Today is more than just another Thursday, for 61 years ago on this day in Birmingham, John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne was born. The first 19 years of his life were pretty unremarkable until 1968, when he helped form Black Sabbath, the most influential band in metal. For the next 11 years, the band defined the genre, laying down the blueprint for riffy, heavy doom. After being booted form the band in 1979 for substance abuse, Ozzy formed a solo band, with 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz and 1982’s Diary of a Madman showing he could do no wrong, particularly for the inclusion of former Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhoads. In fact, Ozzy’s always had an eye for talent and reinvention. From Ozzfest, one of the most successful festivals of the late ’90s-early 2000s, to his knack for great guitarists (Zakk Wylde, Jake E. Lee, and now Gus G.), he’s had more hits than misses. While my personal favorite Ozzy song is pictured above, scroll down for a look at Ozzy throughout the ages.
Now this is what I’m talking about. While the story that Ozzy took acid every day for two years straight has gotta be an urban myth, at least he’s looked consistently wasted for the last 40 years.
One of the most iconic images of Ozzy ever, holding his beloved guitarist Randy Rhoads aloft during his solo. Of course, Rhoads tragically died in a plane crash the week before the band was going to play Madison Square Garden.
Even though there’s probably a lot of his career that he can’t remember, Ozzy probably wishes he could forget his glammy phase during The Ultimate Sin the most. He was fatter than his wife, daugher and son combined, and dressed up like a member of Stryper. “Shot in the Dark” is still a classic song though, not to mention his opening act in 1986 was a little band called Metallica touring on Master of Puppets.
Slimmed down, cleaned up, and looking more like the Prince of Darkness than Prince, this is the Ozzy we’ve known for the last decade or so.
Except for this version. The Osbournes was definitely not his shining moment, showing him as more of a doddering clown than one of metal’s elite. It was arguably more embarassing than his late-’80s fat glam band phase. But with a new album out next year, the return (in some formation at least) of Ozzfest, and more music to come, we definitely haven’t seen the last of him yet. Happy birthday, Ozzy!