Ozzy Osbourne is a musical icon. In the 1970s, the English singer made his mark as the frontman of Black Sabbath. The band, which claims on its official website to have created heavy metal, is known for songs such as "Iron Man," "War Pigs," and "Paranoid." After several album releases, Osbourne’s uncontrollable drug problem became too tough to handle, so he left the group, according to Biography. After the breakup, Osbourne launched a hugely successful solo career with the release of Blizzard of Ozz, which included hit singles such as "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley." Decades later, his family entered the spotlight in the Emmy-winning MTV reality show The Osbournes, according to IMDb.
Throughout the course of his career, Osbourne has epitomized the phrase "shock rocker." Often fueled by drug use, he shocked and offended his followers as well as conservative groups with his outrageous acts both onstage and off. Osbourne acted as though the world gave him a free pass to do anything he wanted to do, with little to no repercussions. So, what are some of the craziest stunts he’s pulled in his lifetime? Prepare yourself for some of Ozzy Osbourne’s wildest antics…
Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a dead bat onstage
Ozzy Osbourne was in the midst of his Diary of a Madman tour on January 20, 1982, when he appeared onstage in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, according to the Des Moines Register. It was a day that would go down as one of the most infamous in rock and roll history. Prior to the show, he appeared on a handbill wearing a cape and devil horns with the words "Just when you thought it was safe to go back to a concert" emblazoned across the top. "Parental guidance" was recommended, and concertgoers were urged not to eat before attending. Little did anyone know what was about to transpire that fateful night.
Seventeen-year-old Mark Neal smuggled a dead bat into the show with every intention of throwing it onstage, according to the Register. And after he did, Osbourne bit the creature’s head off. The singer later checked into a local hospital for rabies shots. Decades later, Osbourne continued to field questions about the incident, with people frequently asking why he did it and how it tasted.
Ozzy Osbourne sprayed Bill Ward in a sensitive area
During an early 2000s interview with Rolling Stone (via Ultimate Metal), Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi opened up about ingesting copious amounts of cocaine while making the album Vol. 4 in Los Angeles. The band stayed at a house in Bel Air, and their recording sessions were bookended by alcohol, drugs, and women. At one point, Ozzy Osbourne managed to accidentally call the cops and proceeded to flush a bunch of drugs down the toilet. But that wasn’t the worst of their indiscretions.
At one point, Osbourne and drummer Bill Ward were urinating in the bathroom together when the singer grabbed an aerosol can and sprayed the contents onto Ward’s private parts. Only afterward did Osbourne notice the labeling, "Warning: Do not spray on skin — highly toxic." Osbourne told the magazine, "I poisoned Bill through his d*ck!"
Years after the Rolling Stone interview, Osbourne told a similar but different story, according to Far Out magazine. The singer explained in his 2010 autobiography that Tony got his hands on a can of blue spray paint and snuck around a railing. "When Bill starts pissing over the railing, he sprays his d*ck with it," Osbourne wrote. "You should have heard the scream, man. It was priceless. But then, two seconds later, Bill blacks out, falls headfirst over the railing and starts rolling down the hillside."
Ozzy Osbourne once "executed" a little person onstage
Ozzy Osbourne enjoyed putting on a show when he performed for audiences in the 1980s. Concertgoer Steve Newton detailed a June 10, 1982, performance on his personal website earofnewt.com. His article first appeared in the Canadian newspaper The Georgia Straight, based in Vancouver, about a week after the concert. Osbourne appeared onstage sitting on a throne with a crucifix in his hand. The singer’s voice was "not up to par," and he wasn’t as energetic in person as he was on his latest album. However, his showmanship didn’t disappoint.
The stage was set up like a castle, and at one point, a little person dubbed "Little John," who was wearing a black robe with a "ghoulish face," was tasked with removing the debris teens regularly threw onto the stage. Newton noted that it appeared like a dead bat was part of the detritus, and the character "picked it up before Ozzy could, looking a little hesitant and unsure while he did it."
Not long afterward, a hooded executioner hanged Little John while Osbourne belted out the lyrics to "Goodbye to Romance" from Blizzard of Ozz. Newton noted, "But I failed to see the connection between that song and the lynching."
Ozzy Osbourne tried to kill his wife Sharon
Most fans know about the time Ozzy Osbourne tried to kill his wife, Sharon. He shared details about the incident in the documentary Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne, as reported by People. Osbourne said of that fateful day in 1989, "I felt the calmest I’ve ever felt in my life. It was like serenity. Everything was just peaceful." Sharon wasn’t exactly shocked by his actions: "We’d had a couple of fights and you can tell it was building to something, you could just feel it. I just knew it was coming."
Osbourne was heavily using drugs when he visited Sharon in their bedroom one night after she’d put their children to bed. He told his wife, "We’ve come to a decision that you’ve got to die," and then he lunged at her and started choking her. The oddest thing about the incident was that he appeared perfectly calm. Fortunately, Sharon was able to reach the panic button the couple had installed near their bedside table, which alerted the police.
According to People, Osbourne admitted in the documentary, "It’s not exactly one of my greatest f*cking achievements." When he later woke up in jail, he didn’t know why he was there. Sharon dropped all charges against her husband, and Osbourne spent six months in a treatment facility.
Ozzy nearly killed a man by throwing a TV out of a hotel window
Rock guitarist Zakk Wylde was warned about Ozzy Osbourne’s erratic behavior before he joined him on tour. "People used to say, ‘he’s trying to trap you in his web, don’t let him trap you in his web’," he told BirminghamLive. In 2002, the pair started drinking on the tour bus, and it turned into a night-long bender that nearly cost a man his life. According to the Daily Star, the two were staying at the Four Seasons in Prague when Osbourne was suddenly inspired to throw a TV out of the window.
"So I ripped the television off the wall, Zakk picked it up and threw it out of the f*cking window," Osbourne recalled. "It landed on the floor and f*cking exploded. It went like a bomb. Little did I know that there was a guy smoking, and I shudder to think if that had hit him. I would have killed him stone dead."
The incident caused tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage because they broke the window frame during the process. Osbourne footed the bill.
Ozzy Osbourne urinated at the Alamo while wearing a dress
On February 19, 1982, Ozzy Osbourne, as usual, had consumed a few too many drinks before committing one of rock and roll’s most infamous transgressions, according to Loudwire. He was wearing his future wife’s Sharon’s dress when he decided to explore San Antonio, Texas, just for the heck of it. Sharon had hidden Ozzy’s clothing to keep him from wandering away, but obviously that didn’t work. Across the street from the Alamo building, Osbourne relieved himself on the 60-foot Alamo Cenotaph, which honors the dead. While it wasn’t the actual Alamo, it was pretty darned close. The singer was arrested and later released on a $40 bond. That night, he performed at the city’s convention center.
Osbourne was banned from playing in San Antonio until 1992. Upon his return, he publicly apologized for the incident and donated $10,000 to the group that takes care of the Alamo property. "We all have done things in our lives that we regret," Ozzy said. "I am deeply honored that the people of San Antonio have found it in their hearts to have me back. I hope that this donation will show that I have grown up."
Ozzy shot cats and birds during the pandemic lockdown to "stay sane"
Many people have struggled with anxiety, depression, and other disorders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the CDC. Stress from the pandemic has caused symptoms such as anger, difficulty sleeping, and mental and physical health problems. Even celebrities such as Osbourne have had a difficult time coping with social distancing, lockdowns, and other issues caused by the pandemic. But does this justify animal cruelty?
The singer admitted that one way he coped with the stress was by "killing" unwanted animals on his Los Angeles property, according to the Mirror. Osbourne admitted during a radio interview that it was a good distraction. He revealed, "It gets me out of my head, man. When I am in my house, I worry I never am going to walk properly. When I first started this thing, I could not shoot. Now there’s dead cats (and) birds every minute." He explained that the he did it to feel "sane."
Ozzy bit the heads off two doves during a record launch
On March 27, 1981, Ozzy Osbourne attended Epic Records’ annual sales convention at the suggestion of his manager and future wife Sharon Arden, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. Osbourne was scheduled to talk about the U.S. release of Blizzard of Ozz. The plan was for three doves to be released after he finished to impress the executives at the event. Unfortunately, Osbourne was a little drunk on brandy and bored with the presentation, so he took matters into his own hands.
"I just remember this PR woman going on and on at me," Osbourne told Mick Wall, who wrote about the incident in the Black Sabbath biography Symptom of the Universe (as reported by UCR). "In the end, I said, ‘Do you like animals?’ Then I pulled out one of these doves and bit its f*cking head off. Just to shut her up. Then I did it again with the next dove, spitting the head out on the table, and [the woman] fell on the floor screaming."
Osbourne was thrown out of the event, but it turned out to be a boon for his career. Blizzard of Ozz ended up selling millions of copies, and he cemented his reputation as one of heavy metal’s most notorious rock stars.
Ozzy Osbourne had a cocaine duel with David Lee Roth
Ozzy Osbourne is famous for his drug and alcohol-fueled benders, which went on for decades. In 1978, Van Halen served as the opening act for Black Sabbath and featured frontman David Lee Roth, who also liked to party. Roth ended up participating in what could have been a deadly game with Osbourne. Author Greg Renoff revealed the details in the 2015 book Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal (via BroBible).
At the time, Black Sabbath as a whole was spiraling out of control due to drug use, and Van Halen was riding high on its first world tour. Roth and Osbourne ended their performance in Birmingham, Alabama, by snorting cocaine. They then challenged each other to see who could do the most coke without dying. The pair snorted copious amounts throughout the night while the tour buses headed to Nashville for the next show.
When they arrived in Tennessee, Osbourne never received the key to his hotel room and simply disappeared. The police were alerted, and there were fears that he had either been kidnapped or killed. Ozzy’s manager asked Roth if he could fill in for him at the concert, but Roth didn’t know the songs. The concert was cancelled, and about 24 hours later, Osbourne showed up in the hotel lobby. He had spent the time sleeping in a room that was being cleaned by a housekeeper and wasn’t technically in his name.
Ozzy soaked a hotel room with the blood of a dead shark
In his book Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell With Black Sabbath, guitarist Tony Iommi opened up about life in the band and some of the crazy things that happened when they were recording and touring together. Ozzy Osbourne was known for imbibing a bit too much and doing a lot of drugs, which led to some insane antics, according to Iommi (as reported by the Independent).
At one point, drugs weren’t doing enough for Osbourne, so he had to find other ways to get a rise out of his bandmates. Iommi explained: "With drugs always you get bored, so you must do something to one another. Like Ozzy hauling a shark through a window, dismembering it and soaking our room in blood."
The good news is that Iommi was able to get sober, as was Osbourne, who, as of February 2021, has been sober for seven years, according to Variety. He told the publication, "All I can say is, I’m 72 years of age. Most of the people that I drank with are dead. And the ones that aren’t, that still continue to drink, are going to be dead soon. It’s not a happy ending."
Ozzy Osbourne drugged a vicar and thought he killed him
During a 2020 interview with GQ, Ozzy Osbourne admitted he inadvertently drugged a vicar from the local church. They commonly visit your home when you move into town to welcome you to the neighborhood. Prior to his visit, Osbourne had made a cake with a "big hunk of hash," and he told his wife at the time, Thelma Riley, that it was off-limits. A few days later, Osbourne returned from a trip to the local pub and saw a vicar in his home drinking tea and eating a piece of the cake.
Osbourne didn’t have a driver’s license, but when the man passed out, he dragged him into his car "by his hair" and drove him home. "I didn’t see him for two weeks after that and I thought I’d killed him!" he recalled. Osbourne finally saw him at the pub on a Sunday morning. The vicar revealed he had flu-like symptoms and hallucinated for several days, causing him to miss church services. "I was just relieved to see him," Osbourne said. "F*cking hell, he’s alive!"
Ozzy plans on touring again in 2022 despite health issues
Now 72, Ozzy Osbourne is dealing with a lot of health issues, according to GQ. He had spinal surgery in 2019 that has resulted in chronic pain. In 2020, he revealed that he has Parkinson’s disease. He also has emphysema, which makes him particularly vulnerable if he catches COVID-19. Since he doesn’t like wearing a mask, he doesn’t leave his house very often. But that hasn’t stopped him from making big plans for the future.
Osbourne is rescheduling his "No More Tours 2" tour in the UK and Europe, according to NME. The tour was announced in 2018 but was postponed several times due to his health issues. It was set to resume in 2020, and COVID-19 hit. His wife Sharon told Planet Radio: "The British tour, he’ll be back in ’22. You know, we just carry on as normal. We’ve been doing loads of TV shows here and you’ve got to just keep going until Ozzy can go back live. He’s in the studio right now doing a new album. We’re going to do a movie of Ozzy’s life story and he’s got to do the soundtrack to that… so I’ll keep him busy, let’s put it that way!"