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Inside Ozzy Osbourne's love affair with John Lennon

@josephtaysom

John Lennon’s influence is far-reaching. His legacy has touched countless areas of music, and even the instigator of heavy metal, Ozzy Osbourne, has cited him as an endless inspiration throughout his career. The love affair began with The Beatles during his adolescence and is still burning bright today.

Most music lovers agree Black Sabbath introduced heavy metal to the masses. Although, John Lennon staked his claim for being the genre’s true originator. “It’s a heavy record, and the drums are heavy too. That’s why I like it,” the Beatle said about ‘Ticket To Ride’ in 1970. He later echoed the sentiment in 1980, commenting, “That was one of the earliest heavy metal records made. Paul’s contribution was the way Ringo played the drums.”

Intriguingly, it isn’t Lennon’s work with The Beatles that left the most significant mark on Osbourne’s artistry. However, he still holds an intense love for ‘The Fab Four’, and the first time he heard the group remains one of the singer’s fondest musical memories.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Osbourne later reminisced. “I was walking around with a transistor radio on my shoulder. And ‘She Loves You ‘came on. And I don’t know, it just went, ‘Bang! And that’s what I want to do! Wouldn’t it be great?'”.

From that initial moment, Osbourne found himself addicted to The Beatles, and Lennon was always his favourite. He even went as far as describing his hero as a “driving force for humanity”, which appropriately distils his love for the Liverpudlian into just four words.

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Furthermore, Osbourne put forward Lennon’s name when he participated in a Rolling Stone survey that aimed to come to a conclusive answer on the greatest singer of all time. He ordered his favourite 20 singers, placing Lennon and McCartney in the top two spots, respectively.

His love for Lennon doesn’t end there, and Osbourne later revealed that his most-played album of all time is Imagine. “I must have played this album thousands of times over the years,” he told Forbes. “The songs (‘Imagine,’ ‘Jealous Guy,’ ‘Gimme Some Truth’) are just timeless, which is the sign of what a great songwriter John Lennon was.

“Lennon was a poet, a rebel and had an incredible passion, all of which are so evident on this landmark album. I cannot believe that we will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.”

One of the darkest days of his existence came in 1980 when he discovered the tragic news of Lennon’s murder. “The world stopped for me. I can’t even describe how I felt,” he remembered. “But the amount of joy and hope that he gave people was just remarkable.”

Although Osbourne goes under the moniker of ‘The Prince Of Darkness’, his appreciation for John Lennon shows a soft underbelly beneath the artificial pretence he exhibits. No other singer has successfully touched him as profoundly as Lennon, and his inimitable talent continues to be a beacon of light in Osbourne’s life.