News Home RSS Feed

Friday, February 10, 2023

Ups and Downs for Ozzy Osbourne

Written by Jon Williams

On February 1, the legendary hard rocker announced his retirement from touring, citing spinal injuries that have left him unable to endure the necessary travel. While Ozzy said the announcement was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to share,” at least it was followed up rather quickly with some good news. On February 5, he won two Grammy Awards: Best Metal Performance for the song “Degradation Rules,” and Best Rock Album for his most recent, Patient Number 9—a star-studded affair featuring contributions from Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Zakk Wylde, and the late Taylor Hawkins, to name just a few.

Ozzy’s career began in the late 1960s when he joined up with guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward in a band that went through many names before finally settling on Black Sabbath, after the film of the same name. Inspired by that movie, they decided to take on a heavier sound and explore darker themes in their music. As a result, their self-titled debut album, released in 1970, is generally considered to be the birth of the heavy metal genre.

They refined that sound on their second album, Paranoid (currently unavailable on CD), released later in 1970 (early 1971 in North America). Propelled by now-iconic hits like “Iron Man,” “War Pigs,” and the title track, it is regularly cited among the best (and most influential) rock and metal albums of all time. The band followed that up with Master of Reality in 1971, their third album in quick succession, then took a quick break before returning with Black Sabbath Vol. 4 in 1972, incorporating new sounds. They would go on to put out four further albums—Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973, currently unavailable on CD), Sabotage (1975), Technical Ecstasy (1976), and Never Say Die! (1978)—before internal conflicts drove Ozzy from the band. He later reunited with most of the original members to tour and record the 2013 album 13.

After leaving Black Sabbath, Ozzy’s musical career would go on to reach even greater heights. Forming a new band including guitarist Randy Rhoads, his 1979 debut solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, contained the rock classics “Crazy Train,” “I Don’t Know,” and “Goodbye to Romance.” His second, 1981’s Diary of a Madman, included “Flying High Again.” Sadly, those were the only two albums to feature the guitar work of Rhoads, who was killed in a plane crash (along with two members of the band’s touring crew) early in 1982; the album Tribute, featuring a collection of songs recorded live, was released in 1987 in his honour.

Saddened by his friend’s passing, Ozzy nevertheless soldiered on. Jake E. Lee came on as guitarist for 1983’s Bark at the Moon and 1986’s The Ultimate Sin (currently unavailable on CD). He then teamed with Zakk Wylde for the first time on 1988’s No Rest for the Wicked, a partnership that has endured, in various forms, through to now. He was the primary guitarist on four more Ozzy studio albums—No More Tears (1991), Ozzmosis (1995), Down to Earth (2001), and Black Rain (2007)—in addition to several live albums, and has performed and recorded with him ever since.

Heavy metal is something of a niche genre, but Ozzy’s outlandish persona and antics gave many people at least a passing familiarity with him. He became a full-fledged household name with the 2002 debut of the MTV reality series The Osbournes (currently unavailable on DVD). Depicting the regular daily life of Ozzy, his wife and manager Sharon, and their kids Jack and Kelly, the show ran for four seasons and brought the singer even further into the spotlight.

Ozzy is no stranger to accolades—his two wins this year give him five Grammy Awards for his career. And Black Sabbath was enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. While his touring days may be over, he has indicated that he would like to find a way to perform without the rigours of travel. In the meantime, music fans everywhere will continue to enjoy and discover his music. Use the links above to put his music on your shelves for patrons, or SmartBrowse his name on our website for all we have to offer, including concert videos, books by and about him, and so much more.

No comments:

Post a Comment