Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne has lived a crazy life, one that few could ever believe let alone relate to. His life has been a unique journey which has seen him conquer the music world both with his band and as a solo artist—he has truly seen it all. However, but with the immeasurable highs come painful lows, including a period in which he truly lost himself and attempted to kill his wife. This kind of behaviour is especially prevalent when you suffer the pits of addiction in the way that Osbourne has over the last half-century.
The zenith of Osbourne’s drug consumption would come to light during the recording process for the album Vol. 4 in Los Angeles, a time when he got so caught up in the chokehold of cocaine during the studio sessions that he and his band even wrote an ode to the white powder on the record entitled ‘Snowblind’. The Sabbath became so obsessed with the substance that they begged to have the record titled ‘Snowblind’ but, somewhat predictably, the record label didn’t budge and they had to settle for the less evocative Vol. 4. This kind of excessive behaviour would ultimately come crashing down.
The band, so captivated by their coke sessions during recording, bassist Terence ‘Geezer’ Butler would admit years later that the making of the album cost the band around $60,000 to make in total. The eye-watering figure was sizeably less required to make than the band’s coke habit while recording which, according to rumours, stood at a staggering $75,000 bill.
Somewhat predictably, Osbourne’s addiction would have adverse effects on his family who heavily felt the dark side of Osborne, during a period in which he lost himself and became a shadow of the man that his wife fell in love with. He has abused alcohol and other drugs for the majority of his adult life and admitted to Sounds in 1978, “I get high, I get fucked up. What the hell’s wrong with getting fucked up? There must be something wrong with the system if so many people have to get fucked up.”
Ozzy used to get so out of his face and blackout drunk after a session which would go on for days on end, a run of partying which would leave him with immense anxiety from the moment he woke up with a hangover the size of Birmingham. His biggest fear was that when he awoke from one of these mammoth sessions that he had zero recollection of, is that in his messed up state he would have killed someone in an act of violence and once his worst nightmare very nearly came true.
“I woke up in this little single cell with human [faeces] up the walls,” Ozzy once regretfully recalled in an interview. “I thought, what… have I done now? Has one of my practical jokes backfired? So I asked a police officer. I said: ‘What am I here for?’ I hadn’t got a… clue. It’s the most horrific feeling. He read me a piece of paper, and said, ‘You’re charged with attempting to [slay] Mrs Sharon Osbourne.’ I can’t tell you how I felt. I just went numb.”
“We’d had a couple of fights,” Sharon once said about this painful time in their marriage during a TV documentary titled Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne. “You can tell it was building to something, you could just feel it. I just knew it was coming. I had no idea who sat across from me on the sofa, but it wasn’t my husband,” she said. “He gets to a stage where he gets this look in his eyes where his shutters are down and I couldn’t get through to him.
“He was calm—very, very calm—and he lunged across at me,” she added. “I felt the stuff on the table and felt the panic button and just pressed it. Next thing I know the cops were there.
“It’s not exactly one of my greatest fucking achievements,” Osbourne added on the whole ordeal, he also noted that was “very, very surprised” when his wife did not seek charges against him.
On reflection, as he has matured, Ozzy Osbourne that carried out that hideous assault is one that he doesn’t recognise and is a sign of how drugs and alcohol can infect the brain, ruining not just your own life but also the lives of the people closest to you. Thankfully, Osbourne is in a good place these days and, although he still doesn’t remain a picture of good health, by his standards he’s doing exceptional.