Ozzy Osbourne is a living legend and while is work in Black Sabbath and his solo career has been spectacular, was a covers album really what fans were looking for from his ninth studio album? The song selection, focusing on rock and roll from the 60s and 70s, is fantastic and it’s unlikely you’ll hear a song that you’ve never heard before. Of course, the biggest question is if these songs suit Osbourne’s vocal and musical styles or is Under Cover largely a self-indulgent release and homage to Osbourne’s musical idols?
Rocky Mountain Way is a Joe Walsh classic and Osbourne performs it admirably, mixing a little of his own style while paying homage to the original. If you like Joe Walsh’s recording of this song but want it to feature a little more hard rock, perhaps a touch of metal, then you’re going to love this cover.
In My Life (Radio Edit) is a beautiful song and was one of the best songs from The Beatles’ Rubber Soul; although there are so many! One of the things I’ve always found fascinating about Osbourne is that despite his hard rocker persona, he can sing ballads exceptionally well and I’d even argue that he is a better ballad singer than he is a heavy metal vocalist. That may irritate some, but I’m blown away with his performance of In My Life. It is so good that as much as I adore The Beatles original, I enjoy Osbourne’s better; partially due to the darker style and the slower tempo. Regardless, both are exceptional and Osbourne has done himself proud on In My Life.
Mississippi Queen is a killer rock and roll tune that is styled very similarly to the original Mountain classic. Do I have a preferred version? Not really, they’re both exceptional but if you’re looking for a little more hard rock, then Osbourne’s rendition is the one to listen to.
Go Now is one song that I would have never imagined Osbourne covering. It’s a great song and while you may be familiar with The Moody Blues version, the Bessie Banks original is the one to beat and Osbourne has done just that. An exceptional cover with a gorgeous musical interlude that includes a piano and guitar solo. I love it!
Woman is one of the greatest songs ever written and recorded. It doesn’t matter how good this rendition is, nothing and nobody will ever beat John Lennon’s original. That said, Osbourne covers it superbly, paying homage to the original while also putting his own spin on this classic.
21 Century Schizoid Man is a classic late 60s masterpiece that Osbourne has turned up to 11.
All The Young Dudes is a killer tune. A David Bowie original composition, Bowie’s recording has always been exceptional, as was the original recording of the song by Mott the Hoople, but Osbourne takes All The Young Dudes to another level completely. Sensational!
For What It’s Worth is an incredible cover. I love the Buffalo Springfield original and it is that version that we’re arguably most familiar with. However, if you’re looking for a modern interpretation that infuses the original with hard rock elements, then look no further for this is utterly perfect.
Good Times is a song I’ve never been fond of. The Animals original isn’t fundamentally bad, but it never grabbed my attention. While there is nothing wrong with Osbourne’s interpretation, it doesn’t change my thoughts on the song as a whole.
Sunshine Of Your Love is one of the greatest songs from the 60s. The distortion in the original Cream version is stunningly good and while you can’t beat the original, Osbourne pays homage to it and adds a little of a harder rock edge to the song that I find to be thoroughly enjoyable. A killer song no matter who performs it!
Fire is a really interesting psychedelic rock tune from 1968. The Arthur Brown original isn’t bad, but Osbourne has made Fire his own and I much prefer this interpretation.
Working Class Hero is another John Lennon classic. Again, Osbourne doesn’t disappoint. Admittedly, he doesn’t stray too far from the original in his interpretation, but Osbourne’s approach breathes new life into Working Class Hero and is arguably perfectly suited to his vocal and musical style.
Sympathy For The Devil is a killer song. The Rolling Stones are the ultimate masters and arguably nobody has done it better. Yes, Guns N’ Roses covered it incredibly well, but the original is beyond reproach. Nevertheless, Osbourne’s rendition is enjoyable and is a great closer for this collection of covers ensuring that I’ll likely listen to the album again, stay within Osbourne’s catalogue, or explore the original artists he’s covered. Yes, on some editions of the album, the Black Sabbath song, Changes (with Kelly Osbourne), is included but that isn’t the case with the Apple Music release which sticks to the original 13-track lineup.
As far as cover albums go, this is one of the most enjoyable I’ve come across. Yes, I would have preferred to have more original Osbourne music, but he has given fans a look at some of his favourite tunes and has covered them with the respect they deserve. Under Cover, however, isn’t an album I go to when I think of Osbourne, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it when listening to his entire catalogue.