Ozzy Osbourne


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Black Sabbath legend whose musical career has spanned more than 40 years, bringing the vocalist and his family into the limelight.

John Michael Osbourne, known as Ozzy, was born on 3 December 1948 in Aston, Birmingham.

His father worked shifts as a toolmaker, while his mother Lillian worked for a car components firm called Lucas. He was the fourth child of six and was given the nickname Ozzy at primary school. Osbourne grew up dealing with dyslexia and took part in several school plays as well as being a massive fan of the Beatles.

He left school at fifteen to work a series of low-paying jobs, before being imprisoned for burglary. On his release, he joined a friend's band, which he quickly outgrew, joining another outfit called Earth (later to become Black Sabbath).

Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut album on Friday 13 February 1970, and almost immediately developed a cult following in both Britain and America.

In 1973, the band released the critically acclaimed 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath', which became the heavy metal collective's fifth platinum-selling album in the US. This was followed by the re-release of 'Sabotage' in 1975.

Unfortunately, Ozzy and the rest of the band became seriously dependent on alcohol and cocaine, and gained a reputation for trashing cars and hotel rooms.

In 1977, Osbourne's father passed away, causing him to leave the band for a period before the release of their next album 'Never Say Die'. Osbourne became increasingly disinterested in Black Sabbath and, at the end of the 'Never Say Die' tour, the band replaced him with Ronnie James Dio, former singer of Rainbow, in 1979.

After months of despair and drug abuse, Osbourne met Sharon Arden, who helped him turn his life around. Sharon encouraged Osbourne to launch a solo career, and he joined forces with guitarist, Randy Rhoads, to begin work on his 1980 solo debut, 'Blizzard of Ozz'. The album was a resounding success, reaching platinum status.

In 1981, Ozzy released his follow-up, 'Diary of a Madman', which eventually sold more than five million copies and firmly established him as a solo artist in his own right. Unfortunately, the infamous 'Diary of a Madman' tour was one of the most troubled outings in rock history, with misfortune, bad publicity and protests dogging Osbourne the whole way.

After a series of tragedies and bizarre incidents (including the death of Rhoads in a plane crash in 1982) and a number of successful heavy metal albums, Osbourne sobered up and released a softer, more personal album, 'No More Tears' in 1991. 

He had announced that the 1992 tour would be his swansong, but decided to put his retirement on hold and returned with 'Ozzmosis' in late 1995. In 1996, he headlined the Ozzfest festival tour.

At the end of the 1990s Ozzy also rejoined the original line-up of Black Sabbath, for a series of highly successful live shows. His first studio album of the new millennium, 'Down To Earth', was released in 2001. He became a household figure the following year when his bizarre family life was featured on the MTV reality TV show, 'The Osbournes' The show became an overnight hit and helped launch the singing career of Ozzy's daughter, Kelly.

In December 2003, Osbourne was rushed to hospital in Slough, England, after he was involved in an accident while driving an all-terrain vehicle on his estate in Chalfont St Peter in Buckinghamshire. The singer broke his collar bone, eight ribs, and a neck vertebra. An operation was performed to lift the collarbone, which was believed to be resting on a major artery and interrupting blood flow to the arm.

Sharon later revealed that Osbourne had stopped breathing following the crash and was resuscitated by Osbourne's then personal bodyguard Sam Ruston.

While in the hospital, Osbourne actually achieved his first ever UK number one single, a duet of the Black Sabbath ballad, 'Changes' with daughter Kelly. In doing so, he broke the record of the longest period between an artist's first UK chart appearance (with Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid', number four in August 1970) and their first number one hit; a gap of 33 years. He made a full recovery and headlined at Ozzfest for the next three years before announcing his retirement from the event.

In May 2007, Osbourne released 'Black Rain', his first new studio album in almost six years. In June 2010, he released his tenth studio album, 'Scream', which he co-produced with Kevin Churko, who had worked with him on 'Black Rain'.

His latest musical venture was a relative success, reaching number four on the US Billboard 200 chart and 12 on the UK Albums Chart. Black Sabbath also released their first album since 1995 in the form of '13', it featured Ozzy back on vocals.

Despite giving up drugs years ago, Osbourne said in a recent interview that he still gets flashbacks from the LSD he used to take. He explained: "I still get the after-effects of LSD to this day. I call them my 'wobblers'.

"In a flash, every little problem freaks me out and becomes the end of the world." The rocker suggested that anyone who takes drugs for long enough will suffer repercussions at some point, or as he put it: "If you keep taking that shit it's going to bite you in the balls".

In a recent interview with Sundaymercury.net, John Lydon, aka Jonny Rotten, former lead singer with The Sex Pistols, described Black Sabbath's Paranoid as "one of the world's greatest ever singles". However, he proceeded to berate Osbourne, suggesting that he is guilty of “promoting drug abuse".

Osbourne's son Jack revealed that his fiancee Lisa Stelly is pregnant with her first child on 11 October 2011, meaning Ozzy will become a granddad for the second time.

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