Diary of a Madman

Album: Diary of a Madman (1981)


  • Ozzy's bass player Bob Daisley wrote this song. Said Daisley: "I really wrote that one about myself. When I was 16 I had my first nervous breakdown and it really f---ed me up. I was a sensitive kid and I have always been a sensitive person. I suppose you have to be sensitive being in the arts. I wrote the words about myself. Quite often we have problems and we are our own worst enemies and that is why 'Enemies fill up the pages one by one in the diary. Are they me?' I am my own worst enemy.

    The other thing was that Randy [Rhoads] had the rough idea for the song 'Diary of a Madman' and I came up with title. I wrote all of the lyrics as well on the album. Ozzy would come and go from rehearsals. One day he came in and we played him 'Diary of a Madman' and because it had funny timing he couldn't get his head around. He said, 'Who the f--k do you think I am? Frank Zappa!' We said, 'You sing in this part but you don't sing here. This timing goes like this etc.' He started to like it when he got his head around but at first he was like, 'This is not for me'."
  • The title came from a 1963 movie of the same name starring Vincent Price.
  • Through a bit of revisionist history, Diary of a Madman became Ozzy Osbourne's second solo album. After leaving Black Sabbath in 1978, he formed a new band with Bob Daisley, Randy Rhoads and Lee Kerslake called the Blizzard of Ozz, which ended up being billed as an Ozzy solo project after the album was released showing just Osbourne on the cover and his name in big letters.
  • In our interview with Bob Daisley, he explained that this song was conceived before they had the title for the album, and it made a perfect fit. Said Daisley: "I thought it would be a good title for an Ozzy Osbourne album because he's got the reputation of being one of the madmen of rock and roll."
  • The little boy on the album cover is Ozzy's son Louis from his first marriage. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Terry - Belleville, Canada

Comments: 24

  • Czr Man from In The South Bay Of L.a.!!!!Does anyone know what S.A.T.O. stands for?
  • Shannon Michelle Sullivan Mcevers from 83814 Coeurdalene, Idaho Wow! I enjoy the reasons behind your lyrics! . You As you describe you can almost see you working on these, master Songs you Have! Thank you for the music Ozzy!
  • Jodie from XxI don't see how the movie and the song are anything alike. The song is clearly about a guy with a mental illness and the movie is about a guy who's possessed by a demon (but not mentally ill).
  • Jodie from XxBob Daisley, what a talented lyricists and bass player. This is one of my favorite Ozzy songs. Everything about this song perfection.
  • Jg from Hfrd Cnty, MdSuch a great song.
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlI'm surprised Ozzy had an issue with the syncipation of the song. Tony Iommi had lots of songs that were off beat. Vol 4 and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath had weird rhythms that Oz Man handled easily.
  • Dan from Navarre, FlI'm bipolar with cyclic depression. This is the most descriptive song about mental illness ever made. Screaming at the window eludes to the fact that you are trapped on the other side of reality. You can see it, but not participate in it. The mirror tells me lies - that whole verse is a fact. You stare at the mirror wondering who is inside of you, where you went, is the badness coming or going, is it you or someone else. Great Song to remind me now that I've gotten better. I never want to forget how bad it was.
  • Daniel from Houston, TxIn my opinion this song is a result of having watched the movie "Diary Of A Madman". If you watch it as I did you will see why I think this. In the film Simon Cordier is possessed by a creature called a Horla who always comes at him through his study window. The line "Screaming at the window" is I think a reference to this. Later in the song it says "The mirror tells me lies" which finds a parallel in the movie when Simon sees that the Invisible Horla is blocking his view of himself.
    In conclusion if you like the song I'd recommended watching the movie. Vincent Price's performance alone is worth it.
  • Jesse from Madison, WiFor God's sake, somebody write about the MUSIC in the song! The structure sounds to me like standard 4/4. All the times in my life I've listened I've never once been derailed by an odd time signature in this one. What's different is that it speeds up and slows down which is very typical and not very different in classical, which this song heavily borrows from. I suppose the way the emphasis moves around so freely it could suggest odd time... Hmmm... I'll analyze it further.... But let's discuss the real string quartet and what sounds to me to be a real choir. THAT'S what set the Ozzman apart from the rest of the pretenders! I always figured this to be written by Ozzy, but I'll admit I never really looked too deeply into the mechanics of Oz's music. I guess I was too enthralled by the legitimacy of his music. He was no pussy pretender like the late-'80s sellout "hair" bands. He was for real. Randy Rhoad's death is still a great tragedy in modern music. He was on course to be a history-maker and a legend in his own time. As it's been said thosands of times - only the good die young. What a tragic loss! This was his all-time standout lineup.
  • Luke from Sc, Scstrange song and really creepy! certainly one of ozzy's best.
  • Dylon from Grant, Miman this song hit the heart. i can really relate to the lyrics. once again Ozzy proves to us he is a God of Rock.
  • Christian from Oslo, NorwayEverything about this song is awesome! The lyrics hits you (especially if you've been/are depressed), Randy's guitarplaying is stunning, and to top it off, the choir at the end... Ozzy's voice is perfect for this song!
  • Travis from Longville, LaIve been an Ozzy fan all my life and still get chills when i here this masterpiece!
  • Lester from New York City, NyJust a phenomenonal tune. One of Ozzy's best.
  • Joseph from Chicago, Ilclassic acoustic intro. made for a great show opener on the "diary of a madman" tour. god i miss randy rhoads.
  • Vic from Melbourne, AustraliaOzzy would not be where he is today were it not for the brilliance of the musicians behind him who made the songs great in the first place.
  • Syton from Colorado Springs, CoBeautiful. All of it.
  • Larry from Detroit, MiGreatest song ever written.
  • Sabin from Bhaktapur, Otherthis song is one of the best of ozzy.
    ozzy you are great.
  • Wesley from Lompoc, CaI can't find Mr. Tinkertrain on the song list and would like to know what this song is about.
  • Joel from Columbia, ScOzzy at his best
  • Jeri from Edmonton, CanadaThis song is truly incredible, one of the best. Ozzy Is awesome.
  • Alexander from Newburgh, NyThis song rocks.More people should post here.
  • Ravyn from Hell, NyGreat, great song. the title says it all!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dave Mason

Dave MasonSongwriter Interviews

Dave reveals the inspiration for "Feelin' Alright" and explains how the first song he ever wrote became the biggest hit for his band Traffic.

Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins

Tom Bailey of Thompson TwinsSongwriter Interviews

Tom stopped performing Thompson Twins songs in 1987, in part because of their personal nature: "Hold Me Now" came after an argument with his bandmate/girlfriend Alannah Currie.

Part of Their World: The Stories and Songs of 13 Disney Princesses

Part of Their World: The Stories and Songs of 13 Disney PrincessesSong Writing

From "Some Day My Prince Will Come" to "Let It Go" - how Disney princess songs (and the women who sing them) have evolved.

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular Music

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular MusicSong Writing

Starting in Virginia City, Nevada and rippling out to the Haight-Ashbury, LSD reshaped popular music.

Edwin McCain

Edwin McCainSongwriter Interviews

"I'll Be" was what Edwin called his "Hail Mary" song. He says it proves "intention of the songwriter is 180 degrees from potential interpretation by an audience."

Reverend Horton Heat

Reverend Horton HeatSongwriter Interviews

The Reverend rants on psychobilly and the egghead academics he bashes in one of his more popular songs.