Ozzy Osbourne is paying tribute to the late Motöhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister with a new mashup of “Hellraiser,” one of the songs they cowrote for the former Black Sabbath frontman’s 1991 solo album, No More Tears. The track arrives ahead of a reissue of the album due out Friday.
“This is just a small way to honor my friend, Lemmy,” Osbourne said in a statement. “Sharon and I talk a lot about how much we miss him.”
The recording uses Osbourne’s version of the song and incorporates Kilmister’s vocals from Motörhead’s version, which appeared in the movie Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth and on Motörhead’s March ör Die album in 1992. The two singers trade verses — Osbourne’s hellfire, clear-throated performance followed by Kilmister’s gravelly growls — and their voices blend in the chorus. The most surreal moments are when Osbourne’s backup singers join Kilmister’s voice, adding eeriness to the track.
The two vocalists became friends in the Seventies, and when Osbourne split from Sabbath in 1979, he took his nascent solo band out on the road with Motörhead. The pair remained close friends and in the runup to No More Tears, Osbourne asked if Kilmister would pen lyrics for a few songs. In addition to “Hellraiser,” the Motörhead frontman wrote the words to “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” “Desire,” and the Grammy-winning “I Don’t Want to Change the World.”
“When I was writing with Ozzy [for Osbourne’s No More Tears album], his manager just sent me a tape and I put it on and it was him going [Ozzy impression] ‘Aaaeeeaaeeeaah,’ like that, and then you have to figure out words that will fit,” Kilmister told Rolling Stone in 2015. “It took 10 minutes, I think. We did ‘Hellraiser’ [live] for a while. The trouble was you slowed it down for me to reach some notes, and then we had it sped up again. So that’s why it sounds slow. I don’t know if Ozzy liked my version of the song. He never said.”
“I’d give him a song and think, ‘Where the fuck do you go from here?'” Osbourne told Rolling Stone of his collaborations with Kilmister in a remembrance following the Motörhead frontman’s death. “And he’d write you like 15 other verses in such a short amount of time. I mean, if I was writing lyrics, most of the time, I go, ‘Well, she went to the door,’ and that’s as far as I’d get. He just writes them as if he’s writing a message. And it’s like, “He wrote this in how long?” And they’re not good lyrics – they’re fucking amazing lyrics.”
Osbourne repaid the favor to Kilmister by singing a duet with him on March ör Die. The ballad, “I Ain’t No Nice Guy,” which Kilmister wrote by himself, also featured a guitar solo by Slash.
The No More Tears reissue arrives on the 30th anniversary of the original release. In addition to the “Hellraiser” mashup, the digital edition features demo recordings and live renditions of the songs on the album. A two-LP vinyl edition of the album will come out the same day.