versions released on CD were horribly done and ruined a lot of good material. So, in this case, I’d say, go back to the original vinyl.
Also, regarding the rules of heavy metal, the writer says “FIRE THE KEYBOARD PLAYER.” Now, I can understand that sentiment, I really can, as I’m not the biggest fan of keyboards, but they have their place, and when done right, they can make a great song amazing. Let me state that the keyboard player for Bark At The Moon is Rainbow’s Don Airey, who was also on Ozzy’s first two albums Blizzard Of Oz and Diary Of A Madman, playing on the amazing “Mr. Crowley.” Now, go listen to “Mr. Crowley” and tell me that the keyboard player should be fired — or, better yet, that keyboards have no place in metal.
One more item in my defense of Bark At The Moon: This 1983 album marked the debut of guitarist Jake E. Lee, who was tasked with filling the shoes of virtuoso Randy Rhoads (who had died in a plane crash while on tour with Ozzy the year before). Not an easy task, especially under the rushed circumstances and having to work with a grieving, alcoholic Ozzy, yet Jake E. Lee managed to turn out some of the best guitar work ever heard on an Ozzy record.
In summation, Bark At The Moon is NOT one of the worst heavy metal bands of all time, and if not for the song “Slow Down” (which I can’t help but laugh when I hear the lyrics), would be probably be a perfect-listen from start to finish.
Now on to, Iron Maiden‘s Fear Of The Dark, which also made the list, because, as the writer says, if a metal band develops a fear of the dark, there’s a problem. In my opinion, Fear Of The Dark — another album with an awesome title track — isn’t even the worst Iron Maiden album! What about the two dreadful ones they did with singer Blaze Bayley? Don’t they trump Fear Of The Dark for the worst title? Motley Crue‘s 1994 self-titled album they did with John Corabi instead of Vince Neil — which, by the way, isn’t even a bad album — made the list, why not Maiden’s Blaze albums, X Factor or Virtual XI?
Prefacing the list was a notice that “All Van Halen albums with Sammy Hagar qualify for this list. But that was too obvious,” though I think starting the list off with Kiss‘s Music From “The Elder” is beyond obvious.
One thing that list does get right for the most part is its recommendations as to what to purchase INSTEAD of the albums that made the list. So, for Metallica‘s St. Anger, they said to get stuff like Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master of Puppets, …And Justice For All, of which I’m in total agreement. Confusingly, though, there’s no mention of getting Stay Hungry instead of Twisted Sister‘s Come Out and Play. I know Stay Hungry was the popular album, spawning hits like “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock,” which perhaps the Yahoo! writer feels were too commercial, but you can’t deny that Stay Hungry is the band’s best album. Go listen to it from start to finish and tell me it’s not a perfect album. And those hits — yeah, they’re awesome.
The Yahoo! was list found via Metal Hammer, who appropriately told their readers to “prepare to man the troll cannons” before heading over to there. I suggest you do the same.
Video – Bark At The Moon
[You might want to plug your ears before playing this song, it contains KEYBOARDS!!!!!]