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Ozzy Osbourne biography

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John Michael Osbourne was born on December 3, 1948. He was born to John Thomas Osbourne and his wife Lillian. John Thomas Osbourne was a professional toolmaker and Lillian worked in a car factory.

John Michael Osbourne became known as Ozzy Osbourne. While attending grammar school, he was given the nickname ‘Ozzy’ because it is a short abbreviation for his surname.

Ozzy was born into a very poor family. Ozzy only owned one pair of pants, one shirt, and one jacket. His apartment had no indoor plumbing and no indoor bathroom. He even slept in one bed with all five of his siblings: two brothers named Paul and Tony, and three sisters named Jean, Iris, and Gillian.

At the age of 15, Ozzy dropped out of school to engage in the world of work. He began his working life as a plumber’s mate. This job didn’t last very long, though. Shortly after, Ozzy started working in a slaughterhouse, where he had partaken in the slaughtering of approximately 250 cattle a day. Ozzy became tired of this, so after a few months, he quit and was given a job in the Lucas Car Factory with his mom. Together, they tested car horns.

The income that Ozzy was making was very unsatisfactory, so he turned to a life of crime. He robbed homes and clothing stores wearing gloves that had the fingers cut out of them. Thanks to this, Ozzy was always caught. He spent a lot of time in prison. The longest sentence he ever had to serve was 6 weeks in Winston Green Prison for burglary. It was in this period of time that Ozzy gave himself a few tattoos using a needle and graphite. These tattoos include the word ‘Thanks’ on his palm, needles on his arm, the now famous ‘O-Z-Z-Y’ across the knuckles of his left hand, and a smiley face on each of his knee caps.

Ozzy’s musical influence was the Beatles. He admired the band and he became very mesmerized at the way that they were able to command an audience. This fed Ozzy’s desire to be disciples of them. He soon decided that he wanted to be just like them.

Ozzy got his first shot at music while he was walking down the street one day and approached an old friend who had just formed a band that was named Approach. The band needed a singer and Ozzy felt that he was the right man for the job. He ran home and, somehow, got his father to buy him a $50 amplifier and microphone. Approach was more of a rhythm type band, in which Ozzy didn’t fancy, so he quit that band and tried out another one named Music Machine, which he also quit. Ozzy and a friend, Terrance Butler, formed a band of their own named Rare Breed. The band was, basically, going nowhere, so Ozzy deemed it necessary to put an ad in a local newspaper which said: 'OZZY ZIG – VOCALIST – REQUIRES BAND – OWNS OWN P.A' Two men, Tony Iommi and Bill Ward, saw this ad and were interested. The two had their own band, which was named The Rest (it was later changed to Mythology). Tony went to the address on the ad and found out that this Ozzy was the same Ozzy that he used to beat up on the playground when he was young. The four combined to form a band that was called Polka Tulk. The band was a mixture of blues and jazz with a ‘hard edge’. The band eventually changed its name to Earth.

The problem with the band was that it wasn’t getting enough recognition. One day in 1969, Terrence went to a local theater and watched a horror movie called ‘Black Sabbath’. After viewing this, Terrence said to himself, ‘Why would people pay good money just to get the crap scared out of them?’ Later on, he asked the band this question. After talking it over, they all decided on changing the band’s image to be more ‘doomsey’ and ‘dark’. They also decided on changing the band’s name to Black Sabbath. This was the beginning of a ‘new’ band.

Black Sabbath’s first album (self titled) saw light on Friday, February 13, 1970 under the Vertigo label. It was recorded in 8 hours on two four-track machines. The album only cost about $1,200 to make. Ozzy took a copy of the album home one-day and said, “Look, dad! It’s me on a piece of plastic!” After listening to the album, John Osbourne, Senior only gave his son one response: “Are you sure you’re only smoking cigarettes?”

With the release of their first album, the band’s audience began to grow rapidly. Terrence became known as Geezer while the rest of the band became known for their ‘dark’ music. One night, Ozzy and the band were approached by a self-proclaimed witch and were asked to play at a satanic ceremony. The band declined the offer. Feeling deprived at this, the witch cast a spell on the band. Being paranoid, Ozzy asked his dad to make aluminum crosses for each member of the band to wear as protection. Bill Ward said that he is the only member who still has the original cross. The cross Ozzy wears now is made of 14 carat gold.

In 1977, a few things happened to Ozzy that made him very depressed. Ozzy became very sick of the way Tony was taking control of the band. Also, Ozzy was heavily addicted to drugs and was constantly ‘whacked out of his mind’. To add to his sorrow, this year also marked the death of his father. This put Ozzy in a deep emotional swell. To escape from the emotional pain, Ozzy decided to leave Black Sabbath. He rejoined the group in 1978 to make a new album, Never say Die. Ozzy’s excessive drug use forced the band to fire him.

For nearly 6 months, Ozzy spent every day in a hotel room drinking and getting high. He was in deep sorrow over leaving the band. Ozzy was losing control of his life until one day, Sharon Arden (the daughter of Ozzy’s manager, Don Arden) came to Ozzy’s hotel room to collect a debt. Sharon saw the sad state Ozzy was in and she wanted to help him get back on his feet again.

After creating a band named Blizzard of Ozz (it was originally named Law, but the name was changed after the band played a few gigs), Ozzy went in search for a record label to sign him. As weeks went by, CBS agreed to sign him for $65,000. CBS wanted to have a conference so Ozzy could meet the ‘top guys’ working for them. Well, CBS wasn’t very interested in Ozzy because they felt that they had better artists under their label. Sharon suggested to Ozzy that he should make a ‘big bang’ when he entered the corporate meeting. She had the idea of Ozzy walking into the room and throwing 3 white doves in the air. It was to be a ‘peace greeting’. The ‘greeting’ wasn’t very ‘peaceful’, though. Ozzy had too much booze that day. When he walked into the room, he sat on a little girl’s lap, threw 2 of the doves into the air and he actually bit the head off of the third one. Everyone in the room was shocked at this. Newspaper tabloids heard about this and branded Ozzy as 'insane' and 'the madman'. The Humane Society of America tried to ban all Ozzy performances in the United States and he was banned from ever entering the CBS building again (but they decided on releasing his first album, Blizzard of Ozz, anyway).

In the early 1980’s, Ozzy made a name for himself by partaking in a number of different events. At the end of shows, he threw animal hearts, brains, intestines, and so forth, at the crowd. In 1982, Ozzy was playing a concert in Des Moines, Iowa, when someone threw a live bat onto the stage. The bat was stunned by the light. Ozzy, thinking the bat was plastic, picked it up and bit off its head. The bat started flapping its wings and Ozzy found out that the bat was, indeed, real. "Ozzy Osbourne: the man who bit off more than he can chew", he once said. "It took me a lot of water just to down that fucking bat's head, let me tell you. It's still stuck in my fucking throat after all these years." Ozzy was then rushed to the hospital to receive rabies shots. "People all over the world say, 'You're the guy who kills creatures? You still do it? You do it every night?' It happened fucking once, for Christ's sake." Besides those incidents, there were a few others including a time Ozzy got drunk and shot every cat in his house (Thelma, his first wife, came home one day and found Ozzy lying under the piano in a white suit with a shotgun in one hand and a bloody knife in the other).

The year 1982 also saw a few other incidents in Ozzy’s life. On February 12, Ozzy was in San Antonio, Texas when he, for some reason, dressed as a woman and walked around taking pictures. Well, Ozzy was drunk and didn't comprehend what he was doing. During film reloading, he felt the need to relieve himself. He urinated on a half-knocked down wall that turned out to be a part of the Alamo itself. Ozzy was fined, threw in jail, and was banned from entering the city again until 1992 when the ban was lifted. (Ozzy has been kicked out of other cities for various reasons and lengths of time including the cities of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Las Vegas, Nevada) On July 4, Ozzy married Sharon on the tropical island of Maui (this was his second marriage. He was once wedded to a woman named Thelma, but because of his excessive drug use, the two divorced in 1981). Sharon later became his manager. Later on, Randy Rhoads, Ozzy’s guitarist and personal friend, died in a plane crash. (Little known fact: Ozzy saved a deaf man from the burning house in which the plane crashed into) The album Tribute (1987) was made in tribute to the late guitarist.

The music of Ozzy Osbourne is as controversial as the man’s legendary past. Between 1985 and 1990, 3 different sets of parents (two from Georgia and one from California) attempted to sue Ozzy, claiming that his song ‘Suicide Solution’ (from the album Blizzard of Ozz) contained hidden messages that ordered their teenage sons to take their own lives. The song was ‘anti-alcohol’ and ‘anti-suicide’ but it did contain some lyrics like ‘Where to hide-suicide’s the only way out’. Nonetheless, Ozzy prevailed in each of the three suits. Ozzy himself was going to appear in an episode of 'Miami Vice', but was pulled because of the allegations.

A few of Ozzy’s album covers were also controversial. His album Speak of the Devil (1982) which shows raspberries pouring out of Ozzy’s mouth, was first released with a sticker covering his mouth because the raspberries looked like clotted blood. Ozzy found out that the album was released with the sticker and he recalled every copy, then he had the album released in the way that he wanted it to look. The original cover for his 1986 album The Ultimate Sin was pulled because it had three crucifixes in the background and the girl on the cover itself wasn’t wearing any pants. No Rest for the Wicked (1988) originally had a cover that showed Ozzy wearing a crown of thorns and the little girls on the cover were all holding crucifixes.

Speaking on his musical career, Ozzy has collaborated with many different artists. He has done songs with many groups such as Alice Cooper, Therapy? (This is the way the group’s name is spelled), and Miss Piggy (of the Muppets). The year 1988 saw Ozzy joining Lita Ford in a duet called ‘Close my eyes Forever’. Ozzy and a group named Coal Chamber got together and made a remake of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Shock the Monkey’. Ozzy himself has been on a few soundtracks as well with the songs ‘Party with the Animals’ (from the motion picture 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer’), ‘Walk on Water' (from the motion picture ‘Beavis and Butt-head Do America’), and ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men (from the motion picture ‘Howard Stern’s Private Parts’). Ozzy, however, only had one number one hit-single, ‘Shot in the Dark’, from the album The Ultimate Sin (the girl in the video was actually a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Rams, a football team).

There has also been, as Ozzy once said, “a little insanity” in his life. Ozzy has attempted suicide multiple times in his life, starting as early as age 14. He did this “just to see what it felt like”. On August 12, 1989, Ozzy played a peace festival in Russia. When he returned home a week after the show, Ozzy found a case of Russian vodka that someone gave him at the show. Ozzy drank the four bottles and became heavily drunk. He walked up to Sharon, placed his hands around her throat and said, in exact words, “We decided that you have to go.” Sharon panicked and called the police. Ozzy woke up the next day in a jail cell. The cops said to Ozzy, “You were arrested for attempted murder of your wife”. Ozzy replied by saying, “You gotta be kidding-I don’t remember a thing!” A court order was made that forced him to spend 3 months in a drug rehab away from his family.

“It’s ridiculous…I can’t keep doing this. I want to stop”, Ozzy said to Sharon in the early 1990’s. After spending his entire life on the road, Ozzy wanted to retire. She said, “Do you really wanna stop?” Ozzy said. "I go crazy. I've been doing this for so long…I've never been able to reap the benefits of my hard work. I want to retire." So Sharon announced that Ozzy’s No More Tears tour was going to be his last. He spent the next few years touring, then in 1994, he finally settled down. He was home for a very short amount of time when he noticed that something was wrong. “At the end of the No More Tears tour, I got home and I was so bored! I’d get up, open the fridge, close it, sit down, get up, open it…Sharon said, ‘What’s going on?’ I said, ‘I’m bored’. She said, ‘You drove me crazy about retirement! You can’t retire then unretire!’” Ozzy proved her wrong. In the mid-1990’s, Ozzy went back into the studio and created a new album, Ozzmosis. He later started a music festival called the Ozzfest.

There were a few incidents that happened in 1997 that involved the Ozzfest. Ozzy wanted to take the tour on the road with Marilyn Manson, a satanic rocker who is known to do strange things on stage, which include destroying Holy bibles. Giant Stadiums in New Jersey tried to cancel a concert there because of the appearance of Manson, but Ozzy took the state to court and won the rights to play. On June 17, in Columbus, Ohio, a riot broke out because Ozzy didn't appear. He was having throat problems and wasn't able to show up. Angry fans broke windows, uprooted trees, set miscellaneous things on fire, and ever flipped over a car. Ozzy made up the show on a later date.

After years of being apart, Ozzy and the original members of Black Sabbath reunited to do their first full tour together in decades. They also made a double-live album, Reunion. Also, on Wednesday, February 23, 2000, Black Sabbath won a Grammy award for their song ‘Iron Man’ in the ‘Best Metal Performance’ category. (Ozzy, as a solo artist, won a Grammy in the same category in 1993 for his song ‘I Don’t Want to Change the World’)

Ozzy Osbourne has lived a very hectic life. After all of the things he's done, what does he have to say? " I have a saying. 'Never judge a book by its cover'. I say that because I don't even know who Ozzy is. I wake up a new person every day. But if you've got a fantasy of Ozzy, who am I to say? I mean, if you think I sleep upside-down in the rafters and fly around at night and bite people's throats out, then that's your thing. But I can tell you now, all I ever wanted was for people to come to my concerts and have a good time. I don't want anyone to harm themselves in any way, shape or form-and my intentions are good whether people want to believe it or not. I'm not going to suddenly become a Jesus freak or anything. But I do have my beliefs and my beliefs are certainly not satanic".

And if Ozzy could go back, would he change anything? "I wouldn't change a thing because it's all exiting stuff. If that's the way I gotta make my name, so be it. I'm not ashamed of one thing I've done 'cause I've kept rock and roll alive and I'm proud of that."

Copyright (©) 2000 Randy L. Pendleton

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