Some rockstars become legendary thanks to their incredible contribution to the rock'n'roll canon. Others become legendary purely because of their wince-inducing behaviour. Ozzy Osbourne? It's fair to say he lies somewhere in between.
While making a name for himself as one of the true Godfathers of heavy metal, Ozzy's scrapes over the years have also guaranteed him a place as one of the wildest men in rock'n'roll. His antics have ranged from mild mischief, to major malfeasance, all the way down to absolute horror (just check out number six on this list if you don't believe us).
From lobbing televisions out of windows to – yes – relieving himself all over the Alamo, we recount the craziest moments of Ozzy Osbourne's career.
10. Rock ‘n’ Roll hotel carnage
Whilst staying in The Four Seasons with guitarist Zakk Wylde, a bored Ozzy came up with the idea to throw the TV out of the window in possibly the most classic rock ‘n’ roll move in history. He ripped the window open, picked it up and threw it out, without a second thought. Ozzy described the moment it hit the ground as an explosion, “it went like a bomb.” Little did they realise at the time there was a man smoking a cigarette outside the hotel, who Ozzy was seconds away from killing with the high-impact TV. Not only did Ozzy pay for the TV, he had to pay three months’ worth of time for the room which added up to over £40,000 in damages.
9. Drink driving to labour
When Ozzy’s first wife Thelma went into labour for Ozzy’s first child, she insisted he drive her to the hospital as she needed to get there as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Ozzy was far too drunk to drive and on top of that, didn’t actually own a driver’s license. He obliged anyway and she gave birth to their child later on that day.
8. Urinating on Alamo
After a few too many drinks in Texas, Ozzy decided to take one of his drunken walks – a habit that became so common that Sharon Osbourne hid all his clothes to stop him from doing it. Sadly, this didn’t stop him. He got changed into one of Sharon’s dresses, left the house and soon after needed to empty his bladder. Ozzy found the nearest statue and went. What he didn’t know was that he was standing at the city's sacred Cenotaph, located directly next to the Alamo building. The police did not take kindly to urinating on such a memorial and swiftly arrested Ozzy, along with a ban from San Antonio that lasted until 1992.
7. Party at the White House
At the height of the Osbourne’s second wave of popularity in 2002, Ozzy and Sharon were invited to the esteemed Correspondents Dinner at the White House by Fox News. Ozzy got incredibly drunk, jumped around on his table and even pushed George W. Bush so far to mutter “this might have been a mistake.” Multiple media outlets at the time described the meeting as “unlikely.” At the dinner, Bush quipped whilst making a speech, “Ozzy, mom loves your stuff,” making Barbara Bush one of Black Sabbath’s highest profile fans.
6. Shooting his cats
A time described by Ozzy as the final straw of his drug and alcohol abuse, he had around 17 cats in his home at one time and one night decided to shoot them all. Ozzy’s wife came home to find him under the piano in a white suit with a shotgun in one hand and a bloody knife in the other. Ozzy later blamed it on the drugs, saying “I was taking drugs so much I was a wreck.”
5. Previous job experience
Ozzy’s previous jobs included testing car horns, a plumber and a thief – maybe his most (or least) surprising was his job in Digbeth Slaughterhouse, which he lasted in for two years. At only sixteen years old, this was the first job Ozzy had really excelled at. When he first started the job, he was in charge of slicing open the carcasses and removing the ‘gunk’ but was soon promoted to cow killer – a far more dangerous position in what he described as “man-on-cow death matches.” He later specialised in removing cow’s stomachs and killing pigs.
4. Drugging a vicar
Being a member of the Church of England, Ozzy often had the vicar pay him a visit to his house. His first wife, Thelma, fortuitously gave the priest some cake, unaware Ozzy had laced the treat with Afghan hash. Ozzy soon returned home from the pub and after finding out what had happened, his “eyeballs nearly flew out their sockets.” The vicar soon felt the full effect and passed out. Ozzy and Thelma then had to carry him to the car and take him home and lucky for them, the vicar couldn’t recall what happened that day.
3. Convicted for burglary
Before Ozzy reached his 18th birthday, he was arrested and convicted for burglary, before serving six weeks in Winston Green Prison. He stole a television – which fell on him during his getaway before being abandoned and never making it back with him – some baby clothes, which he did not realise were not adult sized, and a few t-shirts. When talking about the incident, he later said: “I tried a bit of burglary, but I was useless.”
2. Release the doves
After signing the first record deal of his solo career in 1981, Ozzy’s plan was to release a set of doves into the air as what he described as a “sign of peace.” Unfortunately, due to Ozzy being intoxicated and none of the CBS Records executives noticing, it’s claimed he grabbed the closest dove, bit its head off and then spat it onto the ground with blood still dripping from his lips. That’ll get people to notice you.
1. Biting a bat’s head off
Not content with beheading a dove, when, at a performance in 1982, a fan in the audience threw something at the stage, Osbourne picked it up and, assuming it was a toy bat, took a massive bite out of it. He soon spat it out after realising it was actually a dead bat. He talks about this in his memoirs, where he said the bat gave him “the worst aftertaste you could ever imagine.” Just to be safe, he got rabies shots afterwards. Earlier this year, he marked the 37-year anniversary of the bite by releasing a plush toy bat, complete with a branded ‘Ozzy Osbourne’ stamp and a detachable head.