‘Crazy Train’ Co-Writer Sues Ozzy Osbourne Over Unpaid Royalties
Former Ozzy Osbourne bassist Bob Daisley has sued the musician and his Blizzard Music Limited for fraud, accusing the heavy metal pioneer of withholding more than $2 million in unpaid royalties.
Daisley has sued Osbourne several times, both successfully and unsuccessfully, for his work with the musician throughout the Eighties. In this latest filing, Daisley alleges that while he has been receiving royalty payments, an audit allegedly showed that Osbourne and Blizzard Music were withholding the full amount Daisley was owed under publishing agreements.
One allegation is that that the U.S. wing of Blizzard was secretly skimming money off the amount Daisley was owed. After the audit, Osbourne's representatives told Daisley's that Blizzard US was an "independent subpublisher" and thus entitled to separate payments for its services. However, Daisley claim he was never made aware, nor approved, any such agreement that paid Blizzard US more than the 10 percent already going to Blizzard UK.
Furthermore, the suit claims Blizzard was shortchanging Daisley on the royalties he was due for the myriad "commercial exploitations" of the songs he helped write on Osbourne's first two albums, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman.
"To learn that Osbourne and Blizzard US had intentionally deprived them of income under the guise of separate companies was to learn that Osbourne had intended to defraud Daisley of his rightful share of income by hiding behind sham corporate entities," the suit reads. "As a result of Defendants' collective actions, upon information and belief, Plaintiff has been deliberately deprived by Defendants of more than two million dollars in royalties income owed to him."
Osbourne vehemently refuted the charges in an e-mail statement to Rolling Stone. "For the past 36 years, Mr. Daisley has been receiving bi-annual royalty statements and checks from Blizzard Music, totaling in the millions of dollars, which have been routinely cashed," his rep tells Rolling Stone. "Mr. Daisley has audited Blizzard Music accounts over the years using several different auditing firms who found no discrepancies. He has previously filed lawsuits in the UK and the US and has lost on each occasion.
"We understand that Mr. Daisley is now in retirement and that these funds are his main source of income, so it is his right to be diligent with his money, but after 36 years, this is tantamount to harassment," the rep adds. "We would have hoped that after 36 years that Mr. Daisley would have lost his unhealthy personal obsession and resentment towards Mr. Osbourne’s success. Blizzard Music and Mr. Osbourne plan to vigorously defend these proceedings."
Daisley is seeking monetary damages, as well as punitive damages, while the complaint is also seeking a full accounting of Osbourne and Blizzard's books.
Daisley and Osbourne partnered in 1979 at the outset of the latter's career, filling out their group with Randy Rhoads and drummre Lee Kerslake. Though the group was dubbed the Blizzard of Ozz, Osbourne's management decided to release their first album as a solo record.
Still, Daisley and Rhoads co-wrote much of 1980's Blizzard of Ozz, including the classic rock staple, "Crazy Train." Daisley was equally involved in Osbourne's 1981 follow-up, Diary of a Madman, but he and Kerslake were fired before the LP's release and their work was credited to Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge.
While Daisley and Kerslake successfully sued for royalties and credit for their work on Diary in 1986, the bassist was still working with Osbourne. He would appear on, or contribute to, all of Osbourne's albums through 1991's No More Tears.
In the late Nineties, however, Daisley and Kerslake sued Osbourne again for unpaid royalties, but their case was dismissed in 2002. At the time, Osbourne's management tried to skirt the suit by infamously tapping Metallica's Robert Trujillo and Faith No More's Mike Bordin to re-record the bass and drums for reissues of Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman.