“I grew up in Aston, and my family was poor. As a child I feared everyone and constantly portrayed myself as an idiot so people wouldn’t touch me.”
John Michael Osbourne was born on December 3, 1948 in Birmingham, England. He has three older sisters named Jean, Iris, and Gillian, and two younger brothers named Paul and Tony. The nickname “Ozzy” has been with him since primary school. Some say that it is just his distorted surname, but another claim states, that “Ozzy” has stuck to him because then he liked the book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, which he often cited.
“You can’t accidentally become a freak for life. You need to work for it.”
Osbourne left the school when he was 15 and went through being a construction site labourer, apprentice toolmaker, trainee plumber, car factory horn-tuner and abattoir worker. It was around that time when young Osbourne committed burglary and spent six weeks in Winson Green Prison because he was unable to pay the fine. In the prison Ozzy Osbourne got a tattoo on the fingers of his left hand, which read “OZZY”.
“Discussions about metal and hard… I won’t sign under any of those words. Rock is just a good music. You need to listen to it, not talk about it.”
Upon release from prison Ozzy Osbourne tried himself in music and became a vocalist of a group called Music Machine. Later he came up with an idea of establishing his own group and announced his search for like-minded through the local newspaper. He was joined by Terence Butler, who by the time has been improving his electric guitar skills. A little bit later they were accompanied by Anthony Lommi and Bill Ward. The newly founded group was given the name “Earth”, which has later been switched to Black Sabbath.
“Real music and fashion are incompatible. I rarely listen to new groups. Most of the time it’s them who listen to my music… Sometimes they come to me with words: “You have a great impact on our music!”. And I don’t understand what that means. We did not seek to influence anyone. We just played our music. And I advise you to always stick to that approach.”
During the end of 60’s the group performed in different clubs. It was then that the musicians learned there was another group under the name of “Earth”, so they had to rename the group into Black Sabbath in honor of their first music video.
In 1970 the group recorded a self-titled album on their first vinyl which was published on February 13. Although, despite commercial success not only in America, but also in the UK, the group got many negative reviews from musical critics. According to Osbourne, their grand success was possible nevertheless, thanks to the devotion of the Black Sabbath’s fans.
In 1975 members of Black Sabbath decided to change the manager of the group, so Don Arden, whose daughter Sharon later became Osbourne’s wife, took managing responsibilities.
In 1977 Osbourne left Black Sabbath due to his problems with drugs and alcohol. Ozzy and the group confessed in an interview that his departure was more of a dismissal. Although, even after leaving Osbourne stated that he didn’t feel any regret.
“While climbing up you will meet many different people. Don’t offend them, because you’ll meet them again when you fall.”
After leaving Black Sabbath Osbourne spent his time in idleness and drunk. That was until Sharon Arden, the daughter of Black Sabbath’s manager, tried to convince him to form a new band. To be able to release a new album Osbourne needed to contract with any recording company. After being rejected many times Osbourne managed to reach an agreement with CBS which, however, did not treat him as seriously as he anticipated.
Ozzy Osbourne is known for his eccentric antics on the stage. One of the famous ones was in 1982, when during performance he was thrown at a live bat. Osbourne mistook the bat with a toy and decided to provoke the audience by biting it. Alas, the bite did not remain unanswered, and the bat bit him back. Stunned rocker was taken to a hospital to be vaccinated against rabies, where he started barking at his nurse, later stating that it was due to him “getting sick with rabies”.
“I don’t have hobbies. I don’t like gardening, I don’t collect stamps. I only collect bottles of beer that I’ve drunk and my trials.”
In 1986 Ozzy Osbourne was arrested on a plane in Los Angeles and was accused for the death of a 19 year old teen who shot himself. It was claimed that the reason of the suicide was Osbourne’s song “Suicide Solution”. The accusatory stated that it contained unusual sounds which affected subconscious and hypnotized the listener. Osbourne’s lawyers were able to prove that the music did not contain outsider noises, noting that the lyrics would be changed if demanded by the US Constitution.
In 1997 Ozzy temporarily reunited with Black Sabbath and arranged an international tour. Although, only two songs were recorded and the promised album has been never released.
“I was just myself. And of course I got lucky with manager.”
Still, Osbourne managed to found the annual rock-festival Ozzfest with support of his wife Sharon, one of the biggest metal-festivals in USA. It was attended by Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Linkin Park, Slayer, System of a Down, Korn, Slipknot, Marlin Manson, Metallica and other famous “hard” groups. Thanks to Ozzfest, Osbourne managed to return his former popularity.
“Lately I felt myself like fifteen year old dude. Because I take good care of myself. I got engaged in training, stopped drinking…”
In 2010 Osbourne decided to devote his body to science, claiming that his organism is unique. Knome Company assured him that they will compose genetic card for the musician, so they can find out how he is still alive. Later the study showed that Osbourne has more tolerance to alcohol and drugs than average people.
Ozzy Osbourne’s longevity and success have earned him the informal title of “Godfather of Heavy Metal”. In 2002, MTV in England and Ireland showed a documentary series about Ozzy Osbourne and his family named “The Osbourne”. During the first season the reality-show was recognized as the most viewed in the channel’s history.
Ozzy Osbourne is a winner of numerous awards, such as Classic Rock magazine’s award “A Living Legend”, as well as the Kerrang! Magazine’s “Legend” nominee. Other than that, he has a star on a Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.