fter John Michael Osbourne (a.k.a. "Ozzy" born December 3, 1948 in Ashton, Birmingham, England) was given his walking papers after 11 years as the front man vocalist for Black Sabbath in 1979 after a fight with Geezer Butler in a hotel room for which he was sacked by Iommi (to whom Osbourne had riffs with since the band's founding anyway), he would form his own Blizard Of Ozz with Lee Kerslake (ex-Uriah Heep; drums), Bob Daisley (ex-Rainbow/ex-Chicken Shack; bass), Don Airey (keyboards) and Randy Rhodes (ex-Quiet Riot; guitar). The name was one he had used temporarily a year before during a 3 month hiatus from Sabbath but now it was a permanent fixture with an all-star super group. Their self-titled debut in 1980 was released on Don Arden's 'Jet' label. It hit UK top 10 and narrowly missed US top 20. The album produced dark music, widely considered Ozzy's best since his 'Sabbath days. The highlights were the tracks Crazy Train, Suicide Solution (a disguised lament to the death of AC/DC front man Bon Scott, and a song later facing the same courtroom drama as Slayer and Judas Priest) and Mr. Crowly, the song that started the trend of kids raising their fists with pinkie and index fingers raised as satanic horns. Don Airey would leave shortly after the album's completion. The album, and its follow-up, Diary Of A Madman (1981), with him assuming just his name as the band moniker, went double platinum in the US.
During this time, Ozzy's most infamous stunts were afoot, including his biting of a live dove at a record comp any meeting that year to make a point to the control freaks that operate record companies. His taste for animal blood would add bats to the menu a few months later at a concert in Des Moines when a fan threw it on stage (he subsequently underwent treatment for rabies). The following year would not be as prosperous, for band member and close friend of Ozzy, Randy Rhodes would be killed in a plane crash in March. Consolation and stability would be restored by his marriage to Don Arden's daughter, Sharon, on the 4th of July 1982; she subsequently became his manager shortly later.
Talk Of The Devil (1982; Speak of the Devil in the USA), a live album of Black Sabbath covers, would see Brad Gillis replace Rhodes temporarily until Jake E. Lee became a more permanent fixture on Bark At The Moon (1983). Down in the rhythm section, changes were also on the list with the line-up now featuring Tommy Aldridge (ex-Black Oak Arkansas) taking up the drums and Pete Way then Rudy Sarzo on bass. The album was another platinum smash.
On the subsequent US tour his stunts weren't over for Ozzy was caught urinating on the wall of the Alamo monument in San Antonio; he was subsequently charged and banned from ever playing there again; it would be well into the 1990s before he did. In 1984 Sharon attempted the first of many efforts at checking him into the Betty Ford Clinic for treatment of his long lasting drug and alcohol addictions.
Despite constant line-up changes his albums sold consistently, but just before the release of the next album, both Gillis and Sarzo would walk out, forcing Ozzy to rethink his line-up. Daisley would be back in while Carmine Appice picked up the drumsticks. This line-up wouldn't last long, however, for Jake E. Lee would rejoin while Aldridge quit. Randy Castillo (ex-Lita Ford Band) replaced Appice, with Phil Soussan taking up bass in time for The Ultimate Sin (1986) and Tribute(1987) releases. By 1988 Daisley was once again in the act, replacing Soussan who had left to join Billy Idol, with Zakk Wylde moving in on guitar briefly to replace Jake who left to rejoin Badlands. John Sinclair would then be added on keyboards while Randy Castillo took over on drums; No Rest For The Wicked (1988) would result from the changes. Randy Castillo would take over on drums while Terry "Geezer" Butler would be used on guitar for the subsequent late 1988 tour.The bass seat would later be taken by Mike Inez (ex-Alice In Chains).
Just Say Ozzy (1990) would be his live effort, the first in many years for in the late 1980s Ozzy retired to his Buckingham-shire mansion with wife and three kids (yes KIDS). He re-emerged in 1991 after being cleared of court cases claiming his Suicide Solution track of years previous encouraged the Death of three fans. No More Tears (1991) was a triumphant comeback, but he was determined to retire and engaged on a farewell tour where he broke four bones in his foot causing his performance to be hindered; the last two gigs of the tour that featured him with some buddies and former buddies, were highlighted by Rob Halford (ex-Judas Priest) fronting Black Sabbath when Rodney James Dio refused to take the stage and the subsequent talks of a Sabbath reunion came to nothing. Live & Loud a live effort emerged in 1993. Ozzmosis (1995) made top 5 in the US, a region he had managed to hold his popularity in. The album also saw some personnel changes with Dean Castronovo (ex-Wild Dogs/ex-Geezer) taking over from Castillo, and Robert Trujillo (ex-Suicidal Tendencies) taking over from Inez after the release. But the big news that the world was stunned with Ozzy's rejoining Black Sabbath for tours was still in the air.
The Ozzman Cometh was his latest "best of..."compilation in 1997, he'd be silent until 2001 when he released Down To Earth, his 13th studio effort, and the debut of Mike Bordin (ex-Faith No More) on drums taking over from Castronovo, who was leaving to join the reforming Journey. It was unlikely his next release would feature Trujillo for he joined Metallica shortly later. In 2004 a live effort would emerge titled Live At Budokan.
More news was made with the announcement of his now annual 'Ozzfest', a showcase for Metal music on tour. Ozzy, it seemed, couldn't keep his mug off the tube for in 2002 he signed a multi-million dollar deal with America's MTV that would showcase him and his family at home in real life in a sort of "reality" format.
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. The fourth disc is entirely new material where Osbourne covers his favorite songs by his biggest influences and favorite bands, including The Beatles, John Lennon, David Bowie and others.
His next releases would come as Under Cover (2005), Black Rain (2007) and Scream on June 22, 2010.
It was announced in November of 2011 during a news conference at the Whisky a Go Go club on West Hollywood's Sunset Strip 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, to be produced by Rick Rubin. Bill Ward dropped out for contractual reasons, but the project continued with Rage Against the Machine's Brad Wilk stepping in for Ward on drums. The resulting album, entitled 13, was released in June 2013.
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|RRCA File Code||REV00474|
Artists mentioned in this article:
|Black Sabbath||Judas Priest||Metallica|
|Suicidal Tendencies||Journey||Faith No More|
|Alice In Chains||Geezer||Wild Dogs|
|AC/DC||Uriah Heep||Ronnie James Dio|