John Michael Osbourne was born to John Thomas Osbourne and his wife Lillian
on December 3rd, 1948. His residence was located at 14 Lodge Road, Aston,
Birmingham, England. John Thomas was a professional tool maker and Lillian
worked at the Lucas car factory.|
John was one of 3 brothers and 3 sisters. His two brothers were named Paul,
and Tony, and his 3 sisters were named Jean, Iris, and Gillian.
While in grammar school, John Osbourne was nicknamed "Ozzy", short for
his last name "Osbourne".
Ozzy was born into a very poor family. He barely had any clothes. In fact,
in a recent interview he said he only had one shirt, one pair of pants,
and one jacket. His apartment had no indoor plumbing and no indoor bathroom.
He slept in one bed with all 5 of his brothers and sisters.
At the young age of 15, Ozzy quits school and begins work as a plumbers
mate. This job didn't last too long, and Ozzy moved on to a slaughter
house. This is where Ozzy learned to like killing 250 cattle a day and
cutting sheep guts out. That lasted a few months, before he got tired of
that, and he wound up getting a job with his mother, Lillian (maiden name
"Unit") testing car horns at the Lucas factory. This is where Ozzy's first
musical influence started.|
Dissatisfied with the low income Ozzy is earning, he turns to a life of
crime. He begins robbing small clothes stores and private home. The cops
keep catching him though, because he wears gloves but the fingers are cut
out! His fingerprints are left all over the place. Ozzy's longest sentence
was 6 weeks in the Winson Green Prison, for burglary. During this 6 week
sentence, armed with a needle and a slab of graphite, Ozzy places the now
famous tattoos on his body. O-Z-Z-Y across his knuckles, needles on his
arms, the word "thanks" on his palm, and a happy face on each knee to cheer
him up when he wakes up in the morning.
As a child, Ozzy loved the Beatles and always was admired by the way
they commanded an audience. He made up his mind, he wanted to be just
like the Beatles.
Walking the streets in search of something to do, Ozzy meets and old
friend who had just put a band together named "Approach". This band
had no singer, so Ozzy said "I'm a singer!" Ozzy ran home and some how
got his father to buy him a $50 amp and microphone. Approach was a
rhythm type band and Ozz didn't like it too much, so he quit and joined
another band named "Music Machine". That band didn't last long either.
Ozzy and old time friend Terrance Butler (now known as "Geezer") then
formed a band named "Rare Breed". Rare Breed really wasn't going any
where so Ozzy put an ad in a local paper which said:
OZZY ZIG - VOCALIST - REQUIRES BAND - OWNS OWN P.A.
Ozzy's 6th grade class picture: Teacher Wil Parry
Williams, of Tregarth, near Bethesda, who before
his retirement was headmaster of Ysgol Treborth,
Bangor. Ozzy is pictured at the right in his
Now, on the other side of town, two young men by the names of Bill
Ward and Tony Iommi had created a
band named "The Rest" which had later changed their name to "Mythology". So Tony
sees this ad in the
paper reading "Ozzy Zig", and he thinks to himself, "This can't be the
same Ozzy I used to beat up on the playground when I was younger", so
he goes to the address on the ad, and sure enough, it's the same Ozzy.
They all hook up and create "Polka Tulk". Polka Tulk was derived from
a can of talcum powder that Ozzy found in a bathroom. The band now
consists of 6 people: Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Ward, Tony Iommi, Geezer
Butler, Jimmy Phillips and Clark. It was a blues/jazz type of music with a hard edge,
but Phillips and Clark didn't like that hard edge so
they both quit. Polka Tulk then became "Earth".|
At one particular Earth gig, the band was asked by mistake to play at
an upscale banquet. They were asked to perform in Tux's. The people
that had hired them had mistaken them for another band named Earth.
The show went on, but the richy rich people in the audience were
mortified by this new sound.
The band was getting a little recognition but not much. They were touring
in a very beat up van making very little money. In fact, in a recent
interview, Tony recounts a time where Ozzy walked to practice barefoot
because he couldn't afford new shoes.
One Day an old horror movie was playing at a local theatre by the name
of "Black Sabbath". Geezer saw this and said to himself, why would
people pay good money to get the crap scared out of them? He came back
to the guys and talked it over with them and decided to change their
image and their name to "Black Sabbath". Black Sabbath would now be
a doomsy, dark and "new" band.|
The band starts playing a lot more small clubs and gaining popularity.
A man by the name of Jim Simpson steps in and becomes the bands new
manager. Jim had the band record a special demo album, just for him
named "For Jim". This album contains 5 songs, consisting of the only
jazz session ever recorded by Black Sabbath. It features Tony Iommi
playing with the style of Wes Montgomery and Bill Ward backing him up
with bebop drums. Two of the songs on this album were named "A Song
For Jim" and "The Rebel". Short samples of them can be heard on a
video released in the early 90's called "The Black Sabbath Story, Vol 1".
Now playing a lot of clubs, the band gets very annoyed at the audience
because people are talking to each other and not paying attention. One
night Ozzy decides to paint himself purple to attract
some attention, and the funny thing is....it didn't work! It took days
to get off. So finally they decide to crank up the volume so loud, that
the audience can't even hear themselves think and are force to listen.
February, Friday the 13th, 1970, Black Sabbath's first album "Black
Sabbath is released under the Vertigo label. It was recorded in 8 hours
on two four track machines and cost about $1200 to make. Ozzy couldn't
wait to bring the record home to show his father and say "Look dad, it's
me on a piece of plastic!" After his dad listened to the record, he asked
Ozzy "Are you sure you're only smoking cigarettes?" On the gatefold
of the album, the record company decided to put an upside down cross
with a poem in the middle of it. The band had no idea they did this.
The poem read as follows:|
"Still Falls The Rain"
Still falls the rain,
The veils of darkness shroud the blackened trees,
Which, contorted by some unseen violence,
Shed their tired leaves, and bend their boughs
Toward a grey earth of severed bird wings.
Among the grasses, poppies bleed before a gesticulating death,
and young rabbits, born dead in traps,
stand motionless, as through guarding the silence,
and threatens to engulf
all those that would listen.|
Mute birds, tired of repeating yesterdays terrors,
huddle together in the recesses of dark corners,
heads turned from the dead,
black swan that floats upturned in a small pool in the hollow.
There emerges from this pool a faint, sensual mist,
That traces its way upwards to caress the feet
Of the headless martyr's statue
Whose only achievement was to die too soon,
and who couldn't wait to lose.
The cataract of darkness forms fully,
The long black night begins,
Yet still by the lake, a young girl waits,
Unseeing she believes herself unseen,
she smiles faintly at the distant tolling bell,
and the still rain falling.
With the release of this first album, the bands audience begins to grow
rapidly attracting all walks of life, including self proclaimed witches
and Satanists. One night the band was asked by a witch to play at a
satanic ceremony. The band declined and the witch cast an evil spell
over the band. Being totally freaked out by this, Ozzy had his father
make aluminum crosses for all four members of the band to keep evil
spirits away from them. In a recent interview, Bill Ward said he is the
only one that still has the original cross. Ozzy now has 14 karat crosses!
In October 1970, the band releases their second album, "Parnoid". This
album was made in 4 days. It was originally supposed to be named
"War Pigs" but at the last minute was changed to Paranoid by the
record company due to the Vietnam war. The very popular song "Paranoid"
was actually recorded as just a filler song at the last minute in
the studio and was never intended to become such an anthem to the
group. The album hits #1 status. At this same time they decide to let
Jim Simpson go as their manager. Jim was keeping to much profit. Patrick
Meehan and Wilf Pine take over.
In December, Black Sabbath's first album "Black Sabbath" is released
in the U.S. by Warner Brothers as the band tours colleges. By now that
album has already hit platinum status.
Ozzy marries a woman by the name of Thelma Mayfair. Thelma already had a
boy from a previous marriage named Elliot Kingsley who was 5 years old, so
Ozzy decided to adopt him.|
In march, the Paranoid album hits the #12 spot on the U.S. charts. This
album goes on to sell over 4 million copies.
Late 1971, The "Master Of Reality" album is released. This album featured
a few songs that had a reference to religion in a good way, but received
bad press for putting down religion. In September it went to #5 on the U.K.
charts and #8 on the U.S. It reached platinum status shortly thereafter.
Black Sabbath's 4th album is released entitled "Volume 4". This album
was originally going to be named "Snowblind" (a reference to cocaine
usage) but the record company once again stepped in and told them "No!"
By November it had reached a peak of #8 on the U.K. charts and #13 in
Ozzy's first offspring was born this year, a daughter by the name of
Jessica Starshine Osbourne.
The Album "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is released. This album featured the
very first song which Ozzy wrote the lyrics and music to, "Who Are You?"
(Geezer wrote 95% of lyrics to all Sabbath songs Ozzy sang.) In February
it hit #4 on U.K. charts and #11 in the U.S. Within a year it had sold
a million copies.|
April 6th, the band performs at the Cal Jam in Ontario, CA. The band hadn't
performed live for over 6 months and were given 1 days notice of this concert.
The band gets paid $1000 each, but later learn that they really earned
$250,000 which their manager screwed them out of.
Once again, Black Sabbath fires their management and try to take things into
their own hands. Sabbath is managementless!|
"Sabotage" is released. This album featured a song entitle "The Writ"
which told their true feelings against past management problems. It hit
#7 on U.K. charts and #28 in the U.S.
Ozzy's first son is born, named Louis Jon Osbourne. (He is the little kid on
Ozzy's solo album "Diary Of A Madman".)
With all the bad management problems and constant touring, Ozzy took
some time off. He went home and got rid of some of his frustration
by shooting all the chickens around his house.|
In April, a best of album entitled "We Sold Our Souls For Rock And Roll"
and hits #35 in the U.K. and #48 in the U.S.
The band hires new management because they can't handle it all by
themselves. They hire a man by the name of Don Arden. This was how
Ozzy was introduced to Sharon Arden (now Sharon Osbourne). Don is
In late 1976, the "Technical Ecstasy" album is released. It hits #13 on the
U.K. charts and #51 in the U.S.
Ozzy is fed up with Tony's control over the band and is also whacked out
of his mind from excessive use of drugs and alcohol. On top of all of that
his father dies and throws Ozzy into a deep emotional swell. He announces
that he is quitting Black Sabbath.
During this time period, Ozzy attempts to put together his own band. He recruits
"Necromandus" guitarist Barry Dunnery, bass player Dennis McCarten and drummer Frank Hall,
and records demos for a proposed album. These demos have never seen the light of day.
Later this same year, Ozzy again makes another attempt at a solo project and recruits
"Dirty Tricks" guitarist John Fraser-Binnie, bassist Terry Horbury and drummer Andy
Bierne. However, it wasn't in the cards for this line-up either.
Sabbath tries out a new singer by the name of Dave Walker (ex Fleetwood Mac).
You can hear him singing a different version of "Junior's Eyes" on a well
known bootleg entitled "The Archangel Rides Again". Ozzy gets back up on
his feet and rejoins the band. All material written for the new album with
Walker is destroyed because Ozzy didn't want to sing any of it. |
Sabbath's last album with Ozzy "Never Say Die" is released. Ozzy dedicated
a song entitled "Junior's Eyes" as a goodbye to his father.
Constant usage of narcotics and alcohol force the band to fire Ozzy.
Bill Ward is put up to do the dirty deed. Ronnie James Dio would
be his replacement. This marks the lowest point in Ozzy's life.
© 1995-2005 Mitch Van Beekumhttp://www.ozzyhead.com