OZZY OSBOURNE – released his very first solo live album Speak Of The Devil back on November 27, 1982. I remember getting excited about this new Ozzy album coming out… it was live… it was Ozzy! My late sister Christine, she worked at a department store named Stars back in 1982. This Stars department store sold just about anything and everything, it was a store where you could find faucet washers or chain link that no other hardware store carried. From tampons to cookies to records, Stars had it all! It was our Walmart before we had… a Walmart. Well, this store did not have a very bright store manager… as you will soon find out.

You see, I asked my sister back in late November of 1982, if she could pick me up the new Ozzy Osbourne album for me… Speak Of The Devil. She said it would be no problem at all. Well, it did become a problem. Apparently, the store manager of Stars decided he wanted to “play the dictator card” and ban the Speak Of The Devil album from being sold at Stars. My sister was just as miffed at this as I was back then. She told me, “he” (the store manager), did not like Ozzy Osbourne and abhorred the album cover artwork of Speak Of The Devil, therefore, he did not want this album or any Ozzy Osbourne album for that matter, sold at Stars. The guy was a first class moron, a first rate censorship warlord.

I won’t mention this idiot managers name, (just to protect any of his embarrassed family members). However, his daughter did go to my high school, was a year or two younger than me and she was… a Metalhead. Poor girl, to have a dip-crap father like that… it’s no wonder she didn’t go insane. Plus, this censor police chief of a store manager wore… get this… polyester pants and… turtlenecks. F’n turtlenecks! That is probably where my absolute hatred for turtlenecks was sown. Turtleneck traumatized was I, at a very young age. Seeing that fart face store manager pacing up front of that store, man, the memory is so damned vivid now. Excuse me please, I think I want to go puke right now.

Anyway, to make a sad censorship story better… I did get my hands on Speak Of The Devil at a very non-censored store called Strawberries Records & Tapes. Kiss my Metal butt Stars and your third world nation store manager. My trips to Stars did continue even years after this censorship “issue” with the Speak Of The Devil and all Ozzy Osbourne albums. Stars later named another dude as store manager and he was cool. As for the censorship addict that once reigned as store manager there… well, I don’t really know what happened to him and really don’t give a maggot infested, moose crap either.

Heavy Metal took a beating back in the early days, especially the 1980’s, with censorship jackasses. Maybe this former store manager of Stars became a fan of the overly constipated PMRC? One never knows. All I know is that censorship is creepy, scary and wrong. Censorship of music, art, books or any other “freedom of speech” that America takes for granted has happened and can still happen at any time. Censorship is probably happening right now, in some shape or form, in yes… America. Freedom is fragile, sometimes it is too easy to forget that.

Granted, this story may come across as a “micro” incident in small town America, too long ago to even blink an eye at. Don’t be fooled… history does have a funny way of unfortunately repeating itself.





  1. Well put! \M/

  2. The U.K. version of this album is titled “Talk Of The Devil”…which, to me, doesn’t make any sense. But maybe in England “Talk of the devil” is the equivalent to the U.S. expression “Speak of the devil”.

    So, your local store banned this album based on the cover??
    In the ’80s in America, the PMRC, “Moral Majority” and other such groups banning or labeling metal albums only made kids want them more!

    • metalodyssey Says:

      So true… that PMRC dictatorship did make Heavy Metal and Rock ‘N’ Roll all the more enticing to the youth of America. Heck, the PMRC even went after Sheena Easton! The late John Denver even stood up against them!

      Based on the first hand knowledge, that my late sister had in working for this department store back in 1982… it was real and the store manager wanted to dictate his personal moral judgement on the music buying public.

      To quote a Metallica song title… “Sad But True”.

      • Yeah, with those warning stickers about “explicit lyrics” that they put on albums in the U.S., their plan backfired.

        Those stickers made kids want the records that they were on just to see what the fuss was.

        I remember the “moral majority” in America going on about “backwards masking” in rock songs with messages from the “devil”! 🙂

        • metalodyssey Says:

          All unfounded too about the backwards messages… sure, they appeared on some albums, yet they were not hailing Satan himself. Now, if one out there does exist that does hail Satan, I just don’t know about it.

          ELO, Iron Maiden and many others did it as a joke. That “silly” parental advisory sticker is now, in reality, a “Pop Cult” symbol. It actually represents what’s cool in music!!

  3. I loved this album. I think I wore out a cassette of it too.

    *funny thing is I was just getting into OZZY (solo stuff) a bit late and did not realize that it wasn’t Randy R. playing until I saw the Japanese Laser disc or VHS of this back when it was first released.

    Nonetheless Brad Gillis just shreds on this and I used to crank that gtr solo on this to show-off my stereo system and “tower” speakers! ha ha 😉

    Of course it featured the mighty Rudy Sarzo on bass too. Plus Tommy Alldridge was a double-bass drummer/fav. of mine too.

    Supposedly some of the “takes” are not live and are actually sound checks and or early rehearsals (and had crowd noise dubbed in later)-who cares right? I still like it.

    I DO remember this when it was orig. released on double LP and the record cover standing out in the store. I think saw it at a local K-Mart (of all places – they actually had a decent rock selection for a town of 10K) and my mom would not buy it for me because of the cover.

    *What I liked about the cover was the orange + red lettering and or logos. They just popped off the cover.
    I thought the “fake” blood and vampire teeth + green bat was a bit cheeky too and went a little over board.

    But OZZY was never one to know when or where to “draw the line” was he?!!!

    Personally I think it was OZZY’s attempt at pissing of Black Sabbath perhaps -who released their “Live Evil” (live album) a few months after right this, or his chance to one-up them in some form.

    *Looking back right after this:

    Rudy went on to be with Quiet Riot again and Brad Gillis to Night Ranger – two fine bands!

    And according to Rudy (in his excellent book) Randy was not happy about playing Black Sabbath songs on an OZZY live album and felt it was a step back and not in the right direction for him. Obviously “fate” changed that but who knows what would have happened if he did not board that plane that day?!

    Thanks for posting this – we should collect all of our Metal Memory posts and make a 365 day book. One memory per day for a year or something like that!

    Rock on!

    “Rock and Roll Madman”

  4. I bought this album years after it was released, I was such huge Black Sabbath fan, that during this era when Ozzy and Sabbath where spatting in the press and both artist released live albums, I choose to go on Black Sabbath’s side and did not bother buying ‘Speak of the Devil’ for several years, also shows how young I was picking sides to a fight more likely created by the press then by the artists themselves.

    I don’t not mind the album but do not reach for it often, but I have to give props to Brad Gillis for stepping into some big shoes and making his own imprint in a very short of time.

  5. chriscokid Says:

    anyone know what the arch symbols around ozzy’s picture says and for that matter the inside cover as well

  6. I believe this is Ozzy’s best album

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: