Ozzy Osbourne: Biography from Black Sabbath to Solo Artist

Born December 3rd, 1948 in Birmingham, England, Ozzy Osbourne found his first taste of fame as frontman for the influential heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He left the band in the late 1970s to pursue a solo career, with which he has had as much, if not more, success. His wild antics only added to his fame and popularity throughout the years. The launching of the Ozzfest and the reality TV show based on his family "The Osbournes" served to keep him in the public eye while he continued to release new material. In this video, WatchMojo.com takes a look at the life and career of Ozzy Osbourne.
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Growing Up


John Michael Osbourne was born December 3rd, 1948 in Birmingham, England to a working-class family. Osbourne began performing at a young age by acting in school plays and musicals. He then worked a string of manual labor jobs, before going to jail for petty crime.

First Band


Upon his release, he joined a local band as the vocalist. The group eventually called itself Earth, and they produced conventional bluesy rock.

Black Sabbath


Earth found some local success, but really earned recognition when they turned to scarier and heavier-sounding music. Another name change came in 1969, and Black Sabbath was born.

Success with Black Sabbath


As frontman for this influential British band, Ozzy helped define early metal music. The band’s 1970 self-titled debut was considered forgettable by critics, but it sold well. However, the next year’s follow-up record, Paranoid, was considered seminal to the heavy metal genre.

Going Solo


Sabbath released more pivotal albums during the ‘70s. But, at the height of their popularity, Ozzy decided to capitalize on the opportunity to pursue a solo career. This decision was precipitated by tensions within the band, as well as drug use by Osbourne and the rest of the group. Ozzy officially left Black Sabbath in 1979.

Debut


The next year, he began recording his solo debut with a group of established musicians that included former Quiet Riot guitarist Randy Rhoads. Later in 1980, Blizzard of Ozz was released. It became one of the best-selling albums of the decade on the strength of hits like “Mr. Crowley” and “Crazy Train.”

Marriage to Sharon Arden



By this time, Ozzy was being managed by Sharon Arden, who was the daughter of Black Sabbath’s manager. The pair began to date and shortly thereafter, they married.

Sophomore Album


Osbourne built on the success of his debut with 1981’s Diary of a Madman. The album featured a number of standout tracks, like “Flying High Again” and “Over the Mountain,” while the title track sent shivers down listeners’ spines.

Wild Behavior


By this point, Ozzy had a reputation for eerie vocals, and nurtured his image as an angry misfit. His concert theatrics added to this: he threw raw meat at crowds and bit the head off a live bat, in addition to publicly urinating at the Alamo. These incidents simply earned him more fans.

Tragedy


However, as Osbourne’s and Rhoads’ careers reached unseen heights, tragedy struck. On March 19th, 1982, Rhoads was a passenger on an aircraft piloted by the band’s bus driver when it crashed and killed those onboard.

Live Album


In the wake of this misfortune, Osbourne was contractually obligated to release a live album. To avoid profiting from his friend and bandmate’s death, he hired guitarist Brad Gillis to step in and record the Black Sabbath covers that became 1982’s Speak of the Devil.

More Solo Success


The next year, Ozzy partnered with guitarist Jake E. Lee and released the successful Bark at the Moon. In 1986, he released his fourth studio album, The Ultimate Sin, again with Lee. By 1987, Lee had been replaced by Zakk Wylde, and he helped introduced Ozzy to a new generation of music fans with 1988’s No Rest for the Wicked.

A Grammy


Ozzy didn’t slow down in the ‘90s: the massively successful No More Tears featured numerous hit singles, and was released in 1991. That album won him a Grammy for the song “I Don’t Want to Change the World.”

Touring and Live Shows


The concert series in support of that album was nicknamed “No More Tours,” as Ozzy announced it would be his last. In 1993, he released one of the best live metal records of all time: the double album Live and Loud.

Ozzfest


Fortunately for fans, he returned in 1995 with Ozzmosis, and the ensuing “Retirement Sucks” tour. Also in the ‘90s, Osbourne and his wife launched the popular metal concert series “Ozzfest.”

“The Osbournes”


The next decade, Ozzy made it to television by launching the MTV reality series “The Osbournes” in 2002. On that show, audiences were introduced to a different side of Ozzy and his family.


More Albums


Ozzy continued releasing albums well into the twenty first century, with 2001’s Down to Earth followed by 2007’s Black Rain and 2010’s Scream.

Music


With highly-publicized on-and-off drug troubles and wild rumors following him through his career, Ozzy Osbourne was proof that after all was said and done; only the music mattered.
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