Diary of a Madman is the second studio album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. It was released on 7 November 1981, and re-issued on CD on 22 August 1995. This is the last Osbourne studio album to feature guitarist Randy Rhoads and drummer Lee Kerslake. An altered version appeared in 2002 with the original bass and drum parts removed and re-recorded. In 2011, a Deluxe 30th Anniversary Edition was released with all original parts restored. To date, the album has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
Diary of a Madman is the final album recorded with late guitarist Randy Rhoads. Although bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Tommy Aldridge are credited in the liner notes and pictured on the inner sleeve for the American vinyl and cassette release and later CD re-issues, it was bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake who performed all bass and drum parts on the original release. Aldridge has stated of the album, “I think it’s pretty obvious that it’s not my drumming on that album. I have never taken credit for that recording and have always given Lee Kerslake, whenever asked or interviewed, the credit he rightly deserves.”
Daisley provided significant contributions to the album’s songwriting, having written some of the music and most of the lyrics. Kerslake claims to have also had a hand in the writing of the album, even performing lead vocals on some of the original demo recordings. “‘Flying High Again’ was one of my ideas, ‘Over the Mountain’ was another. The basic (demo) tracks were just Bob’s words, my vocals—though some of the words I wrote—and Randy’s playing. It was unreal. And then we got Don Airey to come in and do the keyboards”, he stated in 2009. Kerslake says he used a piano in the studio to write many of the songs with guitarist Randy Rhoads. Daisley and Kerslake were not given credit for their performance or songwriting contributions, a situation which resulted in a later lawsuit.
During the album’s recording, Kerslake says the band members were given no money to live on, prompting them to approach management. Shortly after, both Kerslake and Daisley were fired. “Everything was working fine,” said Kerslake. “It was only when Sharon (Osbourne) came in that we had a problem. When she started managing—taking over—she wasn’t the manager until Diary of a Madman. Before that was her brother, David. He didn’t really want to handle it. He had too much to do for Don (Arden) in the office. So she came in and it started to get edgy. But we never suspected a thing until we went away on holiday. Next minute, they’re rehearsing with Tommy Aldridge and Rudy Sarzo, and going to America.”
Although Don Airey is credited as keyboardist on the album, it was in fact a musician named Johnny Cook (who had worked with Daisley in Mungo Jerry in the 1970s) who actually recorded the keyboard parts. Airey was on tour as a member of Rainbow at the time of recording and was thus unavailable.