Thirty-first installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.
Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.
Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.
As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.
It is said inside Rock and Roll circles that to be a lead singer in a band you need more balls than talent. Maybe that’s not entirely true, but if you add a good amount of charisma, then you’re in for a winner.
And it’s not like he is bereft of talent, it’s quite the opposite, but the amount of balls and charisma in this specific character is almost surreal. We’re talking about the Prince of Darkness, Mr. Ozzy Osbourne.
John Michael Osbourne was born December 3rd 1948, in Aston a suburb of Birmingham (ENG). He was the fourth of six children and both his parents were factory workers. Life conditions in the North of England post World War II were not ideal, as the Osbournes lived in a small two bedroom house without an inside bathroom or hot water.
He doesn’t remember how he got his nickname Ozzy, but he has it since primary school. Ozzy had to deal with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and other learning disabilities, which made him a terrible student and an easy target for bullying at school.
He fell in love with music upon hearing “She Loves You” by The Beatles in 1963 and dropped out of school at 15. He worked as a construction worker, trainee plumber, horn-tuner and slaughterhouse worker. However, seeing how was the life of people who worked on those places for life, he was determined that he wouldn’t be one of those. He tried unsuccessfully to be a thief and got arrested. But because his father had bought him a PA system, he was called to be the lead singer of a band called Earth and the rest is history.
They renamed themselves Black Sabbath and went on to invent a musical style that became known as Heavy Metal. Of course, Tony Iommi riffs were central to the sound but Ozzy is blessed with a unique voice and an immeasurable charisma. Add to that his almost preternatural ability to create vocal lines that grabs you at first listen, and you have the birth of one of the greatest Rock Stars ever.
After leaving Sabbath he formed his own band with the magnificent Randy Rhoads and found more fame and fortune. That he was able to maintain his status and become way bigger than his legendary band through the 80’s and early 90’s is a testament to his talent. He grew so big that Black Sabbath reunited only because HE wanted them to reunite.
Ozzy tried to retire many times, but he just can’t do it. He loves his craft, his fans and the stage so much. My guess is that he will retire only when he is literally almost dead.
Robert Plant, Ian Gillan, Paul Rodgers, Roger Daltrey and Steve Marriott are all great late-sixties and early seventies singers. But Ozzy injected charisma into the role of lead singer like none of those did. His charisma was only matched when Freddie Mercury came along, but that’s another story.
I clearly remember how huge the impact was on me the first time I watched the Live & Loud video. Of course I knew Ozzy from music videos and “The Ultimate Ozzy” VHS, but this was different. He was on top form (overdubs notwithstanding), his band was firing on all cylinders and the set-list is just spot on. I watched that video over and over again and still do, actually. And there was a bonus: at the time I was watching it non-stop I had the opportunity to watch him live for the first time in 1995. It was like seeing a super-hero in the flesh.
It’s almost unbelievable that he still alive and performing, but we must thank God that he is and enjoy mostly while we can.
Therefore, Mr. Osbourne, let’s go fucking crazy and into the Hall of Idols.
Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.
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