Ozzy Osbourne has paid tribute to his former drummer Lee Kerslake, who died earlier today (Saturday, September 19) following a battle with cancer. He was 73 years old.
Ozzy took to social media to shared a photo of him and Lee during the “Blizzard Of Ozz” album recording sessions at Ridge Farm Studio in West Sussex in 1980, and he included the following message: “It’s been 39 years since I’ve seen Lee but he lives for ever on the records he played on for me, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. Lee Kerslake RIP”
Lee was a member of Ozzy‘s band in 1980 and 1981 during the Randy Rhoads era, performing on the singer’s first two solo albums.
In January 2019, Kerslake was inducted into the Hall Of Heavy Metal History in Anaheim, California. During his induction, Kerslake was presented with two platinum discs for his work with the BLACK SABBATH frontman. The presentation was filmed for Kerslake‘s documentary.
During an interview with The Metal Voice in December 2018, the drummer revealed that after all these years, he just wanted platinum album certifications for both “Blizzard Of Ozz” and “Diary Of A Madman”, so he can feel some acknowledgement for his work before he dies.
“I really wrote a nice letter to them and I hope they will come to terms with it and say yes,” he told The Metal Voice of his appeal to Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne.
Kerslake had since been granted his wish as Ozzy shared a photo on social media of Lee sitting on a sofa and holding the “Blizzard” and “Madman” platinum discs, a handwritten letter from Ozzy placed on his chest.
“I’m so glad that Lee Kerslake is enjoying his Blizzard and Diary platinum albums,” Osbourne wrote in an accompanying caption. “I hope you feel better. Love, Ozzy”
According to the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA), 1980’s “Blizzard Of Ozz” has been certified quintuple platinum for shipments in excess of five million copies, while 1981’s “Diary Of A Madman” has been certified triple platinum for more three million units sold.
Kerslake and bassist Bob Daisley had been embroiled in a legal battle with the Osbournes for many years, which had taken a massive financial toll on the drummer.
“I went belly-up bankrupt when I lost the case to Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne in the courts,” Lee told The Metal Voice. “It cost me hundreds of thousands and I had to sell the house and then started to get ill. I never managed to get back up, but a platinum certification on my wall for these albums would be fantastic and it would say I helped create those albums.”
Kerslake and Daisley were fired before “Diary of A Madman” was released and in the process had their names removed from the album. Bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Tommy Aldridge are credited in the album’s liner notes and featured in the photo on the inner sleeve. The tracks played by Kerslake and Daisley on both albums were replaced on a reissue (by current METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo and FAITH NO MORE drummer Mike Bordin) after the duo sued Ozzy and Sharon over royalties. Daisley and Kerslake‘s original performances were restored in the 2011 reissues of the albums.
It’s been 39 years since I’ve seen Lee but he lives for ever on the records he played on for me, Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. Lee Kerslake RIP pic.twitter.com/xWqVR0VJn6
— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) September 19, 2020