Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath were at the forefront of ushering in a brand new sound when the four rowdy lads from Birmingham tore it up on their self-titled debut album in 1970. The next few years saw the band take their own brand of heavy metal across the world, all while enjoying the debauched journey that came with it. 50 years on from the release of Sabbath’s debut, Ozzy is still flying high as one of the forefathers of metal. However, there’s a darker side to Osbourne which has had a tendency to rear its head over the decades.
Black Sabbath were pioneers in every sense of the word. The Brummies were unlike anything that came before them and rapidly became heroes for a generation of kids who would do their best to replicate their anarchic sound. What made Sabbath so sumptuous was that the band wasn’t only the Ozzy Osbourne show, all four members of the group brought their own individual ingredients to the party which created unmatched headbanging anthems. However, that didn’t stop Osbourne from gaining the kind of dangerous ego that only comes from being the lead singer in a rock band.
As much as Osbourne, AKA The Prince of Darkness, is well-known for his pounding anthems, he’s probably even more famed for his tendency to do something absolutely batshit crazy. The Black Sabbath frontman has released one memoir back in 2009 when he penned I Am Ozzy but, with the number of wild antics that he’s got up to in his life, Osbourne could easily have spread it out over more books than J.K. Rowling did with Harry Potter.
The musician has abused alcohol and other drugs for the majority of his adult life, once admitting 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 Osbourne is the definition of a life well-lived, it’s a minor miracle that his body has survived the hell that he has put it through over the last 50-years. The ‘Prince of Darkness’ has never really overthought the potential consequences of his actions which may have put the people around him through living hell but they make for an unbelievable read that forces you to pinch yourself.
Let’s take a look at some of the wildest moments from the craziest character in rock.
Ozzy Osbourne’s 10 Wildest Moments:
This story comes via Tony Iommi’s 2011 interview with New York Post to promote his bookIron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath and puts his bandmate Ozzy into a brand new realm of rock and roll storytelling.
Iommi recalls “With drugs always you get bored, so you must do something to one another. Like Ozzy hauling a shark through a window, dismembering it and soaking our room in blood.” The fact, that Iommi leaves out any additional context and writes it like it’s something normal that happens when drugs are involved.
For Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne trashing a hotel room with a dismembered shark was just another day on tour.
Poisoning Bill Ward through his penis
This particular anecdote is from 1972 when the band were living in a mansion in Bel Air which was dominated by cocaine. So much so that they originally planned to call the album they were working on Snowblind.
Osbourne once revealed the coke-fuelled prank he attempted to pull on Ward whilst they were urinating next to one other during the recording process, saying to Rolling Stone some years later: “I see this aerosol can and squirt his dick with it. He starts screaming and falls down. I look at the can and it says, WARNING: DO NOT SPRAY ON SKIN – HIGHLY TOXIC. I poisoned Bill through his dick!”
However, in his 2010 autobiography, he would remember the incident a little different and tried to rewrite history by painting himself in a more innocent light. He wrote: “One day, Tony gets this can of blue spray paint and sneaks around the other side of the railing, and when Bill starts pissing over the railing, he sprays his dick with it. You should have heard the scream, man. It was priceless. But then, two seconds later, Bill blacks out, falls headfirst over the railing and starts rolling down the hillside.”
The Dove Incident
When he decided to go solo after leaving Black Sabbath, Osbourne was keen to make a good impression with his new record label CBS and did it in his own weird way. This was meant to be a gesture of goodwill but Osbourne’s plan release a set of doves into the air didn’t go as planned, although he did describe it as being a “sign of peace”.
The CBS bosses were initially indifferent to his grand gesture, which made an intoxicated Ozzy decided to turn things up a notch. It’s claimed that he reached for the closest dove, bit its head off and then spat it onto the ground whilst his mouth was drenched with blood.
When his addiction to drugs and alcohol reached a severe low point, Ozzy once took out his frustrations at his beloved family cats. This came at a period which Osbourne later admitted that his drug intake had got to such a sky-high level that he had turned into “a wreck”.
The Black Sabbath man had around 17 cats in his home and took it upon himself to shoot them all. Ozzy’s wife later came home to find him in an absolute state perched under the piano in a white suit with a shotgun in one hand and a bloody knife in the other.
The bat incident
Arriving in Des Moines as part of his solo tour in 1982, Ozzy was in typically audacious form. The singer was at the height of his infamy when he clamped the mammal’s head between his teeth and chomped down. It has become one of the most iconic moments of Osbourne’s long career.
In a somewhat deranged episode of Night Flight Osbourne explains, “I thought it was one of those rubber bats. I picked it up and it was a real bat, you know?” The interviewer then asks if the bat was alive when Osbourne picked it up, he replied it was, “’Til I bit the head off it.”
“I had to go straight from the gig to the hospital, and the guy said, ‘we better give you some precautionary rabies shots’,” Osbourne recalls in the 1992 documentary Don’t Blame Me: The Tales of Ozzy Osbourne. “I had one in each rear, one in each arm, and one in the top of my leg – and I had to have that every night. For anyone out there who thinks it’s ‘cool’… and if you want to be a complete dick, try it.”
Osbourne recalled in his autobiography, I Am Ozzy, of one particular occasion where the band were asked to perform at Britain’s Druid Mecca, Stonehenge: “I couldn’t believe it when I learned that people actually ‘practiced [sic] the occult.’ These freaks with white make-up and black robes would come up to us after our gigs and invite us to black masses at Highgate Cemetery in London,” he said.
“I’d say to them, ‘Look, mate, the only evil spirits I’m interested in are called whisky, vodka, and gin.”
He continued: “At one point we were invited by a group of Satanists to play at Stonehenge,” recalled Ozzy. But would the band submit to their apparent dark overlord? “We told them to fuck off, so they said they’d put a curse on us. Britain even had a ‘chief witch’ in those days… Mind you, we did buy a Ouija board once and have a little seance. We scared the shit out of each other.”
Yes, Ozzy Osbourne once drugged a vicar but in his defence, it was accidental. The situation arose after Osbourne went to the pub and then came back home a “few days” later. “I’d bought some hash and I’d made a cake with it,” Osbourne said to GQ. “I put it in a tin and went to the pub and I said to my ex-wife, ’Don’t let anybody eat this fucking cake. It will be bad.’”
He continued: “Anyway, I came back from the pub a few days later and I did a double-take, because the vicar was in our house, having a cup of tea in the kitchen with a piece of this cake. I hadn’t got a driving [license], but he was slumped in my kitchen, so I had to drag him out by his hair, push him in the back of his car, drive him to his door and then walk home.”
“I thought I’d killed him,” he admitted. “Then I saw him in a pub on a Sunday morning and he said, ‘I must have caught such a dreadful flu at yours. I hallucinated for three days and had to miss church.’ I was just relieved to see him. ‘Fucking hell, he’s alive!’ Because that was a big chunk of hash. When you move into the countryside they try to get you into the congregation and welcome you to the community. They invite you for a chat, see if you want to confess a few things.”
He then beautifully added: “If I’d have gone I’d still be there now, fucking confessing all my sins!”
The White House
Bizarrely, Ozzy Osbourne and his family were invited as guests to The White House in 2002 whilst they were at the peak of their reality TV fame.
This will come as no surprise to anybody who has got this far in the list but the day was nothing short of a nightmare and George W. Bush would regret his decision to invite the notorious Black Sabbath leader to the most prestigious house in America.
Ozzy, unsurprisingly, took full advantage of the free bar and had an absolute blast, unlike Bush who was allegedly so fed up at Osbourne that he muttered: “This might have been a mistake.” It will come as no shock that the two of them didn’t go on to have a long-lasting friendship and haven’t seen each other since.
Nearly killing Sharon
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.
Have you even been to San Antonio, Texas, if you’ve never been arrested for pissing on the most sacred monument in the whole of the city? That’s one achievement that Ozzy Osbourne has regrettably ticked off his bucket list.
He was beyond inebriated and was also comedically wearing one of Sharon’s dresses after she hid his clothes to prevent him from going out — which somehow didn’t prevent him from hitting the bars of San Antonio. Ozzy couldn’t hold it in any longer and didn’t realise that he was urinating on the sacred cenotaph. Even if he didn’t realise, the police saw it all and they dutifully arrested him.
“We all have done things in our lives that we regret,” Ozzy maturely said at the time. “I am deeply honoured that the people of San Antonio have found it in their hearts to have me back. I hope that this donation will show that I have grown up.”