"America is the most satanic country in the world": How Black Sabbath getting huge in the US opened Ozzy Osbourne's eyes to the cut-throat nature of capitalism

Ozzy Osbourne
(Image credit: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

"America is the most satanic country in the world. They do anything for a dollar. If you've got a dollar you're in; if you haven't you're out."

Ozzy Osbourne is a most unlikely Communist icon, but after spending large chunks of the early 1970s in America as Black Sabbath became superstars in the country, the singer, brought up in working class Aston, had his eyes opened to the cut-throat nature of US society, as illustrated by the quote above, spoken to a writer from UK music magazine Melody Maker in 1972.

To be fair, at the the time of the interview, Sabbath's vocalist sounded utterly knackered, as the band's schedule - "Three weeks in the States, two weeks home, three weeks in the States, two weeks home..." - was taking its toll: the singer claimed not to have slept at all in the previous 72 hours, so brutal was his jet-lag. But it was also clear that he'd been spending a lot of time thinking about the state of the world.

"This world -I don't know," he mused. "I've sat and thought to myself, 'Look how long the world's been here, and man, now they've found a way of destroying the world by just pushing a button and they can wipeout the whole thing.' At times I don't think it would be a bad idea.

"I was looking at the news the other night and there wasn't one thing good. Everything they spoke about was a bomb. Bomb on a plane, bomb in Belfast, bomb in somebody else's boot..."

Somewhat tangentially, Osbourne then began to fret about the dangers of pollution in US cities.

"It's terrible." he told Melody Maker. "People are walking around looking up in the air, shivering, scared. As if one day this big black hand is going to come out of the sky and choke them."

"You're not human over there, you're just another punch card in a computer," he added. "It's never heard of to say thank you. 'Give me a cup of coffee, me, me, me; feed me... him...'

"It's funny, because I've been everywhere and this country [England] is the sanest country out of all of them. I look at my little house in the country here and I think I've bought myself a little piece of heaven on Earth with my kids and animals."

At this point, Mark Plummer, the man from Melody Maker queried whether, in fact, rock music was contributing to this pollution problem. 

"No, rock is the best sedative in the world," Ozzy insisted. "It releases the stress, the anxiety and the hang-ups."

"If I go onto a stage and there are 20,000 people out there or even one, and if they're digging it and having a good time getting high on the evening and the event, and they're forgetting what's going to happen in the morning when they clock on again, I think I've achieved something."

He may have been no Karl Marx, but full marks to 1972 Ozzy for wanting to bring a little joy to the world, albeit via the doomiest, gloomiest metal ever written. 

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.