Before Sharon Osborne trotted a clearly burnt out Ozzy in front of MTV cameras, and before he was only known for slurring words and eating burritos, Ozzy Osborne was, and is, the Godfather of Heavy Metal.
John Micheal Osborne was born in Birmingham, England to humble beginnings. Forays in factory work, a slaughter house and a bit of criminal activity gave way to music when Ozzy fell in love with The Beatles. After a failed attempt at starting a band with buddy Geezer Butler, Ozzy joined local blues musicians Tony Iommi (who some consider the father of the power chord) and Bruce Ward and formed Black Sabbath.
Ozzy’s unique vocals, Iommi’s guitar riffs and Sabbath’s dark and heavy sound propelled the band to superstar status. While other bands in the late 60’s where singing about Flower Power, free love and running around naked in a sunflower field, Sabbath was putting out dark songs about the occult and black magic all to Iommi’s heavy riffs.
After nearly 10 years, Sabbath broke up (probably because the contract with Satan had expired). Ozzy went on to have an extraordinary solo career (collaborating with renowned guitarists Randy Rhodes and Zak Wylde) with hit albums like Blizzard of Oz, Diary of a Madman, Bark at the Moon, and No More Tears. Along the way Ozzy developed a reputation as Rock and Roll’s premier crazy megastar. Be it biting the heads off bats, urinating on the Alamo and allegedly snorting a line of fire ants, Ozzy became a hero and icon to other rock stars.
So today let’s not remember the sober corporate TV show, and Ozzfest CEO Ozzy. Let’s remember the better times, when the Dark Lord of Rock and Roll had an insatiable appetite for booze and drugs. Let’s remember the man that re-introduced Lucifer to music. Let’s remember the man that was not afraid to ride the Crazy Train, to be Paranoid, to dine with Mr. Crowley. Happy Birthday Ozzy! May Satan keep you in his dark and terrible claws.