Ozzy Osbourne was born
on December 3, 1948 in Aston
as John Michael Osbourne. His parents, Jack and Lillian Osbourne, had six children, Ozzy being the fourth. His father
worked night shifts in a steel
plant and his mother
worked at a car
plant. The Osbourne family lived in poverty
, and a crowded
house. Ozzy was beaten
regularly by his father; mainly for behavior such as trying to kill
. Ozzy was not a good
student and wanted to get done with it as fast as possible. He got his nick name
, Ozzy, from school-mates who called him "Ozzie" or "Oz-brain". He performed in some of his school plays
such as H.M.S. Pinafore
, The Mikado
, and The Pirates of Penzance
Constant fighting and arguing between Ozzy's parents about their financial situation finally prompted him to try and do something about it. At the age of fifteen, Ozzy took his first job as a plumber's assistant; and then a toolmaker's apprentice. He went through many jobs, including: an auto mechanic, house painter, two weeks at a mortuary, a slaughterhouse killing cows, and at the same car plant his mother worked at tuning car horns. Ozzy also tried some jobs in crime, breaking into places to steal things; this later landed him in Birmingham's Winson Green Prison for a short time for burglary. While he was there, he tattooed his left finger knuckles with the famous "O-Z-Z-Y" using a sewing needle and graphite. Once he was released, he never wanted to go back, so he decided to try and make a career in music.
Ozzy joined and left many bands which never went anywhere. He later met an inexperienced guitar player named Geezer Butler by placing ads saying he needed gigs. The two formed a band called Rare Breed, which disbanded after only two shows. One of Ozzy's enemies from when he went to school, Tony Iommi, also saw the ad and got in contact with him. He found out it was the same Ozzy that he went to school with and decided it would be best not to form a band together. Ozzy and Geezer still needed a drummer, so they asked Tony if he knew one; he did. Tony had formed a band named Mythology with Bill Ward before he and Ozzy reunited, which had broken up just before. They asked Bill to join, he said only if they let Tony also join; so they all joined together. They relocated to Carlisle; where Bill and Tony had played a few successful gigs while in Mythology. Ozzy named the band the "Polka Tulk Blues Band"; some say after a can of talcum powder, others say after Pakistani clothing company named "Polka Tulk Trading Company".
Geezer switched to bass guitar since Tony took over as lead guitarist. The band decided to change their name, and were known as "Earth" for two years. Up until 1969, they only played other band's material, but that was soon to change. One day while waiting for rehearsal, they noticed a movie playing named "Black Sabbath" with Boris Karloff from 1935. So they decided to name their first original song "Black Sabbath".
One night at a gig, the crowd was expecting to hear a different band which was also named "Earth". Ozzy and the others just realized that they weren't the only ones with that name. The show turned out to be a disaster. After, Geezer came up with the idea to name themselves "Black Sabbath", the same name as their first original song and the Boris Karloff film. See Black Sabbath for more information on them, I will move on to after Ozzy was kicked out.
In 1978, Ozzy was fired from Black Sabbath because Bill and Tony wanted him out. In 1979 Ozzy formed his own band with Lee Kerslake on drums, Bob Daisley on bass, and Randy Rhoads, right out of Quiet Riot, on guitar. In 1980 they released their debut album, Blizzard of Oz. By their second album, Diary of a Madman, Kerslake and Daisley had left and been replaced by Tommy Aldridge on drums and Rudy Sarzo on bass. In 1982, guitarist Randy Rhoads was killed in a plane crash. This was a hard hit to Ozzy, because he was so close to Rhoads; nevertheless Ozzy kept on going. Rhoads was replaced by Brad Gillis; who had to fill the immense space Rhoads left behind. After a tour in 1983, Sarzo and Gillis walked out and Ozzy got Daisley to rejoin on bass, and Jake Lee replacing Gillis on guitar. After their release of Bark at the Moon, drummer Aldridge left, to be replaced by Carmine Appice. Shortly after, Appice was replaced by Randy Castillo and Phil Soussan took over bass. His wife, Sharon Osbourne, then began to manage for him in the late 80s.
Ozzy's attitude and wild demeanor has helped him greatly, and gotton him into some trouble. In 1982, Ozzy was banned from playing in San Antonio, Texas, for pissing on The Alamo. He was arrested and charged with defiling a national monument; the ban was later lifted. In 1992, Ozzy donated $20,000 to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to help restore the Alamo. Also in 1982, Ozzy had to undergo treatment for rabies after he bit off the head of a bat in a live performance. In the late 80s Ozzy was charged for the death of a teenager who commited suicide. The father of the teen accused Ozzy of using his lyrics to influence fans to kill themselves; Ozzy was eventually cleared on all charges.
Through it all, Ozzy has still managed to create inspiring music with a trademark sound only he can create. He remains one of the most influential artists alive today. His work in Black Sabbath helped start a musical revolution, which was built upon the work of The Beatles. Ozzy says The Beatles are and were one of his major influences, and he still listens to them before he performs. To this day, he has legions of faithful fans who proclaim him to be a sort of god.