The world of music moves fast, and even rockstars come and go with time. With that said, some names endure throughout the decades, and it’s not always because the have the best music. Of course, Black Sabbath were famous in their own right, but years later Ozzy Osbourne became famous as a completely separate entity. This was partly due to his solo career, but it was more to do with his love of controversy, since his behaviour made the headlines every other day.
Now, thanks to the hard work of his wife Sharon and the success of The Osbournes TV show, he’s a certified household name. He’s now the head of an empire that spans merchandise, reality TV, books and even movies – and his showing no signs of slowing down in his old age.
Tragically, he’s had to cancel his upcoming spring tour with Megadeth after suffering a bad fall in the middle of the night, and he’s now tasked with resting up at home.
So in his honour, we’re counting down the top 10 things you never knew about the so-called Prince Of Darkness. Don’t worry though, there’s not a single bat in sight.
27. He sang happy birthday to Satanists
They say that all publicity is good publicity, but it turns out that’s not always the case.
Back in the 1970s, Black Sabbath’s music and look had led many people to assume they were devil worshippers, and they soon attracted the attention of real Satanists.
The Satanists went on a pilgrimage to Ozzy’s hotel room, camping outside and even trying to break in.
He had a simple strategy for getting rid of them, which included blowing out all the candles they had brought with them, and singing Happy Birthday to them as if it was a Birthday cake!
26. He made a splash in Germany… literally
Ozzy has been pretty open about his substance use, but there have been many times in his life where he needn’t have bothered.
For example, in the middle of his ‘Blizzard Of Ozz’ tour in Germany, he was dining with some European record execs and was absolutely out of control.
Though he woke up the next day thinking all he’d done is kissed the men on the lips, it turns out he’d gotten naked and done a full striptease on the table.
Not only that, but he’d dipped his privates into the man’s drink, and topped it all off by peeing into his glass of wine.
25. He threw raw meat into his audience
As anyone who goes to gigs will tell you, bands throwing things into the crowd during shows is nothing new.
However, at some point in the 80s Ozzy decided that guitar picks and drumsticks weren’t cutting it, so he came up with something a little more unique.
Basically, he would wheel a catapult onto the stage mid-show, and use it to hurl pieces of raw meat into the audience.
He would even challenge the crowd to bring in their own meat for him to throw, leading to one young fan bringing in the head of an ox that he’d slaughtered.
24. He microdosed an annoying woman on a flight
Flying is a massive inconvenience, but luckily most people don’t have to do it all that often.
Unfortunately, when you’re a musician on a world tour, flying to and from every city is just part of the commute.
One flight of Ozzy’s was made worse when he was seated behind an annoying woman, who wouldn’t talking to him.
To get some peace and quiet, he went as far as to slip a doom dot into her drink, and the Mickey made her fall asleep instantly.
23. He fought off a house invasion while naked!
Ozzy doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to being kind to wife Sharon, but it turns out that even he can be capable of chivalry some times.
For example, the two were at home together when a burglar broke into the house and attempted to steal Sharon’s expensive jewellery.
Ozzy immediately leapt to action and fought them off, eventually getting them out of the house.
Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to get back Sharon’s wedding ring or her favourite necklace, probably because he was too busy being completely stark naked!
22. He bit the head off a live dove
You never get a second chance at a first impression, and when you’re just starting out in the music industry, it’s better to go big or go home.
Ozzy knew this, which is why he walked into his first big meeting as a solo artist with a horrifying plan.
To get everyone’s attention, he pulled a live dove from his coat pocket, and then immediately bit off its head and threw it on the table.
The bird sprayed blood everywhere and was quickly removed from the room, and Ozzy was thrown out of the building along with it!
21. He was banned from San Antonio for over a decade
It’s almost commonplace now for rockstars to be thrown out of buildings, and some – such as Marilyn Manson – have even managed to be barred from entering whole states.
With that said, when it comes to the length of the banishment, it would take a serious champ to beat Ozzy.
The story is this: one day Sharon Osbourne stole her husband’s clothes, in an attempt to keep him in the hotel room and out of trouble. Her plan fully backfired however, as Ozzy stole one of her dresses and went out in drag, famously urinating on the Alamo memorial cenotaph.
As a result, he was swiftly banned from San Antonio, and he wasn’t welcome back until 10 years later!
20. He took hotel room destruction to a whole new level
The image of musicians throwing TVs out of their hotel rooms is so ingrained in pop-culture now that it’s basically a cliche.
However, up until recently it was something Ozzy had never done, even though he’d always wished to.
Not one to do things by halves, he decided to pick a hotel room with a 50 inch TV, and it took both him and a friend to pick it up and hurl it out of the window.
It hit the ground and immediately exploded, leaving the rockstar with a $38,000 bill and probably the question of whether it was worth it.
19. He went to jail for stealing baby clothes
Ozzy dropped out of school at the age of fifteen, and for a while he tried to fill up his days with petty crime.
This included the attempted theft of a TV from a store, but more usually included attempting to steal clothes, which he didn’t usually succeed at.
In fact, he was jailed for six weeks for his first ever clothing heist, since his dad refused to pay the fine to get him out.
Not only that, but he ended up stealing the wrong thing in the first place, since it was too dark to tell between the actual clothes and the baby clothes!
18. He accidentally drugged a vicar
Accidentally drugging anyone is obviously a huge blunder, but it doesn’t get much worse than your family priest ending up as the victim.
Surprisingly, Ozzy is a devout Christian who often invites the local vicar round for tea, which is where disaster struck.
Sharon cut the vicar a slice of cake, not realising that Ozzy had baked it for himself and filled the batter with weed. Not too long after, the vicar passed out and had to be carried to his car and driven home, where he spent three days on the only bender of his life.
Thankfully, he didn’t remember a thing afterwards.
17. He only stopped cheating on Sharon because of the AIDS crisis
It’s no secret that Ozzy has been unfaithful to his current wife Sharon. And during the 80s, he was still fooling around with groupies despite being a married man.
However, all of that extra curricular activity stopped with the AIDS crisis in the mid 80s. Ozzy finally caught on that you don’t actually to have to be gay in order to contract the disease – which was basically a death sentence over 20 years ago.
The singer even went to the doctor and had a scare – Ozzy went for an AIDS test and medical staff initially thought that he had contracted the disease.
Luckily it turned out to be a false alarm, but the experience scared Ozzy so much that he vowed never to cheat on Sharon again. Which worked for a long time, until it was revealed in 2018 that he had been carrying on affairs behind Sharon’s back – leading to the couple’s temporary separation.
16. He surfed on top of an aerial tramway while drunk and high on coke
Ozzy has done a lot of crazy things in his lifetime, and he’s blamed all of them firmly on his addictions to alcohol and drugs.
One time in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he somehow managed to top all of the antics he had been up to so far.
The former Black Sabbath frontman was riding on an aerial tramway through the city, when the train suddenly came to a stop. Bearing in mind that the train is suspended thousands of feet in the air, Ozzy decided to climb on the roof.
He climbed up some ladders leading to the roof of the tramway, lifted the hatch and climbed on top of the vehicle. Suddenly the whole thing started moving again and Ozzy rode on top with his arms wide, pretending to surf.
15. Tony Iommi used to bully Ozzy when they were both kids
Ozzy and Tony Iommi have had a difficult relationship over the years. And it’s not surprising when you consider what they were both like as kids.
According to a 1982 interview with Ozzy himself, the singer revealed that Iommi had bullied Osbourne on and off when they were both in school.
This meant that the guitarist was fairly surprised when Ozzy turned up to audition as a singer for his new band. Still, they clearly buried the hatch and rock history was made!
Ozzy doesn’t remember saying this about Tony either – in a more recent interview from a few years ago, Ozzy confessed he did know Iommi in school, but added “People say he used to beat me up. He never did.” Confusing!
14. Ozzy suffers from dyslexia
Ozzy actually suffers from dyslexia, which he has previously spoken about at length in his infamous autobiography I Am Ozzy. The condition means that he is unable to focus on reading for long periods of time.
In his book, Ozzy stated: “The only good thing about having dyslexia is that dyslexics are usually very creative people, or so I’ve been told. We think in unusual ways. But it’s a very bad stigma to have, not being able to read like normal people can.
“To this day I wish I’d had a proper education. I think books are great, I do. To be able to lose yourself in a book is f—ing phenomenal. Everyone should be able to do it. But I’ve been able to get through an entire book only a few times in my life.
“Every blue moon this thing in my head will release, and I’ll try to read as many books as I can, because when it closes up it goes straight back to the way it was, and I end up just sitting there, staring at Chinese.”
13. He stopped breathing after that infamous quad bike crash
In 2003, Ozzy suffered devastating injuries after racing around his Buckinghamshire estate on a quad bike.
Things weren’t looking good for the singer, who suffered a broken collarbone, eight fractured ribs and a broken neck vertebra. However, fans might not realise just how grim things looked for Ozzy.
Immediately after the crash, Ozzy stopped breathing and was resuscitated by his former bodyguard, Sam Ruston. Ruston’s CPR managed to bring Ozzy round again, and apart from some short-term memory loss, Ozzy was able to make a full recovery.
He also bagged himself his first ever number one single while he was recovering in hospital.
12. He deliberately got married to Sharon on US Independence Day
Ozzy married his second wife Sharon Arden on 4th July, 1982 in a ceremony in Hawaii. The singer later revealed that he deliberately chose Independence Day as the date that they would tie the knot…so that he’d never forget his anniversary!
In 2017, only a year after the adultery scandal that rocked their marriage, the couple celebrated 35 years together. Ozzy posted the photo below to his Instagram account:
11. There’s a wax statue of Ozzy at the Alamo that sprays ‘pee’ at people
Luckily it seems as though some people have managed to find the funny side to Ozzy’s very public desecration of a war memorial.
In fact, you can recreate the moment yourself by visiting the Alamo today, where two artists have set up a wax statue that actually urinates at its visitors!
Ruben Ortiz-Torres and Jim Mendiola are responsible for the statue (pictured above), which was created in 2001.
The artwork even has a motion sensor attached to it so that the wax Ozzy starts peeing as soon as anyone approaches it. Much like in real life, we’re sure…
10. He wanted to be a plumber, not a rock star
Ozzy comes from a working class Brummy background, so it’s no surprise that he thought life had a very different path in store for him.
Before rising to fame as a member of Black Sabbath, Ozzy took plenty of odd jobs, and actually wanted to be a plumber before setting his sights on a career in music.
School was never his strong suit, and instead Osbourne dropped out and became a plumber’s apprentice at the age of 15 years old.
Obviously things took a different turn, but somehow we can imagine Ozzy fixing pipes and unblocking toilets as part of his day job.
9. He’s never watched a single episode of The Osbournes
Back in 2002, people had never heard of reality television…until The Osbournes aired on MTV.
The reality show quickly became MTV’s most-watched series of all time, with people of different generations tuning in to see the Prince of Darkness at home in Los Angeles.
However, despite the fact that the series earned the Osbournes plenty of money and a lot of publicity, Ozzy has come out and stated that he hated the experience and will never watch an episode of the series.
This might have something to do with the fact that he recently confirmed that he was “stoned during the entire filming of The Osbournes”.
8. He still suffers from stage fright to this day
A big part of Ozzy’s hugely successful musical career has been his epic live shows, and he’s continued to tour throughout most of his adult life.
However, the Prince of Darkness has confessed that despite playing thousands of concerts in front of millions of people, he still suffers from stage fright.
Osbourne said: “I’ve always suffered and still do from stage fright. I always want to be better.
“But when I go on stage I’m so f***ing happy to see all the people. I love them.”
Furthermore, in I Am Ozzy, he stated: “to say that I suffer from pre-show nerves is like saying that when you get hit by an atom bomb it hurts a bit.”
7. He used to work in a slaughterhouse
As we revealed earlier, Ozzy kept a number of odd jobs prior to becoming a hugely successful musician. And when he was still just a teenager, the young Osbourne found a job working at a slaughterhouse.
He was responsible for shooting cows in the head with a gun that fired a steel spike. Obviously the job had some down sides, including the fact that he would often end up getting covered in blood spray from the animals.
Maybe this early experience explains his interest in animal heads and guts! Ozzy must have done a good job anyway because he lasted in the role for two years.
Apparently he confessed that while most people would probably turn veggie after working in a slaughterhouse, it didn’t put him off meat whatsoever.
6. Many of his tattoos are home-made
It’s unsurprising that the ‘Godfather of Heavy Metal’ has an extensive tattoo collection. And plenty of them were actually created by the man himself.
His most famous inkings include the words O-Z-Z-Y on his knuckles. These were some of his first tattoos – and Ozzy did them all by himself at the tender age of 16 years old. Apparently he used a sewing needle and some grate polish to get the job done.
He also tattooed some smiley faces on his knees because they made him feel happy when he woke up in the morning! Ozzy has had plenty of tattoos done while he was under the influence.
The singer has revealed that his homemade tattoos are some of the only inkings he’s received while not either high on drugs or alcohol.
5. He once got purple paint stuck on his nose for weeks
In a slightly more homely tale, Ozzy once ended up having to walk around with purple paint on his nose for several weeks. Why?
He was performing live with the band ‘Earth’ early on in his career, when he decided to really try and grab the audience’s attention by covering his nose in purple paint.
Ozzy found the paint backstage and quickly put it on his face before entering the stage. Unfortunately, he didn’t realise that the paint was indelible and it didn’t come off for a really long time.
Oops! Funnily enough, the band he was playing with named Earth would eventually go on to become Black Sabbath.
4. He drove his first wife Thelma Riley to the hospital while drunk
Before Sharon and Ozzy, there was Ozzy and Thelma. Ozzy married Thelma Riley in 1971 after meeting her in a Birmingham night club called the Rum Runner, where Thelma happened to be working at the time.
Ozzy later admitted that this first marriage was “a terrible mistake” – he had two children with Thelma named Jessica and Louis, and also adopted Thelma’s son Elliott.
One example of Ozzy’s terrible behaviour as a family fan is the time that he drove Thelma (who was pregnant with Jessica “Starshine” Osbourne) to the hospital while completely drunk. Thelma’s water had broken and she was going into labour at the time.
Ozzy didn’t have a driver’s license and was completely drunk. Maybe they should have given Jessica the middle name “Moonshine” instead.
3. He once snorted cocaine with some air hostesses to avoid being detained at customs
Ozzy once came up with a novel way to get past customs whilst carrying a load of cocaine on an airplane.
The Prince of Darkness once found himself on a flight home to England when he realised that he was carrying four grams of cocaine in his sock. Understandably, Ozzy started to get a bit worried about whether or not he’d be able to enter the country.
Luckily, the frontman came up with a novel idea. He gave the cocaine to the stewardesses on his flight, who promptly snorted the drugs while still at work on the plane.
Very rock and roll!
2. He once set fire to a coop full of chickens
Most people would probably agree that Ozzy has had a very interesting relationship with animals over years!
And did you know that as well as biting the heads off various creatures, he also once set fire to a coop full of chickens?! Ozzy’s first wife Thelma bought her former husband some chickens to try and give him something to focus on away from drugs and alcohol.
Unfortunately, the plan backfired – Ozzy ended up hating the chickens and used to loathe having to feed them. One night when he was drunk, the singer turned a shotgun on the coop and started shooting the birds.
He then set fire to the coop and threw live cartridges into the flames, causing them to crackle and pop. We’re guessing Thelma divorced him not long after that.
1. He used to shave off the eyebrows of any guests who stayed at his home
Any guests at Ozzy’s house better watch out…
Back in the 80s, when he was still a hell raiser, Ozzy would sneak into the guest bedrooms in the middle of the night and shave off his friend’s eyebrows. Apparently he used to find it hilarious!