Though Gillis was vaguely familiar with Osbourne's music after seeing the band perform live the previous summer at the Day on the Green in Oakland, he was completely unfamiliar with Black Sabbath's music. He borrowed a friend's old Black Sabbath albums to become more familiar with the songs before leaving for New York.
His ability to faithfully reproduce Rhoads' parts earned Gillis the job, and he subsequently traveled with the band and became familiar with the material as Bernie Torme played his last few shows before leaving. On April 12, , Gillis performed with the band during soundcheck before a show in Binghamton, New York , and played his first show with the band later that evening.
Torme was described as "the consummate professional" during this period, staying with the band until Gillis was ready to step in, even waiting backstage during Gillis' first few shows in case he was needed.
On September 19, , the band and crew arrived in New York City to begin rehearsals for the two shows that would be recorded to comprise the Speak of the Devil album. Over the following few days, Gillis, Sarzo, and Aldridge would rehearse in what Sarzo described as a "gloomy midtown Manhattan studio" while Osbourne himself was nowhere to be found.
The band was given only five days to learn the songs, though in Aldridge's case, he was quite familiar with Black Sabbath's material after opening for the band countless times as a member of Black Oak Arkansas in the s. The record company planned to include previously recorded live versions of "Iron Man", "Children of the Grave", and "Paranoid" featuring Rhoads on guitar, so Sharon told the band to not bother rehearsing those particular songs.
As rehearsals continued without Ozzy, the band was still coming to terms with the loss of Rhoads, and morale was very low. The band members resented the fact that they were rehearsing for an Ozzy Osbourne album while Osbourne himself could not be bothered even showing up.
It was during this period that Sarzo, who was already recording the Metal Health sessions in secret with Quiet Riot , made his final decision to leave Osbourne's band.
Osbourne, who had not rehearsed the songs with his band at all, finally showed up for soundcheck the day of the first show on September 26, , and had tremendous difficulty remembering the lyrics to many of the songs.
During the shows, he placed a folding chair with a desk lamp on top of it at center stage, and placed a notebook with handwritten lyrics to the songs on the chair. Throughout the shows, he often stood by this chair, singing as he read the lyrics from the notebook. The Ritz, which held just under 1, people, was sold-out for the performances.
Sarzo described the audiences as "rowdy", and also described the acoustics of the converted Latin ballroom as warm, intimate, and perfect for their needs. The band typically used side-fill monitors to allow the musicians to hear the drums while playing on larger stages, but the Ritz's smaller stage forced them to be removed for these shows. This change forced Gillis and Sarzo to spend the majority of the shows standing directly in front of the drum riser in order to hear Aldridge's drums over the intense volume of the band's backline.
The mood during the shows was casual, as the usual spectacle of Osbourne's live performances was scaled back with the emphasis instead placed on capturing the tightest possible performances for the recordings. The Record Plant 's mobile studio was parked in an alley behind the Ritz to capture the performances on tape. The band members dressed down, not wearing their usual stage clothes, with Osbourne himself sporting sweatpants and a bald head after drunkenly shaving off his familiar long hair a few days prior.
Near the ends of the shows, as "Iron Man", "Children of the Grave" and "Paranoid" came up in the setlist, the band let loose and made less effort to play tight, as they had been told by management that these performances would not be included on Speak of the Devil ; previously recorded live versions of those songs featuring Rhoads on guitar were to be used instead. A decision was later made to save the Rhoads versions for a future release , and thus the versions of those songs which ultimately appeared on Speak of the Devil were taken from one of the performances at The Ritz.
Sarzo recalled listening to the final mixes of those songs and being appalled at how sloppy his playing was on those three tracks, as they had only run through them a couple of times in rehearsal. As the band, minus Osbourne, flew back to Los Angeles on September 28 after completing the shows, Gillis played them the demo recordings he had made with Night Ranger that would comprise the band's soon-to-be released debut album , while Sarzo played them the new Quiet Riot recordings he had been working on in secret.
Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Sarzo promptly quit Osbourne's band and officially rejoined Quiet Riot, prompting a long and bitter feud with Osbourne that would culminate in the vocalist assaulting him backstage at the US Festival in Gillis also left Osbourne's band shortly thereafter, returning to Night Ranger weeks later.
Album producer Max Norman stated in that due to a limited budget, he had Osbourne and the band perform an entire extra show with no audience in the afternoon of either the 26th or 27 September. Norman recorded that performance in the event that the actual live shows were not of suitable quality for release.
According to Norman, the finished album features three songs from that performance with crowd noise later added in post-production. Though Norman did not specifically identify which tracks he was referring to, he said "If you got nothing to do for a couple of days you could just lie there and listen to them in the headphones and figure out which songs had the real audience and which ones didn't. A double album, Speak of the Devil represents the fulfillment of a contractual obligation, as Osbourne owed Jet Records two more records.
Though they had been full-time members of Osbourne's band for some time, this is Osbourne's first album to feature bassist Sarzo and drummer Aldridge.
The duo had been credited on the Diary of a Madman album but did not actually perform on it. Speak of the Devil' s gatefold includes multiple photos of a member of Osbourne's road crew who took part in the stage show by bringing the vocalist drinks between songs who suffered from dwarfism and who Osbourne nicknamed "Ronnie",   a joke aimed at Ronnie James Dio.
Dio had replaced Osbourne as Black Sabbath 's lead vocalist and stood only 5' 4" tall. Speak of the Devil was released one month before Osbourne's former band, Black Sabbath, released their own live album entitled Live Evil , a situation which contributed to a growing rivalry between the two camps.
In the US, sales of Speak of the Devil were much better than those of Live Evil , while in the UK it was Live Evil which attained the higher chart-placing: figures on ultimate sales are not widely available.
It was, however, reinstated for the reissue of the album. A Japan -only official release video also entitled Speak of the Devil has been available since the early s. Fearful of stirring up any further trouble, the label got cold feet and withdrew the sleeve immediately. Indeed I Do. It was assumed that there were only two copies of this seven-inch Motown pressing, but rumours persist that more have been unearthed. No one has been kind enough to flood the market with them yet so this Northern Soul monster is still worth a small fortune.
The Beatles — Love Me Do. Anything by The Beatles and their spin-offs is worth an absolute fortune. It's unsurprising, then, that the one-sided acetate for the band's debut single, Love Me Do which only peaked at Number 17 is worth the price of several cheap cars. No Ringo. Elvis Presley — My Happiness. Mystery surrounded the sale of an acetate copy of My Happiness, the first ever track recorded by an year-old Elvis Presley back in Third Man reissued a remastered version of the record on Record Store Day later that year.
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