Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne

Osbourne in 2010.
Background information
Birth name John Michael Osbourne
Born 3 December 1948 (1948-12-03) (age 62)
Aston, Birmingham, England
Genres Heavy metal, blues rock, hard rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, actor
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1968–present
Labels Epic, CBS, Jet
Associated acts Black Sabbath, Kelly Osbourne, Black Label Society, Alice Cooper, Iommi, Rob Zombie, Slash, Firewind
Website ozzy.com

John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne (born 3 December 1948) is an English vocalist, whose musical career has spanned over 40 years. Osbourne rose to prominence as lead singer of the pioneering English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, whose radically different, intentionally dark, harder sound helped spawn the heavy metal genre.

In his subsequent solo career Osbourne achieved a multi-platinum status in addition to the one he had earned with Black Sabbath.[1] These things are what led Osbourne to become known as the "Godfather of Heavy Metal".[2] It was during his Sabbath days that, due to their dark style of music, Osbourne became known as the "Prince of Darkness".[3] Osbourne has over 15 tattoos, the most famous of which are the letters O-Z-Z-Y across the knuckles of his left hand. This was his first tattoo, created by himself as a teenager with a sewing needle and pencil lead.[4]

In the early 2000s, Osbourne's career expanded to a new medium when he became a star in his own reality show, The Osbournes, alongside wife/manager Sharon and two of their three children, Kelly and Jack. A documentary about his life and career, God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, premiered in April 2011 at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be released on DVD in November 2011.[5] As of December 2010, Osbourne has sold over 100 million albums worldwide both as a solo artist and a member of Black Sabbath.[6]


Early life

John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne was born in Aston, Birmingham, England, on 3 December 1948. His father Jack worked shifts as a toolmaker at GEC. His mother Lillian worked for the car components firm Lucas.[4][7] John was the fourth of six children. Ozzy had two brothers (Paul and Tony) and three sisters (Jean, Iris and Gillian); they lived in a small two bedroom home at 14 Lodge Road in Aston, England. The nickname "Ozzy" was first used when he was in primary school. Although called "John" by his first wife Thelma, Osbourne states that it has been a long time since he's recognised himself when called by his formal name.[8] Osbourne grew up dealing with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.[9][10] General abuse from teachers at Prince Albert Road Junior School, and Birchfield Road Secondary Modern School in Perry Barr made his childhood difficult for him. Drawn to the stage, Osbourne took part in school plays such as The Pirates of Penzance. Upon hearing their first hit single at age 14, he became a great fan of The Beatles.[4][7] He left school at 15 and was then employed as a construction site labourer, trainee plumber, apprentice toolmaker, car factory horn-tuner and slaughterhouse worker.[4] He spent six weeks in Winson Green Prison when he was unable to pay a fine after being found guilty of burglary of a clothes shop.[4]

In late 1967, Geezer Butler formed his first band "Rare Breed" with Osbourne. The band played two shows then broke up. Separated for a time, Osbourne and Butler reunited in Polka Tulk Blues along with guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward. They renamed themselves Earth, but after being booked in error instead of a small-time English circuit band with the same name, they decided to change their name again. They finally chose the name Black Sabbath in early 1969 based on a film directed by Mario Bava, starring Boris Karloff.[11] The band had noticed how people enjoyed being frightened, and, inspired, Iommi and his partners decided to play a heavy blues style of music laced with gloomy sounds and lyrics.[11] While recording their first album in a castle, Geezer read an occult book and had a dream of a dark figure at the end of his bed. Butler told Osbourne about the dream and together they wrote the lyrics to "Black Sabbath", one of their first songs in a darker vein.[12]

Musical career

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath: Osbourne (right) with Tony Iommi in 1973

Despite only a modest investment from their US record label Warner Bros. Records, Black Sabbath met with swift and enduring success. Built around Tony Iommi's guitar riffs, Geezer Butler's lyrics, Bill Ward's dark tempo drumbeats, and topped by Osbourne's eerie vocals, early records such as their debut album Black Sabbath and Paranoid sold huge numbers, as well as getting considerable airplay. Osbourne recalls a band lament, "in those days, the band wasn't very popular with the women."[8]

Just five months after the release of Paranoid the band released Master of Reality. The album reached the top ten in both the US and UK, and was certified gold in less than two months.[13] In the 1980s it received platinum certification[13] and went Double Platinum in the early 21st century.[13] Reviews of the album were unfavorable. Lester Bangs of Rolling Stone dismissed Master of Reality as "naïve, simplistic, repetitive, absolute doggerel", although the very same magazine would later place the album at number 298 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, compiled in 2003.[14] Black Sabbath's Volume 4 was released in September 1972. Critics were again dismissive of the album, yet it achieved gold status in less than a month. It was the band's fourth consecutive release to sell a million copies in the US.[15][16] In November 1973, Black Sabbath released the critically acclaimed Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. For the first time, the band received favourable reviews in the mainstream press. Gordon Fletcher of Rolling Stone called the album "an extraordinarily gripping affair", and "nothing less than a complete success".[17] AllMusic's Eduardo Rivadavia call the album a "masterpiece, essential to any heavy metal collection," while also claiming the band displayed "a newfound sense of finesse and maturity".[18] The album marked the band's fifth consecutive platinum selling album in the US,[19] Sabotage was released in July 1975. Again there were favourable reviews. Rolling Stone stated, "Sabotage is not only Black Sabbath's best record since Paranoid, it might be their best ever."[20] Allmusic was not so favourable. They noted that "the magical chemistry that made such albums as Paranoid and Volume 4 so special was beginning to disintegrate".[21] Technical Ecstasy, released on 25 September 1976, was also met with mixed reviews. AllMusic gave the album two stars, and noted that the band was "unravelling at an alarming rate".[22]

Departure from Black Sabbath

In 1978, Osbourne left the band for three months to pursue interest in a solo project he called Blizzard of Ozz.[23][24] Three members of the band Necromandus, who had supported Black Sabbath in Birmingham when they were called Earth, did backup for Osbourne in the studio and briefly became the first incarnation of his solo band. At the request of the other members, Osbourne rejoined Sabbath.[25] The band spent five months at Sounds Interchange Studios in Toronto, Canada, writing and recording what would become Never Say Die! "It took quite a long time," Iommi said. "We were getting really drugged out, doing a lot of dope. We'd go down to the sessions, and have to pack up because we were too stoned, we'd have to stop. Nobody could get anything right, we were all over the place, everybody's playing a different thing. We'd go back and sleep it off, and try again the next day."[26] Touring in support of Never Say Die! began in May 1978 with openers Van Halen. Reviewers called Black Sabbath's performance "tired and uninspired," in stark contrast to the "youthful" performance of Van Halen, who were touring the world for the first time.[27] The band filmed a performance at the Hammersmith Odeon in June 1978, which was later released on DVD as Never Say Die. The final show of the tour, and Osbourne's last appearance with the band (until later reunions) was in Albuquerque, New Mexico on 11 December.

In 1979, back in the studio tensions and conflict were present continually. Osbourne recalls being asked to record his vocals over and over, and tracks being manipulated endlessly by Iommi.[28] This was a point of contention between Osbourne and Iommi. With the support of Geezer and Bill Ward, Osbourne was again fired from Black Sabbath. The reasons provided to him were that he was unreliable and had excessive substance abuse issues as compared to the other band members. Osbourne claims his drug use and alcohol consumption at that time were no better nor worse than that of the other band members.[29]

Conflict of a sort had existed between Iommi and Osbourne from the beginning. When responding to a flyer reading "Ozzy Zig Needs Gig- has own PA"[30] posted in a record store, Iommi and Ward arrived at the address listed to speak with Ozzy Zig. When Osbourne answered the door, Iommi left upon discovering it was him. He knew of and disliked Osbourne from back in their school days.[8] The band replaced him with former Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio.[12]

Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman

In 1980, under the management of Osbourne's then girlfriend (later wife), Sharon Arden, the Ozzy Osbourne Band formed again as The Blizzard of Ozz. The first line-up of the band featured drummer Lee Kerslake (of Uriah Heep), bassist/lyricist Bob Daisley (of Rainbow and later Uriah Heep), keyboardist Don Airey, and guitarist Randy Rhoads (of Quiet Riot). The record company would eventually title the record Blizzard of Ozz credited simply under Osbourne's name. Co-written with Daisley and Rhoads, the album brought Osbourne considerable success on his first solo effort. The debut sold very well with hard rock/heavy metal fans.[11]

Osbourne performing in Cardiff, 1981

Blizzard of Ozz is one of the very few albums amongst the 100 best selling albums of the 1980s to have achieved multi-platinum status without the benefit of a Top 40 single. As of August 1997, it achieved Quadruple Platinum status according to RIAA. The album is known for the globally recognised singles "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley," and fan favourites "Goodbye to Romance" and "Revelation (Mother Earth)". Although Kerslake and Daisley are credited as the studio musicians for The Blizzard of Ozz, the touring band in support of the album consisted of Osbourne, Rhoads, Rudy Sarzo (Bass) and Tommy Aldridge (Drums).

Osbourne's second album, Diary of a Madman featured more songs co-written with Bob Daisley. For his work on this album and his first, Randy Rhoads,[11] was ranked the 85th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2003.[31] This album is known for the singles "Over the Mountain" and "Flying High Again"; additionally, Osbourne explains in his autobiography that Diary is his own personal favourite album.[8]

On 19 March 1982 while Rhoads was in Florida for the follow-up Diary of a Madman tour, and a week away from playing Madison Square Garden in New York City, a light aircraft piloted by Andrew Aycock (the band's tour bus driver) carrying guitarist Randy Rhoads crashed while performing low passes over the band's tour bus. In a prank turned deadly, the right wing of the aircraft clipped the bus, grazed a tree, and crashed into the attached garage of a nearby mansion killing Rhoads, Aycock, and the band's hairdresser, Rachel Youngblood. On autopsy, cocaine was found to be present in Aycock's urine.[32] Experiencing firsthand the horrific death of his close friend and band mate, Osbourne fell into a deep depression.

Ex-Gillan guitarist Bernie Torme was the first guitarist to replace Randy once the tour resumed. Torme's tenure with the band would last less than one month. During an audition for guitarists in a hotel room, Osbourne selected Brad Gillis (who went on to be one of two guitarists in Night Ranger) to finish the tour. The tour culminated in the release of the 1982 live album, Speak of the Devil recorded at the Ritz in New York City. A live tribute album for Rhoads was also later released.

Speak of the Devil

Despite the difficulties, Osbourne moved on after Rhoads' death. Speak of the Devil, known in the United Kingdom as Talk of the Devil, was originally planned to consist of live recordings from 1981, primarily from Osbourne's solo work. Under contract to produce a live album the it ended up consisting entirely of Black Sabbath covers, recorded with Brad Gillis, bassist Rudy Sarzo, and drummer Tommy Aldridge. Osbourne later commented (inside the cover of "Tribute") "I don't give a fuck about that album. It was just a bunch of bullshit Sabbath covers."

In 1982, Osbourne appeared as lead vocalist on the Was (Not Was) pop dance track "Shake Your Head (Let's Go to Bed)." Madonna performed backing vocals. Osbourne's cut was remixed and re-released in the early 1990s for a Was (Not Was) greatest hits album in Europe, and it cracked the UK pop chart. Madonna asked that her vocal not be restored for the hits package, so new vocals by Kim Basinger were added to complement Osbourne's lead.

Bark at the Moon, The Ultimate Sin and No Rest for the Wicked

In 1983 a new guitarist was recruited to play with Osbourne. Jake E. Lee, formerly of Ratt and Rough Cutt, joined the band to record Bark at the Moon. The album, co-written with Bob Daisley, featured Tommy Aldridge, and former Rainbow keyboard player Don Airey. The album contains the fan favourite "Bark at the Moon." The music video for "Bark at the Moon" was partially filmed at the Holloway Sanitorium outside of London, England. Within weeks the album became certified gold. To date it has sold three million copies in the U.S.[33]

1986's The Ultimate Sin followed (with bassist Phil Soussan and drummer Randy Castillo), and touring behind both albums with ex-Uriah Heep keyboardist John Sinclair joining prior to the Ultimate Sin tour. A rich, bold album, it features "Shot in the Dark" and fan favourites "Killer of Giants," "Lightning Strikes," and "Secret Loser." At the time of its release, The Ultimate Sin was Osbourne's highest charting studio album. The RIAA awarded the album Platinum status on 14 May 1986, soon after its release; it was awarded Double Platinum status on 26 October 1994.[34]

Jake E. Lee and Osbourne parted ways in 1987. Osbourne continued to struggle with chemical dependency. That year he commemorated the fifth anniversary of Rhoads' death with Tribute, live recordings from 1981 that had gone unreleased for years. In 1988, Osbourne appeared in The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years and told the director, Penelope Spheeris, that "sobriety fucking sucks." Meanwhile, Osbourne found Zakk Wylde, who was the most enduring replacement for Rhoads to date. Together they recorded No Rest for the Wicked with Castillo on drums, Sinclair on keyboards, and Daisley co-writing lyrics and playing bass. The subsequent tour saw Osbourne reunited with erstwhile Black Sabbath bandmate Geezer Butler on bass. A live EP (entitled Just Say Ozzy) featuring Geezer was released two years later. Butler continued to tour with Osbourne for the subsequent four tours, and was a major stage presence throughout. In 1989, Ozzy Osbourne performed at the Moscow Music Peace Festival.

No More Tears

While very successful as a heavy metal act through the 1980s, Osbourne sustained commercial success into the 1990s, starting with 1991's No More Tears. The album enjoyed much radio and MTV exposure. It also initiated a practise of bringing in outside composers to help pen Osbourne's solo material instead of relying solely upon his recording ensemble to write and arrange the music. The album was mixed by veteran rock producer Michael Wagener. Osbourne was awarded his only Grammy for the track "I Don't Want to Change the World" from live album Live and Loud for Best Metal Performance of 1994.[35]

Wagener also mixed the live album Live and Loud released in 28 June 1993. At the time, it was to be Osbourne's final album. The album went platinum four times over,[36] and ranked at number 10 on that year's Billboard rock charts.

At this point Osbourne expressed his fatigue with the process of touring, and proclaimed his "retirement tour" (which was to be short-lived). It was comically called "No More Tours", a pun on his No More Tears album. Prior to the tour Mike Inez took over on bass and Kevin Jones on keyboards as Sinclair was touring with The Cult. Osbourne's entire CD catalogue was remastered and reissued in 1995.


In 1995, Osbourne released Ozzmosis and returned to touring, dubbing his concert performances "The Retirement Sucks Tour". The album reached number 4 on the US Billboard 200. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album gold and platinum in that same year, and 2x platinum in April 1999.[37] The album features the hard rocking fan favourites "Perry Mason," "Ghost Behind My Eyes," "Thunder Underground," and the power ballad "See You on the Other Side."

The line-up on "Ozzmosis" was Zakk Wylde, Geezer Butler (who had just quit Black Sabbath again) and ex-Bad English, Steve Vai and Hardline drummer Deen Castronovo, now in Journey. Keyboards were played by Yes's Rick Wakeman and producer Michael Beinhorn. The tour maintained Butler and Castronovo and saw Sinclair return, but a major line-up change was the introduction of ex-David Lee Roth guitarist Joe Holmes. Wylde was considering an offer to join Guns N' Roses. Unable to wait for a decision on Wylde's departure decision, Osbourne replaced him. In early 1996, Butler and Castronovo left. Mike Inez (Alice In Chains) and Randy Castillo (Lita Ford, Motley Crue) filled in. Ultimately, Faith No More's Mike Bordin and ex-Suicidal Tendencies bassist Robert Trujillo joined on drums and bass respectively. A greatest hits package, The Ozzman Cometh was issued in 1997.


Osbourne's biggest financial success of the 1990s was a venture named Ozzfest, created and managed by his wife/manager Sharon and assisted by his son Jack. The first Ozzfest was held in Phoenix, Arizona on 25 October 1996 and in Devore, California on 26 October. Ozzfest was an instant hit with metal fans, spiralling many up-and-coming groups who were featured there to broad exposure and commercial success. Some acts shared the bill with a reformed Black Sabbath during the 1997 Ozzfest tour, beginning in West Palm Beach, Florida. Osbourne reunited with the original members of Sabbath in 1997 and has performed periodically with them ever since. Ozzfest reinstated the integrity of, and public familiarity with, the band name Black Sabbath.

Since its start, five million people have attended Ozzfest, which has grossed over US$100 million. The festival also helped promote many new hard rock and heavy metal acts of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Ozzfest helped Osbourne to become the first hard rock and heavy metal star to hit $50 million in merchandise sales.

In 2005, Osbourne and his wife Sharon starred in an MTV competition reality show entitled "Battle for Ozzfest". A number of yet unsigned bands send one member to compete in a challenge to win a spot on the 2005 Ozzfest and a possible recording contract.

Shortly after Ozzfest 2005, Osbourne announced that he will no longer headline Ozzfest. Although he announced his retirement from Ozzfest, Osbourne came back for one more year, 2006, albeit only closing for just over half the concerts, leaving the others to be closed by System of a Down. He also played the closing act for the second stage at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA on 1 July as well as Randall's Island, NY on 29 July. After the concert in Bristol, Virginia, Osbourne announced he would return for another year of Ozzfest in 2007. Tickets for the 2007 tour were offered to fans free of charge, which led to some controversy. In 2008, Ozzfest was reduced to a one-day event in Dallas, Texas, where Osbourne played, along with Metallica and King Diamond.

Osbourne says he is looking forward to the return of Ozzfest for six dates this summer and is also looking at an 18-month world tour starting at The Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone on 29 June to promote his new album, "Scream."[38]

Down to Earth

Osbourne on tour in Japan

Down to Earth, Osbourne's first album of new studio material in seven years, was released on 16 October 2001. A live version filmed in Japan, Live at Budokan followed. Down to Earth went gold in 2001, and platinum in 2003. The album features the fan favourite "Dreamer," a song which peaked at number 10 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks.[39] In 2003, Osbourne recruited former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted after he left the band in 2000 (and Trujillo replaced him on Metallica's line-up). Both Newsted and Osbourne were enthusiastic about recording an album together.

On 8 December 2003, Osbourne was rushed into emergency surgery at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, England when he had an accident with his all-terrain vehicle on his estate in Jordans, Buckinghamshire Osbourne broke his collar bone, eight ribs, and a neck vertebra. An operation was performed to lift the collarbone, which was believed to be resting on a major artery and interrupting blood flow to the arm. Sharon later revealed that Osbourne had stopped breathing following the crash and was resuscitated by Osbourne's then personal bodyguard, Sam Ruston. While in hospital, Osbourne achieved his first ever UK number one single, a duet of the Black Sabbath ballad, "Changes" with daughter Kelly. In doing so, he broke the record of the longest period between an artist's first UK chart appearance (with Black Sabbath's "Paranoid", number four in August 1970) and their first number one hit: a gap of 33 years. Since the quad accident, aside from some short-term memory problems, he fully recovered and headlined the 2004 Ozzfest, in the reunited Black Sabbath.

Prince of Darkness

In 2005, Osbourne released a box set called Prince of Darkness. The first and second discs are collections of live performances, B-sides, demos and singles. The third disc contained duets and other odd tracks with other artists, including "Born to Be Wild" with Miss Piggy. The fourth disc is entirely new material where Osbourne covers his favourite songs by his biggest influences and favourite bands, including The Beatles, John Lennon, David Bowie and others.

Black Rain

In March 2006, he said that he hoped to release a new studio album soon with long time on-off guitarist, Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society. In October 2006, it was announced that Tony Iommi, Ronnie James Dio, Vinny Appice, and Geezer Butler would be touring together again, though not as Black Sabbath, but under the moniker Heaven and Hell (the title of Dio's first Black Sabbath album). The response to the news on Osbourne's website was that Osbourne wished Tony and Ronnie well and that there is only one Sabbath.

Osbourne's album, titled Black Rain, was released on 22 May 2007. Osbourne's first new studio album in almost six years, it featured a more serious tone than previous albums. "I thought I'd never write again without any stimulation...But you know what? Instead of picking up the bottle I just got honest and said, 'I don't want life to go (to pieces)'", Osbourne stated in a Billboard interview.[40]


Osbourne at Blizzcon, 2009.

Osbourne revealed in July 2009 that he was currently seeking a new guitar player. While he states that he has not fallen out with Zakk Wylde, he said he felt his songs were beginning to sound like Black Label Society and fancied a change.[41] In August 2009, Osbourne performed at the gaming festival BlizzCon with a new guitarist in his line-up, Gus G (Firewind, ex-Nightrage, ex-Dream Evil).[42] Osbourne also provided his voice and likeness to the video game Brütal Legend character The Guardian of Metal.[43] In November, Slash featured Osbourne on vocals in his single "Crucify The Dead,"[44] and Osbourne with wife Sharon were guest hosts on WWE Monday Night Raw.[45] In December, Osbourne announced he would be releasing a new album titled Soul Sucka with Gus G, Tommy Clufetos (formerly supporting Rob Zombie, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper) on drums, and Blasko (formerly supporting Rob Zombie) on bass.[46] Negative fan feedback was brought to Osbourne's attention regarding the album title. In respect of fan opinion, on 29 March Osbourne announced his album would be renamed Scream.[47]

On 13 April 2010, Osbourne announced the release date for Scream would be 15 June 2010.[48] The release date was later changed to 22 June. A single from the album, "Let Me Hear You Scream," debuted on 14 April 2010 episode of CSI: NY. The song spent 8 weeks on the Billboard Rock Songs, peaking at #7. Other songs from the album include "Let it Die," "Digging Me Down," "Fearless," and "I Want it More."

Osbourne held a Meet-And-Greet album signing at the main branch of HMV in his home-town Birmingham, followed later that day by an intimate show in the Birmingham Town Hall. The first four hundred fans that arrived at the store earlier in the day were given wrist bands, enabling free access to the show.

On 9 August, Ozzy announced that the second single from the album would be "Life Won't Wait" and the video for the song would be directed by his son Jack.

When asked of his opinions on Scream in an interview, Osbourne announced that he is "already thinking about the next album". Osbourne's current drummer, Tommy Clufetos, has reflected this sentiment, saying that ""We are already coming up with new ideas backstage, in the hotel rooms and at soundcheck and have a bunch of ideas recorded"[49]

Reuniting with Black Sabbath

It was announced on 11 November 2011 during news conference at the Sunset Strip club Whisky a Go Go that the original Black Sabbath line up of Ozzy, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward would reunite for a world tour and new album, which will be produced by Rick Rubin.[50]

Other work

Osbourne achieved greater celebrity status via the unlikely success of his own brand of reality television. The Osbournes, a series featuring the domestic life of Osbourne and his family (wife Sharon, children Jack and Kelly and occassional appearances from his son Louis, but not their eldest daughter Aimee, who declined to participate). The program became one of MTV's greatest hits. It premiered on 5 March 2002, and the final episode aired 21 March 2005. To this day Osbourne refuses to watch any episodes, claiming he was stoned during the entire filming.[51]

The success of The Osbournes led Osbourne and the rest of his family the opportunity to host the 30th Annual American Music Awards in January 2003.[52][53] The night was marked with constant "bleeping" due to some of the lewd and raunchy remarks made by Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. Presenter Patricia Heaton walked out midway in disgust.[54]

Ozzy Osbourne appears in a commercial for the online video game World of Warcraft.[55] Osbourne is a supporter of English association football club Aston Villa, as he grew up in the Aston area close to Villa Park.[56]

Osbourne published a humorous autobiography in October 2009, titled I Am Ozzy.[29] Osbourne says ghost writer Chris Ayres told the singer he has enough material for a second book. A movie adaptation of I Am Ozzy is also in the works, and Osbourne says he hopes "an unknown guy from England" will get the role over an established actor. Meanwhile, his son Jack is working on a documentary about Osbourne's life and career.[38]

Osbourne also made an appearance at the 30 October 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington D.C.


Ozzy Osbourne has been awarded several times for his contributions to the music community.

In 1994, he was awarded a Grammy Award for the track "I Don't Want to Change the World" from Live & Loud for Best Metal Performance of 1994.[35]

In 2004, he received an NME award for "godlike genius".

In 2005, he was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame along with the other members of Black Sabbath. Osbourne mooned the crowd because of the poor reception given the band while they were playing.

In 2006 was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame with Black Sabbath band mates Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, and Geezer Butler.

In 2007, Osbourne was honoured at the second annual VH1 Rock Honors, along with Genesis, Heart, and ZZ Top. In addition, that year a bronze star honouring Osbourne was placed on Broad Street in Birmingham, England while Osbourne watched. On 18 May Osbourne had received notice that he would be the first inductee into The Birmingham Walk of Stars. He was presented the award by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. "I am really honoured," he said, "All my family is here and I thank everyone for this reception – I'm absolutely knocked out".[57]

In 2008, Osbourne was crowned with the prestigious Living Legend award in the Classic Rock Roll of Honor. Past recipients include Alice Cooper, Lemmy, Jimmy Page and Slash, the former Guns N' Roses guitarist, presented the award.[58]

In 2010, Osbourne won the "Literary Achievement" honour for his memoir, I Am Ozzy, at the Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studio in Culver City, California. Osbourne was presented with the award by Sir Ben Kingsley. The book debuted at No. 2 on the New York Times' hardcover non-fiction best-seller list.[59]

Osbourne was also a judge for the 6th and 10th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.[60]

Personal life

Marriages and family

Osbourne has been married twice and is the father of six children (five biological, and one adopted). He was first married to Thelma Riley (now a teacher in Leicestershire) and adopted her son, Elliot Kingsley (1966); together they had Jessica Starshine Osbourne Hobbs (20 January 1972) and Louis John Osbourne (1975).[citation needed]

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne

He later married Sharon Arden and had three children with her. They are Aimee Osbourne (2 September 1983), Kelly Osbourne (27 October 1984) and Jack Osbourne (8 November 1985). They also took in family friend Robert Marcato after his mother died, but never legally adopted him. Osbourne also has four grandchildren, granddaughter Isabelle and grandson Harry from Jessica, and granddaughter Mia and grandson Elijah from Louis. He wrote a song for his daughter Aimee, which appeared as a b-side on the album Ozzmosis. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Buckinghamshire.[citation needed]

It was reported by the New York Times in 1992 that Osbourne was a member of the Church of England and prayed before each show.[61]

In 2002, Osbourne and wife Sharon were invited to the White House Correspondents' Association dinner by Fox News Channel correspondent Greta Van Susteren for that year's event. President Bush noted Osbourne's presence by joking: "The thing about Ozzy is, he's made a lot of big hit recordings – 'Party with the Animals', 'Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath', 'Facing Hell', 'Black Skies' and 'Bloodbath in Paradise'. Ozzy, Mom loves your stuff."[62]

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are one of the UK's richest couples, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. They ranked at number 458 in 2005, with an estimated £100 million earned from recording, touring and TV shows.

Drug and alcohol abuse

Ozzy Osbourne (right) with Vince Neil (of Mötley Crüe) in 1984

Osbourne has abused drugs and alcohol for most of his life.[63] Although clean and sober now,[64] Osbourne has frequently commented on his former wild lifestyle, puzzled at how he has survived 40 years of abuse.[65]

Upon being fired from Black Sabbath in 1979, Osbourne spent the next three months locked in his hotel room taking vast amounts of drugs and alcohol all day, every day.[66] He claims that he would certainly have died if his future wife Sharon Osbourne (formerly Sharon Arden), had not offered to manage him as a solo artist.[67]

In 1982 while wearing his future wife Sharon's dress because she had hidden his clothes, Osbourne drunkenly urinated on a cenotaph erected in honour of those who died at the Alamo in Texas, across the street from the actual building.[68] A police officer arrested him,[69] and Osbourne was subsequently banned from the city of San Antonio for a decade.[70] He was later arrested May 1984 in Memphis, Tennessee, again for public intoxication.[71]

In 1984, Osbourne toured with Mötley Crüe. The tour is known as one of the "craziest drug and alcohol-fuelled tours in the history of rock and roll".[66] It is rumoured that while heavily intoxicated, Osbourne snorted a line of ants, in competition with Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe, who had set fire to himself the night before.[72]

Osbourne experienced tremors for some years and linked them to his continuous drug abuse. In May 2005 he found out it was actually Parkin Syndrome, a genetic condition, the symptoms of which are very similar to Parkinson's disease. Osbourne will have to take daily medication for the rest of his life to combat the involuntary shudders associated with the condition.[73] Osbourne has also shown symptoms of mild hearing loss, as depicted in the television show, The Osbournes, where he often asks his family to repeat what they say. At the TEDMED Conference in October 2010, scientists from Knome joined Osbourne on stage to discuss their analysis of Osbourne’s whole genome, which shed light on how the famously hard-living rocker has survived decades of drug abuse.[74]

Condemnation and lawsuits

Osbourne, flanked by Philadelphia police officers, leaves Borders in Center City after signing copies of his new autobiography, I Am Ozzy on 27 Jan. 2010.

Early on in his career, Christian groups accused Osbourne of being a negative influence for teenagers, and that rock music's messages in songs, actions, and stage decorations were portrayals of devil worship used only to glorify Satanism. At least one scholar, Christopher M. Moreman, has compared the controversy surrounding Osbourne and accusations of Satanism to those levelled against the renowned occultist Aleister Crowley. Both were demonised by the media and some religious groups for their antics. Osbourne tempts the comparison with his song "Mr. Crowley". Both Osbourne and Crowley enjoyed the infamy of being labelled Satanists, though Osbourne firmly denies the charge. Some critics[who?] condemn both men as anti-Christian.[75]

In 1981, after signing his first solo career record deal, Osbourne bit the head off a dove during a meeting with some record-company executives in Los Angeles.[76] Apparently he had planned to release doves into the air as a sign of peace, but due to being intoxicated at the time, he instead grabbed a dove and bit its head off. He then spat the head out,[76][77] with blood still dripping from his lips. Despite its controversy, this act has been parodied and alluded to several times throughout his career and is part of what made Ozzy Osbourne famous.[69]

On 20 January 1982, Osbourne bit the head off a bat[78] he thought was rubber while performing at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa. Rolling Stone magazine in 2004 ranked this incident number two on its list of "Rock's Wildest Myths."[79] While the Rolling Stone article stated the bat was alive, the teen who threw it onto the stage said it was brought to the show dead.[76] According to Osbourne himself in the booklet to the 2002 edition of Diary of a Madman, the bat was not only alive but also managed to bite him, resulting in his having to take rabies shots.

In 1985, California teenager John McCollum committed suicide while listening to Ozzy Osbourne's "Suicide Solution." The song deals with the dangers of alcohol abuse. McCollums' suicide led to allegations that Osbourne promoted suicide in his songs. Despite knowing McCollum suffered clinical depression, his parents sued Ozzy Osbourne (McCollum v. CBS[80]) for their son's death, claiming the lyrics in the song, "Where to hide, suicide is the only way out. Don't you know what it's really about?" convinced McCollum to commit suicide. The family's lawyer suggested that Osbourne should be criminally charged for encouraging a young person to commit suicide, but the courts ruled in Osbourne's favour, saying there was no connection between the song and McCollum's suicide. Osbourne was sued for the same reason in 1991 (Waller v. Osbourne), by the parents of Michael Waller, for $9 million, but the courts ruled in Osbourne's favour in that case as well.[81] One critic claims that Osbourne sings "Get the gun, get the gun, shoot, shoot, shoot," a charge firmly denied by him.

In lawsuits filed in 2000 and 2002 which were dismissed by the courts in 2003, former session musicians Bob Daisley, Lee Kerslake, and Phil Soussan claimed that Osbourne was delinquent in paying them royalties and had denied them due credit on albums they played on.[82][83] In November 2003, a Federal Appeals Court unanimously upheld the dismissal by the United States District Court in Los Angeles of the lawsuit brought by Daisley and Kerslake. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Osbourne does not owe any royalties or credit to the former session musicians, who were let go in 1981.[84] To resolve further issues, management chose to replace Daisley and Kerslake's contributions on the original masters, replacing them with Robert Trujillo on bass and Mike Bordin on drums. The albums were then reissued.[85]

In July 2010, Osbourne and Iommi decided to discontinue the court proceedings over ownership of the Black Sabbath trademark. As reported to Blabbermouth, "Both parties are glad to put this behind them and to cooperate together for the future and would like it to be known that the issue was never personal, it was always business."[86]

Band members

Current members (as of 2010)
Recording timeline
Role Album
Blizzard of Ozz
Diary of a Madman
Bark at the Moon
The Ultimate Sin
No Rest for the Wicked
No More Tears
Down to Earth
Black Rain
Guitars Randy Rhoads Jake E. Lee Zakk Wylde Gus G.
Bass Bob Daisley Phil Soussan Bob Daisley Geezer Butler Robert Trujillo Rob Nicholson
Drums Lee Kerslake Tommy Aldridge Randy Castillo Deen Castronovo Mike Bordin Tommy Clufetos
Keyboards Don Airey Johnny Cook Don Airey Mike Moran John Sinclair Rick Wakeman Tim Palmer/Michael Railo Zakk Wylde Adam Wakeman


Solo albums


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