Ozzy Osbourne: The Prince of Darkness’s most shocking moments
In the heart of Birmingham, England in the late 1960s, a musical revolution was brewing. Little did the world know that from the industrial roots of this English city, a force of darkness would emerge to redefine heavy metal and change the face of rock music forever. This force, none other than BLACK SABBATH, would serve as the birthplace for a charismatic and enigmatic frontman, Ozzy Osbourne, whose journey would extend far beyond the thunderous riffs of SABBATH and into the realms of solo stardom, reality television, and an eventual farewell to the touring stage.
Chapter 1: Birth of Darkness – BLACK SABBATH (Late 60s – Late 70s)
The tale begins in 1968 when four musicians—Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and a young John Michael Osbourne (nicknamed “Ozzy“) —united to form a band that would soon become synonymous with heavy metal. BLACK SABBATH emerged from the foggy streets of Birmingham, bringing a new sound that was heavier, darker, and more foreboding than anything the world had heard before.
Ozzy, or the “Prince of Darkness” as he would later be crowned, lent his distinctive vocals to the band’s eponymous debut album, released in 1970. The haunting melodies of tracks like “Black Sabbath” and “N.I.B.” set the stage for a musical genre that would resonate across generations. The album’s thunderous success paved the way for a string of iconic releases, including “Paranoid” (1970), “Master of Reality” (1971), and “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (1973), solidifying BLACK SABBATH as one of the most influential bands in the history of rock.
Ozzy‘s stage presence was a whirlwind of energy, often characterized by his unique vocal delivery and an uncanny ability to connect with audiences on a visceral level. However, amid the success, the Prince of Darkness faced personal struggles, battling substance abuse and the pressures of fame. Despite these challenges, BLACK SABBATH‘s influence continued to grow, leaving an indelible mark on the evolving landscape of rock music.
Chapter 2: The Bat-Biting Madman – Ozzy’s Solo Ascent (1980s – 1990s)
As the 1970s came to a close, tensions within BLACK SABBATH led to Ozzy‘s departure from the band in 1979. Little did the world know that this would mark the beginning of an era dominated by the bat-biting madman himself.
Ozzy Osbourne‘s solo career kicked off with a bang in 1980 with the release of “Blizzard of Ozz.” The album showcased his ability to reinvent himself and stay relevant in a rapidly changing musical landscape. Hits like “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley” solidified his solo standing, and the bat incident (which we’ll get into a little more in the below list) during a live performance only added to his mystique.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Ozzy Osbourne released a string of successful albums, including “Diary of a Madman” (1981), “Bark at the Moon” (1983), and “No More Tears” (1991). His collaboration with legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads on the early albums left an everlasting impact on the world of guitar-driven music.
Ozzy‘s solo career wasn’t just about the music; it was about creating a larger-than-life persona. The “Prince of Darkness” embraced his role as a rock icon, with his wild stage antics, trademark sunglasses, and a voice that could send shivers down anyone’s spine. His willingness to push boundaries and embrace controversy only added to his allure.
In the 1990s, the iconic heavy metal pioneers BLACK SABBATH experienced a monumental reunion that marked a significant chapter in their storied career. The original lineup, featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward, came together once again to the delight of their fervent fanbase.
This reunion, often referred to as the “Reunion Tour,” began in 1997 and not only saw the return of the classic lineup but also resulted in the recording of a live album titled “Reunion.” The album featured electrifying performances of timeless classics, reigniting the band’s musical legacy. BLACK SABBATH‘s return to the stage in the 1990s not only solidified their status as pioneers of heavy metal but also served as a triumphant celebration of their enduring influence on the genre.
Chapter 3: Reality Bites – The Osbournes (Early 2000s)
Just when you thought Ozzy Osbourne couldn’t become any more of a household name, enter the early 2000s and the reality show that would redefine celebrity life: “The Osbournes.” Premiering in 2002, the MTV show gave viewers an unprecedented look into the eccentric, chaotic, and surprisingly endearing world of the Osbourne family.
The show, centered around Ozzy, his wife Sharon, and their children Jack and Kelly, provided an unfiltered peek into the rockstar’s domestic life. From bathtubs filled with bubbles to the infamous “Osbourne bleep,” the reality series offered a side of Ozzy that fans had never seen before. The show’s success catapulted the Osbourne family to pop culture stardom, with Ozzy becoming an unlikely reality TV sensation.
While “The Osbournes” brought laughter and entertainment to millions, it also laid bare the challenges faced by the Osbourne family. Ozzy‘s ongoing struggles with addiction and the toll of life in the spotlight were not glossed over. The raw and honest portrayal of these struggles added a layer of authenticity to the show, making it more than just a typical reality series.
Chapter 4: The Final Tour – A Farewell to the Road (2010 – 2020s)
As the years rolled on, Ozzy Osbourne, now a living legend in the world of rock, decided it was time to bid farewell to the touring life. The “No More Tours 2” farewell tour, which kicked off in 2018, was intended to be the final curtain call for the Prince of Darkness on the global stage.
The tour, spanning multiple continents and featuring numerous guest appearances, was a testament to Ozzy‘s enduring influence and the love his fans had for him. Despite health setbacks, including battles with pneumonia and a fall at home, Ozzy pressed on, showing a resilience that mirrored his storied career.
The finality of the tour didn’t just mark the end of an era for Ozzy but also prompted reflections on the impact he had on the world of music. Fans from different generations flocked to witness the culmination of a career that spanned over five decades. The tour was more than just a series of concerts; it was a celebration of a musical legacy that had left an indelible mark on the annals of rock history.
But that wasn’t quite the end.
Ozzy Osbourne would go on to announce another European tour, featuring special guests JUDAS PRIEST, which was set to commence in 2019 but was rescheduled three times, and then eventually called off in early February 2023.
In July of 2023, Ozzy Osbourne had to withdraw from California’s Power Trip festival due to ongoing physical challenges.
Ozzy has faced various health setbacks, notably contracting COVID-19 during the worldwide pandemic, leading to the cancellation of several previously announced tour dates.
Although Osbourne had to cancel the majority of his scheduled live performances due to health concerns, he expressed his intention to make a comeback should his condition improve.
Despite contending with health issues, Ozzy Osbourne has managed to take the stage a few times over the past couple of years. Notably, he performed at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August 2022 and also appeared at the NFL halftime show during the season opener between the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills in September 2022.
The Legacy Lives On
As we reflect on the career of Ozzy Osbourne, it becomes evident that his impact extends far beyond the music. From the ominous tones of BLACK SABBATH to the solo escapades that solidified him as a rock icon, and the unfiltered glimpse into his life through “The Osbournes,” Ozzy‘s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. In more ways than one.
Aside from Ozzy’s legendary musical career, the “Prince Of Darkness” is also quite notorious for some of his outlandish deeds and behaviors. From biting the heads off live animals to urinating on national monuments, Osbourne was always one to push the boundaries of the rock and roll lifestyle, even further solidifying the legend that is Ozzy. These are the things that we are going to look at in this particular article.
Ozzy Osbourne’s 13 most shocking moments:
13 – Alamo Antics: The incident involving Ozzy Osbourne urinating on the Alamo occurred in 1982 and became a notorious episode in the rock star’s tumultuous career. The event unfolded during a tour stop in San Antonio, Texas. Legend has it that Ozzy, in a state of inebriation, was wearing a dress that belonged to his then girlfriend Sharon Osbourne at the time. The dress-wearing Osbourne came to the decision that an evening walk would be a fine idea. Whilst on said excursion, Ozzy decided he needed to urinate and found what he thought was simply an old wall in which to pee against.
In an act of irreverence and inebriated mischief, Ozzy relieved himself on what turned out to be the Alamo Cenotaph, a monument located on the grounds of the historic site commemorating the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution. The incident did not go unnoticed, and Ozzy was subsequently arrested by the police. The repercussions were significant, with Osbourne facing charges of public urination and intoxication.
The incident stirred controversy and backlash, with Ozzy issuing a public apology for his actions. The legal consequences included a ban from performing in San Antonio for a decade, a sentence later lifted after Osbourne donated $10,000 to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, a group responsible for the Alamo’s preservation.
Despite the controversy, the infamous Alamo incident remains a peculiar footnote in Ozzy Osbourne‘s history, illustrating a wild and unpredictable era in the rock star’s life, fueled by excess and eccentricity.
12 – The Ant Snorting Incident: It’s 1984, and MÖTLEY CRÜE is on the road for their “Shout at the Devil” tour, headlined by none other than Ozzy Osbourne. The stage is set at the Lakeland Civic Center in Florida, a haven for ’80s metal. However, the spectacle we’re about to delve into didn’t take place under the blinding stage lights but unfolded in the daylight hours before the guitars were even plugged in. (Below picture courtesy of Netflix‘s “The Dirt“)
Ozzy was in a peculiar mood that day, craving cocaine but coming up empty-handed. Unfazed and always resourceful, he requests a straw. Then, in a move that left everyone in disbelief, he utilizes that straw to snort a line of ants parading by the pool. As outlined in the MÖTLEY CRÜE biography “The Dirt“, even Nikki Sixx, the bassist known for his own jaw-dropping antics, is momentarily taken aback.
Nevertheless, Ozzy‘s unconventional display of ant-snorting somehow morphs into a bizarre benchmark for “animal behavior,” setting a peculiar standard for MÖTLEY CRÜE‘s escapades. The members of MÖTLEY CRÜE and their road crew serve as the stunned audience to this outrageous exhibition. But something else also happened that day by the hotel pool. Something not for the easily disgusted. An act that in of itself is so shocking that we had to give it it’s own number on this list. It’s up next.
11 – Nature calls: On top of the above ant-snorting incident, Ozzy also initiated an ongoing competition with MÖTLEY CRÜE, where as each member of the band, including Osbourne, would try to outgross each other. One infamous episode unfolded when Ozzy, unfazed by his growing audience, hiked up a sundress, grabbed his anatomy, and urinated on the pavement. In an unapologetic display, he knelt down, soaked the dress in the puddle, and proceeded to lap it up, his eyes ablaze and mouth moist with urine. Directing his challenge to Sixx, Ozzy uttered, “Do that, Sixx.”
Taking the narrative forward, MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer Tommy Lee would reveal in the pages of “The Dirt” that Sixx attempted to surpass Ozzy at his own game by urinating on the ground near Osbourne with the intention of licking it up. However, Ozzy intervened, dropping to his knees and astonishingly lapping up Nikki‘s urine. The act was undoubtedly revolting, but it was a testament to the lengths Ozzy Osbourne was willing to go in these bizarre competitions.
10 – Hotel room carnage: While lodging at The Four Seasons alongside his guitarist Zakk Wylde, a restless Ozzy conceived a plan to infuse a dose of classic rock ‘n’ roll spirit into their day.
In an iconic move, he decided to toss the TV out of the window, epitomizing the epitome of rock excess. Without a hint of hesitation, Ozzy yanked the window open, hoisted the TV, and flung it out, resulting in what he vividly described as an explosive impact upon hitting the ground. Little did they grasp the gravity of the situation – unbeknownst to them, a man was innocently enjoying a cigarette just outside the hotel, mere seconds away from facing the brunt of the high-impact TV.
Not only did Ozzy foot the bill for the shattered TV, but he also found himself responsible for covering three months’ worth of damages to the room, amassing a staggering £40,000. This escapade, born out of boredom, not only left a lasting mark on The Four Seasons but also etched itself into the annals of rock ‘n’ roll folklore as one of Ozzy Osbourne‘s legendary exploits.
9 – Drunk driving amidst labour: When Ozzy‘s initial spouse, Thelma, went into labor with their first child, she insisted that Ozzy take her to the hospital promptly.
Regrettably, Ozzy was in no condition to drive, being considerably inebriated, and, to compound matters, he didn’t possess a valid driver’s license. Despite these hindrances, he acquiesced to her request, chauffeuring her to the hospital while completely smashed. In the end, she successfully delivered their child later that day.
8 – The great chicken massacre: Ozzy Osbourne established a domestic abode with his initial spouse, Thelma, in a residence named Bulrush Cottage in Ranton, Staffordshire.
Thelma managed to ruffle Ozzy‘s feathers with her ceaseless requests to feed the chickens they had acquired. Why, in his view, should he be tasked with “tending to her clucking poultry?” he would continually ask himself. One day, Ozzy reached his breaking point and unleashed a firearm barrage upon the entire feathery assembly.
He then proceeded to drench the resulting carnage in gasoline and set it ablaze, his bullets continuing to punctuate the pyre. In a bizarre twist, Ozzy, armed with a sword, pursued the lone surviving chicken. It was during this peculiar spectacle that Ozzy‘s elderly neighbor emerged, wielding a garden hoe. She nonchalantly greeted the madman, clad only in a dressing gown, remarking, “Ah, good evening, Mr. Osbourne… Unwinding, are we?”
7 – “Where’s the bar?”: When Sharon informed Ozzy of his impending enrollment in an upscale treatment establishment where he would supposedly refine his drinking etiquette, Ozzy initially embraced the notion of attending a “club.”
In his mind, this was an opportunity to learn the art of drinking with the finesse of “James Bond.” Excitement filled Ozzy as he boarded the plane to rehab in Palm Springs, adorned in an Armani suit and pockets laden with numerous narcotics. Upon reaching the Betty Ford Center, Betty herself welcomed him at check-in. Unfazed, Ozzy genuinely inquired about the location of the bar, setting the tone for his unorthodox journey to recovery.
Just to add on to that, Ozzy‘s drunken encounters extended beyond the realms of rehabilitation, with notable appearances at political and royal events. A memorable instance involved Ozzy‘s inebriated presence at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, courtesy of an invitation from Greta Van Susteren. Mingling with politicians, Ozzy, amid autograph sessions, playfully asserted his celebrity status, causing interruptions during speeches. Even George Bush, hosting the event, mumbled his reservations about Ozzy‘s antics, inadvertently coining the amusing mispronunciation “Oz-Burn.”
6 – “The only black magic Sabbath ever got into was a box of chocolates”: Throughout BLACK SABBATH‘s career, Satanists have persistently posed a challenge.
In a memorable incident during a Memphis concert, a quick-thinking roadie knocked out a Satanist who had brazenly invaded the stage. The intruder, cloaked in a black hood and wielding a dagger, was swiftly dealt with. The hypothetical contemplation of Ozzy Osbourne‘s premature demise adds an eerie layer to the band’s narrative, envisioning a world where the Prince of Darkness met an untimely end – a veritable Satanic nightmare.
Upon returning to their motel after the concert, the BLACK SABBATH members found themselves confronted by a continued presence of Satanists. Faced with this persistent challenge, the band decided to take matters into their own hands.
Confronting a gathering of Satanists outside their rooms, the members synchronized their watches, executed a coordinated surprise exit, serenaded the bewildered crowd with a rendition of “Happy Birthday,” and extinguished the candles held by the perplexed Satanists. This unconventional response showcased the band’s willingness to confront challenges with a blend of humor and camaraderie, turning a potentially menacing situation into a bizarrely harmonious encounter.
5 – Dead felines and the poor vicar: To say that Ozzy‘s first wife Thelma put up with a lot is an understatement. Tragically, Thelma‘s 17 cats fell victim to Ozzy‘s actions, as he was responsible for their demise. In another macabre episode, Ozzy discharged a firearm, obliterating the head of a seven-foot taxidermy grizzly bear within the confines of the couple’s house.
One of the more unsettling tales unfolded when Thelma inadvertently served the local vicar a cake infused with 80% potent marijuana and 20% pastry. After consuming the spiked confection, the vicar succumbed to unconsciousness. Ozzy, ever the unconventional problem-solver, relocated the passed-out clergyman to his own residence, leaving him sprawled on the front steps. In the interim before their paths crossed again, Ozzy entertained the morbid assumption that the vicar had met his demise.
4 – Ozzy’s own personal midget: While Ozzy Osbourne is widely adored, a particular prank he played on his “personal dwarf,” John Allen Edward, tends to draw wide disapproval. And rightfully so.
John, an actor standing at 3′ 10”, lent his dramatic presence to Ozzy‘s shows by hanging suspended by a noose for added effect. He accompanied Ozzy on the tours for “Diary of a Madman” and “Speak of the Devil” and is immortalized within the gatefold of the “Speak of the Devil” (1982) album. Ozzy affectionately nicknamed him “Ronnie” in “homage” to his BLACK SABBATH replacement Ronnie James Dio.
“He showed up late, he drank… It got to me after a while,” Ozzy once said of ‘Ronnie’. “So, one night, when he wanted to get on the tour bus, I threw him in the luggage compartment. Somebody grabbed me and said: ‘What you’re doing is not only illegal but it’s inhumane.’ I lost it. I yelled: ‘He’s my fucking midget and I’ll fucking do what I want with him.’”
It is at this point that the voice of ‘Ronnie the Dwarf’ could be heart muffled while in the luggage compartment uttering the words “He’s right: I’m his midget and he can do what he wants with me.’”
Tragically, in 1999, Allen‘s life took a sorrowful turn as he succumbed to an overdose at the age of 49.
3 – Ozzy meets Beach Boy Brian Wilson: Sometimes, Ozzy’s drunken misdeeds can go too far. His past substance abuse would go on to lead into numerous embarrassing incidents, such as when he greeted THE BEACH BOYS’ founder Brian Wilson in an inebriated state, saying: “Hello, Brian, you fucking arsehold, I’m glad to hear your brother’s dead.”
All seems fine between the two parties now though as the Wilson and Osbourne families appear to have reconciled and have become quite close.
2 – Another “nature calls” story involving his father-in-law: Ozzy found himself perilously close to urinating on his father-in-law and former manager, Don Arden, during a particularly awkward incident. Startled by Don catching him in the act of using Don‘s sink as a makeshift urinal, Ozzy hastily turned around. Unfortunately, in the process, he lost control of his aim, resulting in an unintended splash. Don‘s opulent Beverly Hills residence, once owned by Howard Hughes, wasn’t exactly designed for impromptu golden showers.
Don Arden, understandably, concocted an array of derogatory names for Ozzy, given the singer’s penchant for outrageous behavior. The tumultuous relationship between Ozzy Osbourne and Don reached extremes, leading to Ozzy’s incarceration after attempting to strangle Don‘s daughter and uttering ominous threats like, “We’ve come to a decision that you’ve got to die.”
1 – Dove Demise: Upon securing his inaugural solo record deal in 1981, Ozzy envisioned a symbolic act of peace to mark the occasion.
His plan involved releasing a set of doves into the air, intending to convey a message of harmony. However, in a regrettable turn of events, Ozzy‘s state of intoxication went unnoticed by CBS Records executives. Allegedly, he seized the nearest dove, shockingly bit its head off, and then nonchalantly spat it onto the ground, blood still dripping from his lips. It was an unconventional, and rather macabre, strategy to grab attention – a stark departure from the intended message of peace.
Ozzy Osbourne‘s life is a carnival of the unexpected, a rollercoaster of shocking moments that have solidified his status as a true rock ‘n’ roll icon. From biting bats to snorting ants, Ozzy Osbourne‘s wild antics have become the stuff of legend. Whether you find him shocking, amusing, or a bit of both, one thing’s for sure: the Prince of Darkness has lived one hell of a life.