It’s safe to say that Ozzy Osbourne has done it all. One of the most legendary figures in rock history, Osbourne has experienced as many soaring highs as he has been crushing lows, a prerequisite for a musician of his stature.
Osbourne has been to the very top and the very bottom of the music industry, and his fabled life reads like a work of fiction. When reflecting on his career, the stories he regales are of such mythic proportions that we’re often left wondering if he’s even a human, as many of his exploits would turn even the bravest of men pale.
When it comes to Ozzy, it’s always a question of where to start, as the wild anecdotes are innumerable. Even though all of the Black Sabbath members got up to their fair share of hijinks, Osbourne seemed to push life to the most extreme. Just a mention of biting the bat’s head off onstage sends shivers down the spine. After he was ejected from the band in 1979, Osbourne carried on the wild behaviour that he’d become notorious for, and famously, in 1982, he was arrested for urinating on The Alamo in Texas.
Despite all this, it would be a disservice to Ozzy if we solely concentrated on the many extra-musical antics he’s been involved in, as before all else, he’s a musician and a frontman of the highest order. Not only has he sung on some of the most vital rock songs of all time, but he’s also been lucky enough to have played with a handful of genuine guitar heroes.
Whilst Randy Rhoads and Tony Iommi are the most famous of this set, people often forget about Zakk Wylde, one of the more consequential axemen that Osbourne has shared both the studio and stage with. While the mainstream consistently overlooks Wylde’s contributions to Ozzy’s career, The Prince of Darkness has not.
In a 2019 interview with his press representatives SRO, whilst promoting his boxset See You On the Other Side, Osbourne explained his relationship with Wylde and heaped praise on his guitar playing. He said: “There was Jake E. Lee, he was another great player, but then, Zakk [Wylde] is somewhere else, man! That guy gets faster and faster.”
“Zakk has been with me longer than any guitar player ever,” Osbourne continued. “He’s been with me the longest and is one of the greatest friends I’ll ever have. He is a family member to me. I mean, if I ever really needed him for anything, I could phone him up and he’d say, ‘I’ll be there in five minutes.’ And vice-versa. Zakk’s a hard-working guy. He works his balls off.”
In terms of modern rock guitarists, it’s about time that Zakk Wylde got more love, as his contributions to rock and metal have been manifold. The Osbourne/Wylde partnership is a potent one and gives even that of Osbourne/Iommi a run for its money.
Watch a short clip on Osbourne and Wylde’s relationship below.