The arrival of MTV and the sudden popularity of the music video turned the world on its head in the early ’80s. As you’ll see in the coming weeks, some of classic rock’s biggest names created some Hilariously Outdated Rock Videos while they were adjusting to the new medium.
Through very little fault of his own, that list includes former Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne. Even though his solo career was flourishing as never expected around the time of 1983’s ‘Bark at the Moon,’ he still needed MTV’s promotional boost at a time when heavy metal enjoyed relatively modest radio airplay.
So there was every reason for Ozzy and his camp to invest in a music video for the album’s fierce title track, resulting in an (admittedly, intentionally) campy clip that fans now still remember fondly — if not with the utmost reverence. Behold as an impassive, white-faced fiend and assorted mystery characters dressed in period Victorian garb stare with solemn faces, before conducting a rainy nighttime funeral for a monster of mysterious origin.
Cheer as the video proceeds to intercut histrionic performances by the Ozzy Osbourne band, then composed of guitarist Jake E. Lee, bassist Bob Daisley, and drummer Carmine Appice. The latter’s amusingly forced tough guy facial expressions and fancy drumstick twirling get a gold star for effort — even though his playing is often not edited in correct sequence to the song.
And be amazed as Mr. Osbourne himself gamely tackles double duty — first as the gentle Dr. Jeckyll character, experimenting with chemicals and forces beyond his control, before unleashing his wild man of rock routine via the shaggy werewolf / Mr. Hyde hybrid also made famous on the ‘Bark at the Moon’ album’s striking cover art.
The editing and lighting techniques may clearly date this video to the early ’80s and MTV’s nostalgically low-tech early days, and the whole thing is just wonderfully cheesy. But as trapped in its era as the ‘Bark at the Moon’ video seems now, we have to say that Ozzy acquits himself quite well as an actor — particularly during the final scene where his character is discharged from the insane asylum — literally, as the clip was shot at London’s Holloway Sanitarium!
Who knew that cameras would love heavy metal’s most dangerous
champion so much? In retrospect, this video clearly foreshadows the same
natural charm that would make ‘The Osbournes‘ TV show such a spectacular mainstream success nearly 20 years later.