Born on 3 December 1948, John Michael Osbourne grew up in a large family.
At 16 he became a mod. Not because of any deep love for the clothes or the music, but because he liked taking a lot of speed and staying up all night at the All Nighters and “if you were a rocker you couldn’t go in there without getting your head kicked in – so I was a mod”.
After singing in a number of local Brummie bands, “Ozzy” and his mate Geezer Butler – fresh from Rare Breed – joined Tony Iommi and Bill Ward in Black Sabbath.
Fast-forward to 27 April 1979: Black Sabbath are in rehearsals in Los Angeles when Ozzy is dismissed from the band on the grounds that he is a drunkard and a drug addict.
At the age of 30, Ozzy thought he was finished . . .
Sabbath’s manager, Don Arden – an infamous hard man nicknamed ‘the Al Capone of pop’ – sent Ozzy to the Le Parc hotel and there the singer hid himself away, humiliated and depressed.
With his wife Thelma and his two children back home in England, Ozzy attempted to numb his pain in the only way he knew how; with alcohol, cocaine, weed and a string of one-night stands.
He opened his door only to drug dealers, for booze and pizza deliveries, or for a few well-informed groupies who had managed to track him down.
Sharon Arden, Don’s daughter, worked for her father’s firm at their LA office. At 27 she had spent most of her adult life around rock bands.
She first met Ozzy when she was just 18. Like her father, Sharon had a tough, no-nonsense approach to business.
When she visited Ozzy at Le Parc she was shocked at his appearance and at the squalor in which he was living.
What Sharon said to Ozzy that day would change his life and save him from himself. She told him that she wanted to manage him . . . *if* he cleaned up his act.
The resurrection of Ozzy Osbourne would be one of the most unlikely comebacks in rock history – and one of the most spectacular.
A few weeks after Sharon spoke to Ozzy at Le Parc, he met guitarist Randy Rhoads for the first time. Under Sharon’s instructions, he had begun auditioning musicians in LA (among them, Gary Moore who had just left Thin Lizzy). Rhoads (still officially a member of Quiet Riot) was the only candidate who impressed.
Meeting up with Australian bass player Bob Daisley in the UK, the trio began writing and rehearsing and auditioning drummers. They eventually gelled with Lee Kerslake (ex-Uriah Heep).
The band began recording Blizzard of Ozz in March 1980 at Ridge Farm Studios in rural Surrey. The album was completed in four weeks. The LP was a performance of astonishing authority that redefined Ozzy’s entire career.
Blizzard of Ozz quickly went gold, as did its follow-up, Diary Of A Madman.
Television show The Osbournes eventually revealed him to be, in his own way, a devoted husband and loving father.