Personnel: Ozzy Osbourne (vocals); Ozzy Osbourne; Ian Hunter, Kelly Osbourne (vocals); Jim Vallance (guitar, keyboards, drums); Jake E. Lee (guitar, background vocals); Joe Holmes, Jerry Cantrell, Leslie West, Nuno Bettencourt, Randy Rhoads, Robert Randolph , Steve Lukather, Tim Pierce, Warren DeMartini (guitar); Don Airey, John Sinclair , Michael Railo (keyboards); Mike Bordin (drums, percussion, gong); Tommy Aldridge (drums); Bob Daisley (background vocals); Dweezil Zappa, Zakk Wylde (guitar); Randy Castillo (drums); DMX, Fuzzbubble, Geezer Butler, Infectious Grooves, Miss Piggy, Motrhead, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Primus, The Crystal Method, Therapy?, Tony Iommi , Type O Negative, Was (Not Was), Wu-Tang Clan, Black Sabbath.
Audio Mixers: Dweezil Zappa; Bruce Sugar.
Liner Note Author: Ozzy Osbourne.
Photographers: Dennis Keeley; William Hames; Mark Weiss; Annamaria DiSanto; David Daoud Coleman; George Chin; Ross Halfin; Scott Seiner; Jorgen Angel; Sam Taylor-Wood; Fin Costello; Nitin Vadukul; Gene Kirkland; Neil Zlozower; Jeanette Wright Black.
Arrangers: Dweezil Zappa; Steve Dudas.
Released nearly three decades after Ozzy Osbourne departed Black Sabbath, 2005's PRINCE OF DARKNESS represents the first attempt at encompassing Osbourne's solo career in a box-set format. In the thoroughly entertaining liner notes, Osbourne admits that he was skeptical about taking this record company-prodded step, agreeing to the project only when allowed to fulfill a longtime musical goal--to record an album's worth of cover tunes.
The first two discs of this collection are divided between studio cuts, live recordings, and numerous demos of many bright spots in the Osbourne canon, including "Mr. Crowley," "Goodbye to Romance," and, of course, "Crazy Train." The third disc is a compilation of the Ozzman's non-album sessions, ranging from Sabbath standards with Therapy? ("Iron Man") and Primus ("N.I.B.") to a surprisingly low-key Motorhead collaboration ("I Ain't No Nice Guy"), a head-scratching duet with Miss Piggy ("Born to Be Wild"), and a previously unreleased romp through the disco smash "Stayin' Alive," with Dweezil Zappa. The highlight of the set, however, may be the newly recorded fourth disc. Here Ozzy pays homage to his heroes--including John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix--and contemporaries such as David Bowie and King Crimson. (Osbourne's unexpected take on Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" is particularly fierce.) For Ozzy fans, the 52-track PRINCE OF DARKNESS is a must-have collection.
Rolling Stone (p.81) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "[T]here may be no better measure of Osbourne's miracle ride since he was sacked from Black Sabbath in 1979 than the extreme zigzags between hellfire classicism and hilarious anomaly...in this delightfully motley four-CD anthology..."