Ozzy Osbourne

The notorious “heavy metal madman,” singer Ozzy Osbourne is perhaps the most celebrated and widely recognized artist to ever work in the heavy metal sphere. Born on December 3, 1948, in the Aston neighborhood of Birmingham, England, Osbourne became a founding member of Black Sabbath, which laid the very foundation for heavy metal with their early ‘70s albums, including essential titles like ‘Paranoid,’ ‘Master of Reality’ and ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.’ After parting ways with Sabbath acrimoniously in 1978, Osbourne embarked on an initially discredited solo career, only to turn the tables on his former bandmates (who had enjoyed an immediate rebirth with his replacement, Ronnie James Dio, before falling on hard times themselves) with the help of guitar hero Randy Rhoads, and hit albums like ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and ‘Diary of a Madman.’ Not even Rhoads' tragic death in an airplane crash could derail Osbourne’s newfound career momentum — though Ozzy himself sure gave it his best shot, via his chronic drug abuse and infamous antics that ranged from urinating on the Alamo to biting off the heads of assorted flying creatures. Another hot shot guitarist, Jake E. Lee, backed Os-bourne for two strong albums, 1983’s ‘Bark at the Moon’ and ’86’s ‘The Ultimate Sin,’ before giving way to Zakk Wylde for 1988’s ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ and 1991’s career highlight ‘No More Tears,’ after which Osbourne announced his retirement. But this lasted all of a few months, and by 1995 the singer had a new solo album, ‘Ozzmosis,’ in record stores and was soon to embark on the first of his annual Ozzfests (devised with manager and wife Sharon Osbourne), which became the preeminent heavy metal festi-val of the ensuing decade and, among other things, accelerated his touring reunion with Black Sabbath. The band might have also resumed their recording activities in 2002, if not for the breakaway success of the reality TV show, ‘The Osbournes,’ which transformed Ozzy from heavy metal legend to mainstream celebrity, and convinced him to devote the third millennium’s first decade to more solo albums and tours, instead of Sabbath. Finally, 2011 saw the seminal old band’s official reunion (minus drummer Bill Ward) for the recording of 2013’s ’13’ album, and it currently appears as though Osbourne will remain committed to Black Sabbath for the immediate future, while continuing to pursue the odd extra-curricular project relating to his widespread fame.

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