John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne gained international notoriety as the controversial and eternally theatrical frontman of metal giants Black Sabbath. After a succession of hugely successful albums, Osbourne was fired from the band in 1978 and embarked on a solo career.
His first post-Sabbath project was 1980’s Blizzard Of Ozz, featuring Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhodes, Rainbow and Mungo Jerry bassist Bob Daisley and Uriah Heap drummer Lee Kerslake. The album was massively successful, thanks in no small part to singles Crazy Train and Mr Crowley.
Ozzy’s solo career was already outshining that of his former band. Kerslake and Daisley departed before his second record, replaced by Black Oak Arkansas drummer Tommy Aldridge and bassist Rudy Sarzo. Diary Of A Madman came out in 1981 and was another huge success.
Osbourne’s tendency to court controversy hit top gear on the ensuing tour when he bit the head off a bat onstage (he has since claimed he thought it was fake). Soon afterwards, Rhodes tragically died in a plane crash, eventually replaced in the band by Jake E. Lee for 1984’s Bark At The Moon.
Lee was replaced by Zakk Wilde – who would become a long-term fixture – for 1988’s No Rest For The Wicked, which was widely regarded as one of Osbourne’s strongest solo efforts yet. However, in 1991, he announced that he would be retiring at the end of the upcoming tour, retitled No More Tours after the announcement.
Retirement proved short lived as Ozzy returned just four years later with a new album, Ozzmosis, which sold three million copies, despite lukewarm reviews. In 1996, he founded Ozzfest, an annual metal festival which featured performances from Ozzy and a reunited Black Sabbath alongside Marilyn Manson and Pantera. A live album followed afterwards.
A new Sabbath album was rumoured, but then put on hold until Ozzy finished his long-promised follow-up to Ozzmosis. Down To Earth finally arrived in 2001, greeted by more positive reviews than its predecessor. In 2002, Ozzy became an unlikely reality TV star after MTV seized upon the popularity of his oddball MTV Cribs appearance by giving him his own show. In 2003, he scored a No.1 hit single when he dueted with his daughter Kelly on a cover of the Black Sabbath song Changes.
In 2005, Ozzy released a collection of covers titled Under Cover before returning two years later with an album of new material titled Black Rain and again in 2007 with Scream, both of which saw the “Prince of Darkness” collaborating with pop producer Kevin Churko (Britney Spears, Shania Twain).
His 12th solo album, Ordinary Man, arrived in early 2020 and featured guest appearances from Elton John, Duff McKagan, Post Malone and Chad Smith. In the run-up to the album’s release, Osbourne revealed he’d been battling Parkinson’s disease since 2003.
Ozzy Osbourne announced six dates in the UK as part of No More Tours 2 – his final European jaunt – visiting Nottingham, Birmingham, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow. In October 2020, Osbourne announced that the tour would be rescheduled to early 2022, saying: "I really want to thank my fans for their loyalty and for waiting for me. Believe me, I can’t wait to see you all again. Please stay safe in these uncertain times."
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