John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne has a long heavy metal history. Ozzy started as the frontman for metal pioneers Black Sabbath. Ozzy was born and grew up in Birmingham, England to a middle class family. He had several brother's and sisters, and the nickname "Ozzy" was an early grade school nickname. In 1967, Ozzy ended up forming a band called Earth with guitarist Tony Lommi Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward. The renamed themselves "Black Sabbath", after a movie by the same name, when they found out "Earth" was taken. It is safe to say we are all familiar with the success that Black Sabbath had in the 1970's.
By 1978, Ozzy had eyes on a solo career. However, after being talked into heading back into the studio and on the road with Black Sabbath, it was clear that their hearts were just not in it when compared to energy of their opening act, Van Halen. It is well known that the members of Black Sabbath were heavy drug users. In 1979, Ozzy was fired, and Black Sabbath hired Ronnie James Dio for vocals.
In 1980, under the management of his then girlfriend Sharon, Ozzy officially started his solo career as "Blizzard of Ozz", although this band name actually became the name of the first album with Ozzy Osbourne being the moniker. This was the breakout album that featured songs like "Crazy Train", "Mr. Crowley", and "Goodbye to Romance". Ozzy's second release, Diary of a Madman, brought us the great songs "Over the Mountain" and "Flying High Again" In 1982, Randy Rhoads (guitarist) was killed in a light plane crash when the band's buss driver, Andrew Aycock, was buzzing the band's tour bus under the influence of cocaine. The resulting death of Randy hit Ozzy very hard. Jake E. Lee (Badlands) eventually took the lead guitar role for the 1983 release of Bark at the Moon and the 1986 release of The Ultimate Sin. Sharon fired Jake in 1987. Jake was replaced with Zakk Wylde.
Ozzy continued having success into the 1990's, a fact that few bands can claim. Ozzfest was a huge success for Ozzy in the 1990's, and by the early 2000's, many young people became reacquainted with Ozzy and his family in when MTV began airing the hit show "The Osbournes". In late 2011, it was announced that Ozzy would be reunited with the original members of Black Sabbath. More to come?
It is worth mentioning that the stories regarding Ozzy biting the head off a dove and a bat are true. He was drunk when he bit the head off the dove, but the bat? Well he thought it wasn't real...Turns out it was, and he had the rabies shots to prove it. So is Ozzy a Satanist? He adamantly denies this charge and is a public member of the Church of England.
At the time of this writing, the Ozzy solo discography was as follows:
- 1980: Blizzard of Ozz
- 1981: Diary of a Madman
- 1982: Speak of the Devil
- 1983: Bark at the Moon
- 1986: The Ultimate Sin
- 1988: No Rest for the Wicked
- 1991: No More Tears
- 1993: Live and Loud
- 1995: Ozzmosis
- 1997: The Ozzman Cometh (Greatest Hits)
- 2001: Down to Earth
- 2005: Prince of Darkness (Box Set)
- 2007: Black Rain
- 2010: Scream