Ozzy Osbourne names the best guitarist he’s ever played with: “Others do the notes, but it’s not the same”

Ozzy Osbourne onstage in 2013
(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Ozzy Osbourne has named former Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi as the best guitarist he’s ever played with.

The Prince Of Darkness – who co-founded Sabbath with Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward in 1968 – made the comment on The Madhouse Chronicles, his new podcast with ex-The Cult and current Billy Idol guitarist Billy Morrison.

“That’s the thing about a band like Black Sabbath: we came from the streets and we knew our stuff,” Osbourne said.

“And Tony Iommi was, and is, the best fucking guitar player I’ve ever played with.”

The vocalist continued: “It’s like the Beatles, they wouldn’t have been the same if any one of them had played [in another band], or the Rolling Stones if Mick Jagger left.

“I’ve played [iconic Sabbath songs] Paranoid, Children Of The Grave and War Pigs [with other guitarists]. They do the notes, but it’s not the same!”

Osbourne concluded by saying that, while he believes a lot of American guitar players “play too fast”, “Tony Iommi, for whatever reason, is fucking great!”

Osbourne and Iommi were bandmates in Sabbath from 1968 to 1977, then again from 1997 to the group’s retirement in 2017.

Following his dismissal from Sabbath, Osbourne launched a solo career, which has seen him play with such celebrated guitarists as Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde and Gus G.

Iommi appeared on Osbourne’s solo album Patient Number 9 in 2022, playing on the songs Degradation Rules and No Escape From Now.

The Prince Of Darkness has retired from touring due to health issues, including Parkinson’s disease.

However, the singer’s wife/manager Sharon revealed earlier this year that Osbourne is hoping to play two farewell shows in his hometown of Birmingham, UK.

Iommi released a solo single entitled Scent Of Dark in 2021 and last year collaborated with System Of A Down vocalist Serj Tankian on a charity single called Deconstruction.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.