EX-GUITARIST ACCUSES OZZY OSBOURNE OF STEALING SONGWRITING CREDITS
Former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Jake E. Lee has spoken out after 30 years to accuse the singer and his wife/manager Sharon Osbourne of cheating Lee out of songwriting credits on Ozzy’s 1983 solo album, Bark At The Moon. All the songs on the record were credited to Ozzy alone, which Lee now says was in direct violation of the promise he had from the Osbournes before recording started.
According to Blabbermouth, Lee told VH1 Classic’s Eddie Trunk, “I was told from the get-go, ‘(If) you write part of the songs, you’ll get writing credit, you’ll get publishing. That’s part of your deal.'” But Lee recalled that after they finished recording, “They said, ‘Ah! We have the contract for you.’ And in it, it says, specifically, ‘Ozzy Osbourne wrote all the songs. You had nothing to do with any of the writing, you have no claim to publishing and you cannot say so publicly.’”
When Lee protested, Sharon Osbourne told him that he would have to accept the new terms or his parts would be removed from the record. Lee explained, “She says, ‘We’ll give you a plane ticket, you go back home and you stand in line and you sue us. In the meantime, we have all your tracks, we’ll get another guitar player, he’ll redo your tracks, and you’ll have nothing.'”
Bark At The Moon, Ozzy’s third solo album, was a huge hit and sold three million copies, with Lee sticking around for the tour and next album, The Ultimate Sin.
But that success left a sour taste in Lee’s mouth, with him calling the Osbournes’ tactics “just mean . . . what am I gonna do? Really? Am I gonna say, ‘Fine. I’m going home. Take my tracks off. Some other guy will get all the credit for playing guitar, and I still have to try to sue you for the rights?’ It would have been just . . . not a good decision.”
Lee says he got a better contract, this time in writing, before returning for 1986’s The Ultimate Sin. The deal for that album guaranteed him writing credits and publishing.
The guitarist ended up forming a new group called Badlands after leaving Ozzy’s band, but stayed largely out of the public eye for years after that. He recently launched a new outfit called Red Dragon Cartel.
- Ozzy issued a retrospective collection called Memoirs Of A Madman earlier this fall and will work on a final album with Black Sabbath in 2015.
Featured photo: Richard E. Aaron, Getty Images