8 Times Ozzy Osbourne Earned His Reputation As Rock’s Greatest Madman
If there’s any musician who deserves his reputation as an absolute nutter, it is Ozzy Osbourne. From his role as one of heavy metal’s forefathers in Black Sabbath, to his prolific solo career, to his high-profile role as reality-show dad on The Osbournes, the prince of darkness has always succeeded at making every other rock star look like a fucking nun. Now, with a new solo album on the way — cheekily titled Ordinary Man, as though we’d ever believe that — Ozzy’s back in the spotlight, collaborating with hip-hop’s youngest and brightest while telling fans he’ll make them defecate. Trends change, other artists come and go, but Ozzy remains, singing high-octane heavy metal while going commando in a dress.
Today, to celebrate his 71st birthday, we decided to catalog some of the times when Ozzy cemented himself as the ultimate unhinged rock star. Here are the eight most glaring examples of the Ozzman putting all other shock rockers and badasses to shame. Happy birthday, dark lord and master.
Driving drunk with his wife giving birth in the back of the car
Getting behind the wheel while drunk is dangerous, but doing so while your wife is going into labor is another beast entirely. During the birth of his daughter Jessica in 1972, Ozzy’s first wife Thelma said that he had to drive her to the hospital — even though he was totally wasted, and didn’t have a driver’s license. That said, Ozzy did as he asked, and Jessica was born safely later that day. The Devil takes care of his own, apparently.
Disappearing after a cocaine duel with David Lee Roth
A clash of the drug titans for sure: During the Alabama stop of Ozzy’s last tour with Black Sabbath in 1978, the prince of darkness challenged the vocalist of openers Van Halen, who many recount were blowing the substance-addled Sabbath off the stage every night, to a snort-off. According to Van Halen biographer Greg Renoff, the two inhaled enough devil’s dandruff to kill your average person, after which Ozzy vanished, prompting the police and even the FBI to look for him. It’s hard to decide which part is more classic Ozzy — trying to blow more coke than DLR, or getting high and just kind of…wandering off.
Getting committed mid-tour
During the European leg of Ozzy’s 1981 Diary Of A Madman tour, the singer suffered a nervous breakdown due to his first marriage falling apart and his constant partying. Sharon, then his new manager, decided the best thing was to have Ozzy checked into a mental health clinic outside of London. Veteran Ozzy bassist Rudy Sarzo described the situation: “We’d visit him, and this hospital was like something out of The Elephant Man. There’s Ozzy in one room with an iron headboard above his bed with a little curtain for him to change and a piss bucket and pitcher of water.” Going off the rails indeed.
Snorting bugs with Mötley Crüe
Ah, the old ants-snorting rumor. According to Mötley Crüe biography The Dirt, Ozzy snorted a line of ants to best Nikki Sixx in a battle of depravity (a contest that later evolved into drinking each other’s urine, but let’s stop at the bugs for now). Of course, this story has now been challenged by former Ozzy guitarist Jake E. Lee, who says that there was never a line of ants — just “a little spider.” Fuck, how could Ozzy and the Mötley boys have lied to us about the specific kind of living animal that Ozzy snorted? It appears that Jake missed the point of this story.
READ THIS: The 10 best Ozzy Osbourne solo songs
Biting the head off of a dove at a record company meeting.
It was 1981, and Ozzy had just signed his solo deal with CBS Records. To present himself as a symbol of peace and love, the Ozzman entered into a meeting with his new label rocking a coat full of doves, to be released among the crowd. Instead, wasted off of his gourd, Ozzy haphazardly tossed the poor birds around — and then grabbed one and bit its head off. While much press has been given to the singer accidentally doing the same to a dead bat onstage later, nothing compares to him literally eating the face of peace and love in front of the people who’d just hired him.
Pissing on the Alamo
For many Texans, the Alamo is a symbol of freedom, patriotism, and the will to survive. To Ozzy Osbourne, it was a urinal. During a photoshoot in San Antonio in 1982, Ozzy took a leak on a monument honoring all those who died during the famous American skirmish. He was arrested by police and banned from San Antonio for a decade. In a great show of class, the singer made a public apology in 1992 and donated $10,000 dollars to the Daughters Of The Republic Of Texas, who maintain the Alamo’s grounds. It’s heartwarming that Osbourne remembered the Alamo, given the number of other things that have slipped his mind over the years.
Making George W. Bush regret allowing him in the White House
In 2002, while The Osbournes was at the height of its popularity, Ozzy and Sharon were invited to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Dubya took Ozzy’s presence in stride, cracking the line, “Ozzy, mom loves your stuff!” In return, Ozzy got lit up at dinner, caused a ruckus at his table, and even prompted the president to mumble that this “might have been a mistake.” Making the face of the Iraq war blush — what an honor.
Sending naked pictures to his wife in his 70s.
Only earlier this year, Sharon revealed that Ozzy continues to keep up his reputation as a perverse psycho by sending his wife staged nude photos, even though he’s in his seventh decade alive. “There are red roses coming out of his bum,” Sharon said, describing the “sexy and naked” photos her husband texts her. “He will do the front and he has just got a big bunch of flowers stuck between his legs so you cannot see. He is very creative.” We all hope to be texting our SOs amateur porn when we’re grandparents.
READ THIS: 12 of the best dads in heavy metal
27 Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena
29 Sunrise, FL BB&T Center
31 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union
2 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
4 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
6 Hershey, PA Hershey Park Stadium
11 Pittsburgh, PA KeyBank Pavilion
13 Bangor, ME Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion
16 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
18 Hamilton, ON First Ontario Centre
20 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
22 New York, NY Madison Square Garden Arena
24 St Louis, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
26 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
28 Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena
1 Milwaukee, WI Amer. Family Ins. Amp — Summerfest
3 St Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
7 Edmonton, AB Rogers Place
9 Vancouver, BC Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena
11 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
15 Portland, OR Moda Center
17 Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center
23 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion
25 San Francisco, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
29 San Diego, CA North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
31 Las Vegas, CA MGM Grand Garden Arena
23 Newcastle, Utilita Arena, UK
25 Glasgow, SSE Hydro, UK
28 London, The O2, UK
31 Birmingham, Resorts World Arena, UK
2 Manchester, Manchester Arena, UK
5 Dublin, 3Arena, Ireland
8 Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena, UK
11 Dortmund, Westfalenhalle, Germany
13 Prague, O2 Arena, Czech Republic
16 Vienna, Stadthalle, Austria
19 Bologna, Unipol Arena, Italy
22 Madrid, WiZink Arena, Spain
24 Zurich, Hallenstadion, Switzerland
26 Munich, Olympiahalle, Germany
28 Mannheim, SAP Arena, Germany
30 Berlin, Mercedes-Benz Arena, Germany
3 Hamburg, Barclaycard Arena, Germany
5 Stockholm, Friends Arena, Sweden
7 Helsinki, Hartwall Arena, Finland
In the wake of his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Ozzy has canceled his upcoming North American tour dates.
Primus will pay homage to one of their idols by performing Rush’s A Farewell To Kings in its entirety across North America.