25 Years Ago: Five Classic Artists Release Albums on the Same Day
On Oct. 24, 1995, five different rock artists — Ozzy Osbourne, Smashing Pumpkins, the Pretenders, Bob Seger and Anthrax — put out notable albums. The releases captured each of the acts at drastically different points in their respective careers.
For Osbourne, 1995’s Ozzmosis represented a comeback of sorts. The Prince of Darkness had announced his retirement from music following 1991’s No More Tears. Osbourne had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, understandably deciding to focus on his health rather than his career. After discovering that he was actually misdiagnosed, the former Black Sabbath frontman reconsidered his decision.
“I wouldn’t say I was serious (about retirement). I would say I was dumb,” Osbourne insisted in an interview with In the Studio with Redbeard. “I said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m sick and tired of being on the road. I’m sick of going to the doctors. My voice is never right. … That’s it. I’ve done it. I’ve achieved everything I want to achieve. I want out.”
After letting his emotions calm down, and spending quiet time at home, the rocker once again got the itch to create.
Osbourne initially worked on material with Steve Vai, but only one track, “My Little Man,” would emerge from their collaboration. Instead, Ozzy recruited his former Sabbath bandmate Geezer Butler, long-time guitarist Zakk Wylde and a slew of songwriting partners, including Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister and Aerosmith contributor Mark Hudson, to craft the bulk of Ozzmosis.
The LP would become Osbourne’s best-selling effort in over a decade. Buoyed by the singles “Perry Mason” and “See You on the Other Side,” Ozzmosis sold over three million copies, adding another multi-platinum effort to the rocker’s impressive resume.
Watch Ozzy Osbourne’s Music Video for “Perry Mason”
While Ozzy was busy adding to his legacy, Smashing Pumpkins were establishing theirs. The band’s first two albums, 1991’s Gish and 1993’s Siamese Dream, had welcomed the group to mainstream audiences, often lumped with ‘90s grunge acts despite having a distinct sound of their own.
With the 1995 double-album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Smashing Pumpkins released what many pundits refer to as their masterpiece. Across 28 tracks, Billy Corgan and company stretched their boundaries, adding lush musical layers to their alt-rock sound. The group didn’t shy away from their ambitious goals, comparing their magnum opus to classic rock predecessors like Pink Floyd’s The Wall and the Beatles‘ White Album.
The release spawned multiple hit singles including “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” “1979,” “Zero” and “Tonight, Tonight.” The band kept up their status as MTV darlings, with their videos ranking among the decade’s most popular clips and earning two Video Music Awards in the process.
In all, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness would sell more than 10 million copies, earning the rare diamond status from the RIAA. The album also received seven Grammy nominations, including Album and Record of the Year.
Watch Smashing Pumpkins’ Music Video for “Tonight, Tonight”
By 1995, the Pretenders had already established themselves as a rock powerhouse, releasing six studio albums stretching back to 1979 and scoring such iconic hits as “Back on the Chain Gang,” “Brass in Pocket” and “Don’t Get Me Wrong.”
Still, the group had yet to release a live album, which would change with The Isle of View. Recorded that May during a televised performance in London, the LP would see the band augmented by other musicians, including a string quartet. Across 15 acoustic tracks, the band delved into material from throughout its impressive catalog. Damon Albarn of Blur even made an appearance, playing piano on a cover of the Kinks‘ “I Go to Sleep.”
Watch the Pretenders Perform “Back on the Chain Gang”
Bob Seger’s 1995 LP, It’s a Mystery, was notable for a different reason. Though the album featured several fan favorites, including “Lock and Load,” “Manhattan” and “Hands in the Air,” it suffered lackluster sales upon release, peaking at No. 27 on the Billboard 200 before quickly dropping off.
The LP would be Seger’s last for more than a decade. Following a successful tour with his Silver Bullet Band, the rocker decided to step away from the spotlight. “I took about a nine-year period to raise my kids,” he explained to the Contra Costa Times in 2015. “It was just really important to me to not [leave] my wife with the whole thing. And to go to all the things that you go to, whether it is cheerleading practice or marching-band practice or games or birthdays — the whole nine yards. I just wanted to be there for that.”
The rocker wouldn’t release another album until 2006, when he returned with Face the Promise.
Listen to Bob Seger’s “Lock and Load”
The final Oct. 24, 1995 release belonged to Anthrax’s seventh studio album Stomp 442. The LP was the group’s first without lead guitarist Dan Spitz, who had been with the band since 1983 and departed to pursue a career in luxury Swiss watchmaking.
Stomp 442 saw Anthrax wading into new territory, embracing grunge, straight-forward hard rock (“Fueled”) and a surprising acoustic ballad (“Bare”). The new style soured traditional Anthrax fans and failed to lure in new listeners. As a result, Stomp 442 was greeted with middling sales, snapping a string of four consecutive gold-or-better-selling albums. It also reflected bigger turbulence behind the scenes, as Anthrax were battling with their record label, Elektra.
“[The label] had gone through a complete regime change and the corporate bosses cleaned house and got rid of all the people responsible for us being there,” Scott Ian recalled in a 2014 interview with The Weeklings. “They told our management they didn’t want anything to do with Anthrax. That was a hard pill to swallow, going into that record knowing we didn’t even have a label behind us anymore. That was the beginning of a long hard road for us.”
Listen to Anthrax’s “Bare”