Synopsis of Pop Music
"Mental wounds still screaming,
Driving me insane,
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train..."
Rock and roll music is full of colorful characters, but few as notorious as Ozzy Osbourne. This veteran hard-rocker has been dogged throughout his career by tales of excess and strange behavior (say, for example, biting the heads off of small animals). As a result, he has become a figure of urban-legend status in the rock and roll world. Just the same, the many strange tales that follow Osbourne should not disguise the fact that he has made several classic hard rock albums and helped to shape and define the sound of heavy metal music in the process.
By the time Ozzy Osbourne began his solo career, he already had a proven track record as the front man for the world-famous group Black Sabbath. This hard-rocking quartet set the style and standards for heavy metal during the 1970’s with such classic albums as Paranoid and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. In 1979, Osbourne left the group to start a solo career. He put together a backup band called Blizzard of Ozz and began writing new songs. He also attracted his first bit of solo controversy that year during a record company meeting by drunkenly biting the head off a dove he was supposed to release into the air.
In 1980, Ozzy Osbourne released his first solo album, also titled Blizzard of Ozz, which highlighted the frenetic, innovative guitar work of six-string whiz Randy Rhoads on hard-rock epics like “Crazy Train” and “I Don’t Know.” The album quickly became a platinum hit and was followed up in 1981 by Diary Of A Madman. Like Blizzard Of Ozz, the new LP was full of bracing hard rock, but it also included a few surprisingly complex tunes like the operatic title track. Meanwhile, Osbourne’s live show became a must-see favorite with rock audiences by combining his powerful music with surreal, over-the-top antics like catapulting meat and animal innards into the audience.
1982 was a difficult year for Ozzy Osbourne. It began with a nasty surprise when someone threw a bat on the stage during one his concerts. Thinking it was a fake, Osbourne bit off its head as a joke. It turned out the bat was real and this led to Osbourne undergoing a painful series of rabies shots. He also suffered the loss of his gifted guitarist Randy Rhoads, who died in a plane crash that year. However, Osbourne soldiered on with his career. He released a live album of Black Sabbath classics called Speak of the Devil that year and recorded Bark At The Moon in 1983. The title track was also used for a unique video that showed Osbourne transforming into a werewolf. It soon became a talked-about favorite on MTV.
In 1985, Ozzy Osbourne briefly reunited with his former band Black Sabbath to perform three songs at the benefit concert Live Aid. The next year, he released The Ultimate Sin. This slick metal opus became a double-platinum hit and boasted another MTV favorite in “Shot In the Dark.” In 1987, he released an album of live material recorded with Randy Rhoads called Tribute. That year, he also poked fun at the fundamentalist religion groups who relentlessly criticized him by playing a heavy metal-hating preacher in the film Trick Or Treat. Osbourne closed out the 1980’s with the highly successful No Rest For The Wicked. 1989 also brought the release of one of his biggest hit singles in “Close My Eyes Forever,” a power-ballad duet with metal vixen Lita Ford.
As the 1990’s began, Osbourne decided to put his party-hearty past behind him. He ended his battles with alcoholism through a few stays in rehab, and this helped him bring new energy and insight to his music. Indeed, his first post-rehab album, No More Tears, is considered by many as one of his finest. After a successful tour for this album, Osbourne surprised fans everywhere by announcing his retirement from music. However, he had changed his tune after a few years and returned to world of hard rock with Ozzmosis. It included tons of cool rockers like “Perry Mason” (a tribute to the TV attorney), but also took time for surprisingly effective and moody ballads like “I Just Want You.”
Osbourne remains a vital force in hard rock music today. His 1997 best-of album The Ozzman Cometh was an instant best-seller. He also reunited with Black Sabbath for a successful tour that resulted in the hit live album Reunion. Perhaps his most important achievement of the late 90's, though, was his founding of the Ozzfest festival, a yearly tour highlighting various hard-rock artists. It has become a massive, ongoing success, the metalhead’s answer to Lollapalooza.
As the new millennium began, Ozzy returned to the recording studio, cranking out 2001's Down To Earth. And in a twist that's bizarre even in Ozzy's world, the metal god became an unlikely TV star. March 2002 brought the premiere of The Osbournes, an MTV reality show chronicling the profanity-bleeped adventures of Ozzy, wife Sharon, and two of their children, Jack and Kelly (a third Osbourne offspring decided not to participate). Once again, Ozzy Osbourne has proven to be one of rock and roll’s true survivors, the godfather to an entire generation of shock metal maniacs and still a rock scaremeister to be reckoned with.
Artist Release History1980 - Blizzard Of Ozz
1981 - Diary Of A Madman
1982 - Speak Of The Devil
1983 - Bark At The Moon
1986 - The Ultimate Sin
1987 - Tribute
1989 - No Rest For The Wicked
1990 - Just Say Ozzy
09/91 - No More Tears
06/93 - Live And Loud
10/95 - Ozzmosis
11/97 - The Ozzman Cometh
2001 - Down To Earth
Pop Sub CategoriesRock
Essential Music AlbumsThe Ozzman Cometh (Epic)
Band MembersOzzy Osbourne vocals
Randy Rhoads guitar (1980-82)
Bob Daisley bass (1980-81, 1982-85)
Lee Kerslake drums (1980-81)
Rudy Sarzo bass (1981-82)
Tommy Aldridge drums (1981-83, 1984-85)
Brad Gillis guitar (1982)
Jake E. Lee guitar (1982-88)
Don Airey keyboards (1982-85)
Carmine Appice drums (1983-84)
Phil Soussan bass (1985-88)
Randy Castillo drums (1985- )
Zakk Wylde guitar (1988- )
John Sinclair keyboards (1988- )
Geezer Butler bass (1988-90)
Michael Inez bass (1991- )
Deen Castronovo drums