Ozzy Osbourne

Don't Blame Me: The Tales of Ozzy Osbourne

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Originally issued (on VHS) back in 1991, long before Ozzy Osbourne and family were catapulted to American household namedom, Don't Blame Me: The Tales of Ozzy Osbourne is, perhaps, the last chance listeners will ever have to experience the Ozzy Osbourne phenomenon as it used to be, in the days before he sang for the queen and spoke to Barbara Walters -- for there is a difference. Of course, he plays to his own reputation; over 15 years (at the time) as a solo artist and eight years more fronting Black Sabbath, Osbourne raised the art of showmanship to levels untouched since the days of Liberace, creating a self-sustaining universe that is so convincing that, surely, the only person who knew that he didn't really live there was Osbourne himself. Biting bats and decapitating doves; sex, drugs, and Satanic ritual; death, doom, and despondency -- and those are just his hobbies. You should see what he does for a living. Ah, but you don't. Vastly entertaining though it certainly is, Don't Blame Me offers little more insight into the reality of the Oz-man than you could scratch from any one of the myriad cheapo biographies that clog the nation's post-Osbournes bookstores. The musical passages, however, are second to none, pre-empting both the Black Sabbath Story and Last Supper DVDs with tantalizing clips dating back to Sabbath's own pre-nativity as Birmingham blues bashers Earth, then spiralling madly forward from there. Video excerpts, home-movie footage, and concert material hit most of the highlights, while a snatch from Sabbath's Live Aid reunion reminds listeners how close they came to stealing the entire show. At just 96 minutes, of course, Don't Blame Me cannot even begin to scrape the surface of the video anthology that Osbourne truly merits, while the "special DVD features" -- interactive menus, a biography, and discography -- are so insignificant that one wonders why the packaging even mentions them. For anybody left underwhelmed by their own recent glimpses of Osbourne on TV, however, Don't Blame Me will certainly serve as a temporary fix. And it's a lot funnier than The Osbournes, as well.

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