British singer, songwriter, TV personality and occasional actor Ozzy Osbourne rose to fame as the lead singer of the pioneer heavy metal band Black Sabbath, which he founded in 1968 with guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. With the group, he enjoyed a string of successful albums during the 1970s, including “Black Sabbath” (1970), “Paranoid” (1970), “Master of Reality” (1971), “Black Sabbath, Vol. 4” (1972) and “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (1973) before leaving the group in 1979 because of drug abuse. Osbourne entered rehab for drug and alcohol addiction in 1982. He stated, “I've been trying to stay sober for 22 years. Some days are bad and some days are great. I get up every day and I pray, 'Don't let me drink today.' I don't like it, but I accept the fact that I can't drink. It's hard, especially at Christmas. But all I know is I'm a very, very lucky man to still be alive and I appreciate that.”
After a stage reunion in 1985 and 1994, Osbourne was reunited with the original lineup of Black Sabbath in 1997 and would occasionally perform with the group until 2006. During his comeback, he also recorded the live albums “Black Mass EP” (1999) and “Past Lives” (2002) with the group.
After leaving Black Sabbath in the late 1970s, Osbourne performed with The Ozzy Osbourne Band. His debut album “Blizzard of Ozz” (1980) earned multi platinum certification in the U.S. He has since released the successful albums “Diary of a Madman” (1981), “Bark at the Moon” (1983), “The Ultimate Sin” (1986), “No Rest for the Wicked” (1988), “Ozzmosis” (1995), “No More Tears” (1991) and “Down to Earth” (2001), not to mention 5 additional live albums, 5 compilations albums and an EP.
In the early 2000s, Osbourne starred in the reality series “The Osbournes” with his wife Sharon and two of their three kids, Kelly and Jack. The show was a success and ran on MTV until 2005. As an actor, Osbourne has appeared in the films “Trick or Treat” (1986), “The Jerky Boys” (1995) and “Moulin Rouge” (2001, as voice of The Green Fairy). He received a MTV Movie nomination for his cameo performance in “Little Nicky” (2000).
Osbourne was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002. He won his first Grammy Award in 1994 for the song “I Don't Want to Change the World.” He picked up his second Grammy Award in 2000 for the song “Iron Man” with Black Sabbath. For his contribution to the heavy metal genre, Osbourne was given the nickname “Godfather of Heavy Metal.” He has also received other nicknames such as “The Great Ozz,” “The Wizard of Ozz,” “The Madman,” “The Prince of Darkness” and “The Blizzard of Oz.”
Osbourne published an autobiography titled “I Am Ozzy” in October 2009. He has two children with first wife Thelma Mayfair (together from 1971 to June 1982) and three with Sharon Osbourne, whom he has been married to since July 1982. He also adopted Mayfair's son, Elliot Kingsley.
Childhood and Family:
Ozzy Osbourne was born John Michael Osbourne on December 3, 1948, in Aston, Birmingham, England, to a working class family. His father, Jack Osbourne, worked as a toolmaker at GEC and his mother, Lillian Osbourne, was an employee at the car components firm Lucas. He was raised one of five siblings. Reportedly suffering from dyslexia, young Ozzy had a difficult time at Prince Albert Road Junior School and Birchfield Road Secondary Modern School in Perry Barr and eventually dropped out of school at age 15. Despite the difficulties, he found an interest in music and participated in school plays. At age 14, he heard The Beatles' first single and subsequently became a huge fan of the group.
After leaving school, Ozzy took on various odd jobs and spent a few weeks in jail. He got the celebrated O-Z-Z-Y letters tattooed across his left knuckles while in Winston Green Prison. Upon his release, he swore never to return to jail.
In 1971, Ozzy married Thelma Mayfair and adopted her son Elliot Kingsley (born in 1966). The couple welcomed their first child, Jessica Starshine Osbourne, on January 20, 1972. They had an additional child, son Louis Osbourne, in 1975 before they divorced in June 1982. Ozzy married Sharon Osbourne on July 4, 1982. Together they have three children, Aimee (actress, born on September 2, 1983), Kelly (actress, born on October 27, 1984) and Jack (actor, born on November 8, 1985). Ozzy and his wife also adopted Robert Marcato after his mother died. Ozzy has four grandchildren: Isabelle and Harry (from daughter Jessica) and Mia and Elijah (from son Louis).
Former inmate Ozzy Osbourne played in a band called Rare Breed, along with future Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, before the two joined guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward to start a new group called The Polka Tulk Blues Band. After shortening the name to Polka Tulk, the group changed their name to Earth. Performing a blend of mainstream and blues inspired rock, the group played club shows in England, Germany and Denmark. They did not attract the attention of record producers until they began experimenting with the hard driving, amplified sound that would later specify the heavy metal genre. The group adopted the name Black Sabbath after they discovered that their group name was already used by another band.
Signed to Phillips Records in December 1969, Black Sabbath released their first single, “Evil Woman,” a cover of the Minneapolis-based band Crow, in January 1970. The self titled debut album “Black Sabbath” was launched on February 13, 1970, in the U.K. through Philips' newly founded progressive rock label Vertigo Records and on June 1, 1970, in the U.S. via Warner Bros. Although the album was panned by critics, it was a commercial success and rose to No. 8 on the U.K. Album Chart and No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Black Sabbath” sold over one million copies in the U.S., bringing the group their first platinum status in the U.S. Some of the songs included on the album were “Black Sabbath,” “The Wizard,” “N.I.B.” and “Evil Woman.”
Osbourne and his group released the album “Paranoid” on September 18, 1970. The album achieved the top spot on the U.K. Album chart and went multi platinum in England. Released in the U.S. in January 1971, the album made the Top 10 on the Billboard 200. “Paranoid” yielded popular singles such as “Paranoid” (#2 UK) and “Iron Man” (#52 US).
The album “Master of Reality” was released on July 21, 1971. The album charted at No. 5 in the U.K. and No. 8 in the U.S. and eventually was certified double platinum by RIAA. It was during the recording process of the album that the group became involved with drugs. Osbourne continued to record with Black Sabbath for the albums “Black Sabbath Vol. 4” (1972, #13 US), “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (1973, #4 UK and #7 US), “Sabotage” (1975, #28 US), “Technical Ecstasy” (1976, #51 US) and “Never Say Die” (1978. #12 UK and #69 US), before he was fired from the group in 1979 because of substance abuse. The first two albums earned platinum certification in the U.S., while the latter three went gold.
After leaving Black Sabbath, Osbourne launched his solo career. Formed by his new manager and future wife Sharon Arden, the Ozzy Osbourne Band (formerly The Blizzard of Ozz) initially comprised of Osbourne, guitarist Randy Rhoads, drummer Lee Kerslake and bassist/lyricist Bob Daisley. Osbourne's first solo album, “Blizzard of Ozz,” was released on September 20, 1980, in the U.K. and on March 27, 1981, in the U.S., with additional player Don Airey on keyboards. Released on Don Arden's Jet label, the album was a commercial success and rose to No.21 on the Billboard 200. It sold over four million units in the U.S. alone, becoming one of the best selling albums of the 1980s. The first single, “Crazy Train,” which he co-wrote with Rhoads and Daisley, was a hit.
The sophomore effort “Diary of a Madman” was released on November 7, 1981. Consisting of the notable songs “Flying High Again,” “Over the Mountain,” “S.A.T.O.” and “Diary of a Madman,” the album went platinum in the U.S. in May 1982 and triple platinum in 1994. The album “Bark at the Moon” was released on December 10, 1983, with Epic Records with new guitarist Jake E. Lee and new drummer Tommy Aldridge. The album peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 and was eventually certified triple platinum by RIAA.
In 1985, Osbourne was briefly reunited with Black Sabbath when the original lineup was invited to perform at Bob Geldof's Live Aid benefit concert on July 13, 1985, in Philadelphia. The following year, he released the “The Ultimate Sin” on February 22, 1986. Recorded with guitarist Jake E. Lee, bassist Phil Soussan and drummer Randy Castillo, the album went to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned platinum status within three months of its release. It achieved double platinum status in October 1994. The song “Shot in the Dark,” which was co-written by Osbourne and Soussan, rose to No. 10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and No. 68 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The fifth studio album, “No Rest for the Wicked,” hit the music stores on October 22, 1988, with Zakk Wylde on guitar, Bob Daisley on bass, Randy Castillo on drums and John Sinclair on keyboards. The album peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 and went gold in December 1989. It has since earned double platinum certification.
In addition to five studio albums, Osbourne also released two live albums and one compilation album in the 1980s. Featuring performances of Black Sabbath songs, “Speak of the Devil” was released on November 27, 1982, with guitarist Brad Gillis, bassist Rudy Sarzo, drummer Tommy Aldridge and keyboardist Don Airey. The album peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 and charted at No. 21 in the U.K. It was certified platinum by RIAA in 1992 after achieving gold in 1983. The live album “Tribute” was launched on March 19, 1987, in memory of guitarist Randy Rhoads who died in an aircraft crash in Florida in 1982 during The Ozzy Osbourne Band tour of “Diary of a Madman.” The album charted No. 6 in the U.S. and No. 13 in the U.K. It was eventually certified double platinum by RIAA. The compilation album “Best of Ozz” followed in 1989.
In March 1990, Osbourne released a live EP called “Just Say Ozzy,” which reunited him with Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler. It went to No. 58 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold on July 21, 1993. Also in 1990, he released the compilation album “Ten Commandments,” which peaked at No. 163 on the Billboard 200. The album “No More Tears” was released on September 17, 1991, and peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and No. 17 on the U.K. Albums Chart. The album went multi platinum in the U.S. and became Osbourne's second best selling record in North America after his debut “Blizzard of Ozz” (1980). It yielded four U.S. Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Top 10 hits with the songs “No More Tears,” “Time After Time,” “Road To Nowhere” and “Mama, I'm Coming Home.” The song “I Don't Want to Change the World” won a 1994 Grammy for Best Metal Performance. Two years later, Osbourne released the live album “Live & Loud” on June 28, 1993. It peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by RIAA in 2000 after it went gold in 1993. He re-recorded the Black Sabbath song “Changes” for the album. His version went to No. 9 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Track, but failed to chart in the U.K.
After some time off, Osbourne resurfaced with the studio album “Ozzmosis,” which was released on October 24, 1995. It peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and No. 22 on the U.K. Albums chart. It was certified double platinum by RIAA. “Ozzmosis” was recorded with bassist Butler, guitarist Wylde, drummer Deen Castronovo and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. His second greatest hits collection, “The Ozzman Cometh,” followed on November 11, 1997. The album rose to No. 13 in the U.S. and sold over two million pieces there.
It was also in 1997 that Osbourne officially rejoined Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward with Black Sabbath. They released “Reunion” on October 20, 1998. The album rose to No. 41 in the U.K. and No. 11 in the U.S. and eventually earned platinum certification in the U.S., becoming the group's first U.S. platinum record since 1980's “Heaven and Hell.” The live recording of “Iron Man” from the album brought the group a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance (2000). Meanwhile, in 1996, Osbourne and his wife Sharon founded an annual festival tour that featured performances by heavy metal and hard rock musical groups called “Ozzfest.” The venture soon became a favorite among metal fans.
Osbourne worked with Black Sabbath for the live album “Black Mass EP” (1999) and “Past Lives” (2002), which peaked at No. 114 in the Billboard 200. On October 16, 2001, he launched the album “Down to Earth,” which peaked at No. 19 on the U.K. Albums Chart and No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Thanks to the singles “Gets Me Through” and “Dreamer,” the album earned platinum certification in the U.S. The live album “Live at Budokan” followed on June 25, 2002.
Still in 2002, Osbourne began his own reality TV show called “The Osbournes,” which focused on the domestic life of Osbourne and his family. The show debuted on MTV on March 5, 2002, and went on to become an audience favorite. It ended on March 21, 2005. “The Osbournes” won a 2002 Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction Program (Reality). The same year, Osbourne was handed a Teen Choice Award for TV - Choice Personality.
On February 11, 2003, Osbourne released the compilation album “The Essential Ozzy Osbourne,” which charted at No. 81 in the U.S. and No. 21 in the U.K. It went gold in the U.S. in 2005. On November 1, 2005, he released the album “Under Cover,” which rose to No. 134 on the Billboard 200. The album brought Osbourne his next platinum certification in the U.S.
“Black Rain,” Osbourne's ninth studio album, was launched on May 22, 2007. It peaked at No. 3 in the U.S. and No. 8 in the U.K., and yielded three singles with “I Don't Wanna Stop,” “Not Going Away” and “Black Rain.” The album went gold in the U.S. Osbourne is scheduled to release a new album titled “Soul Sucka” in June 2010.
Apart from his successful TV series, Osbourne is also an occasional actor. Making his acting debut in the film “Riders of the Storm” (1986), starring Dennis Hopper, he played Reverend Aaron Gilstrom in the horror film “Trick or Treat” that same year and appeared in the direct to video “Sam Kinison Banned” in 1990. Five years later, he was featured as a band manager in the James Melkonian directed comedy “The Jerky Boys.” During the new millennium, he worked on such films as “Moulin Rouge” (2001, voice of The Green Fairy), “Dame Edna Live at the Palace” (2003, TV) and “Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind” (2007, voice of Vicar). In 2000, he made a cameo appearance in the fantasy film “Little Nicky” and was nominated for a 2001 MTV Movie award for Best Cameo in a Movie for his performance.
Teen Choice: TV - Choice Personality, 2002
Grammy: Best Metal Performance, “Iron Man,” 2000
Grammy: Best Metal Performance, “I Don't Want to Change the World,” 1994