As the wild man of rock for more than 40 years now, Ozzy Osbourne has had his often controversial and always entertaining exploits chronicled far and wide. And yet, like the gift that keeps on giving, our beloved Ozz can always be counted on to provide more trivia for those who seek it. Trivia that we bring to you now as 20 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Ozzy Osbourne.
The fourth of six children born to John and Lillian Osbourne, Ozzy showed an early interest in performing by taking part in school musicals like ‘H.M.S. Pinafore.’
When it was first recorded for Black Sabbath’s 1972 album, ‘Vol. 4,’ the ballad ‘Changes’ angered more fans than it pleased. Yet some 30 years later, the song went to No. 1 in the U.K. when re-recorded as a duet between Ozzy and his Daughter Kelly Osbourne.
Ozzy’s solo career nearly began a few years early. In 1978, he briefly quit Sabbath and rehearsed with three members of the Necromandus as the first Blizzard of Ozz band.
You might be surprised over who recommended Ronnie James Dio as Ozzy’s replacement in Sabbath. It was band manager Don Arden’s daughter, Sharon Arden, later known as Sharon Osbourne.
Randy Rhoads was recruited into the Blizzard of Ozz with the help of L.A. scenester and future Slaughter bassist Dana Strum.
Randy Rhoads wasn’t even a Black Sabbath fan. He drew much of his inspiration from the U.K. glam rock scene, especially the great Mick Ronson, the guitarist for David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’-era Spiders from Mars band.
Though uncredited on the ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ liner notes, journeyman keyboard player Don Airey (Rainbow, Deep Purple, etc.) wrote (and performed, of course) the signature introduction to ‘Mr. Crowley.’
The Ozzy Osbourne band was supported by Motorhead for much of its first U.S. tour. But when both bands returned to England, the bill was flipped, with Motorhead becoming the headliners.
Ever wonder what the cryptic meaning was behind the title of the ‘Diary of a Madman’ song ’S.A.T.O.’? None. Reportedly, the letters simply combine the initials of the two most important women in Ozzy’s life, manager Sharon Arden and then-wife Thelma Osbourne.
The mysterious runes seen on the ‘Diary of a Madman’ album’s vinyl insert read simply “The Ozzy Osbourne Band.”
However, on ‘Speak of the Devil,’ the runes read, among other things: “That kid was my lifeline, you know? He was such a dynamic player and I’d rather not talk about it anymore because it cuts me up every day of my life. Randy Rhoads Rest In Peace And Love.”
Ozzy and Madonna once contributed vocals to the same song, ‘Shake Your Head (Let’s Go to Bed)’ by Was (Not Was).
The mysterious backward message at the start of ‘Bloodbath in Paradise’ finds Ozzy reciting “Your mother sells whelks in Hull” — a play on a famously profane line from one of his favorite movies, ‘The Exorcist.’
Ozzy contributed vocals to Northern Irish guitar god Gary Moore’s 1989 song ‘Led Clones.’ The two were longtime friends and Moore nearly worked with Ozzy on numerous occasions over the years.
In 1994, Ozzy hired Steve Vai, a move that tantalized fans of both artists, as his guitarist. But, in the end, their brief songwriting-only collaboration yielded just two known songs: ‘Ozzmosis’’ ‘My Little Man,’ and ‘Dyin’ Day,’ from Vai’s 1996 solo album, ‘Fire Garden.’
A year after Vai, Ozzy recruited his next guitarist, Joe Holmes (late of Lizzy Borden and David Lee Roth’s band), when Zakk Wylde took too long to make up his mind about joining Guns n’ Roses.
Ozzy and Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo’s first collaboration wasn’t 2001’s ‘Down to Earth.’ The duo first worked together on the Infectious Grooves’ 1991 song, ‘Therapy.’
Ozzy’s current guitarist Gus G. was born in Greece as Kostas Karamitroudis or, as it’s spelled in the original Greek, Κωνσταντίνος Καραμητρούδης.
In 2010, nearly 40 years after Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman played 1973’s ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,’ Wakeman’s son Adam began working with Ozzy on ‘Scream.’
The 43-year gap separating Black Sabbath’s two appearances at the top of the U.K. charts — first with 1970’s ‘Paranoid,’ and then with their Ozzy reunion album, 2013’s ’13’ — broke Bob Dylan’s previous record of 39 years.
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