On Nov. 15, 1992, Ozzy Osbourne began one of the shortest retirements in rock ‘n’ roll history.
His No More Tours Tour, an intended final trek, stretched from June 9 to Nov. 15, 1992, ending with a pair of shows in Costa Mesa, Calif., that included an encore reunion with Black Sabbath mates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. The Ozzman had been mistakenly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and felt his time would be better spent with his family.
Then he had a change of heart faster than a Zakk Wylde solo.
“I retired when I was fucking 47 or something, and then five minutes after I retired I was like, ‘Why the fuck did I retire from this?'” Osbourne told this writer a few years later. “I mean, what else am I supposed to do, knit? No fucking way! So I said, ‘Enough of this,’ and got back to it.”
Osbourne has been plenty busy since then, making music, touring, TV-ing and occasionally winding up in the gossip and celebrity news columns — though not for biting any winged creatures. He’s flown high again and ridden the crazy train, taken a few shots in the dark and made a few changes along the way. He declared in 2007 that he’s “Not Going Away,” and anybody who’s heard his 2022 album Patient Number 9 knows that reports of Ozzy’s demise, even in the face of his battle with Parkinson’s disease, are indeed exaggerated.
THERE HAS BEEN MUSIC
Osbourne has released seven new studio albums since No More Tours: the double-platinum Ozzmosis (1995), Down to Earth (2001), the covers set Under Cover (2005), the platinum Black Rain (2007), Scream (2010), Ordinary Man (2020) and Patient Number 9 (2022), the last of which became his ninth Top 10 album, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. He also released a selection of live albums, including Live & Loud from No More Tours, and compilations like 2019’s See You on the Other Side.
Listen to Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Patient Number 9’
The Rick Rubin-produced set, whose recording was impacted by Iommi’s lymphoma diagnosis, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and scored Sabbath their first-ever Grammy Award, with “God Is Dead?” taking home Best Metal Performance.
Osbourne has made several musical cameos over the past three decades too, appearing or being sampled on recordings by Rick Wakeman, Coal Chamber, Eminem, Slash, Primus, Black Label Society and even rapper Post Malone, on the double-platinum 2019 single “Take What You Want.”
THERE HAVE BEEN TOURS
The title of the Retirement Sucks Tour says it all. Osbourne was back on the road from 1995-96, promoting Ozzmosis in North America, the U.K., Europe, Japan and South America. The trek also included the first Ozzfest package, held over two days — Oct. 25, 1996, in Phoenix and the following day in Devore, Calif. — and featuring support from Slayer, Danzig, Sepultura and more across two stages.
Ozzfest expanded in 1997 — featuring sets by both Osbourne and Black Sabbath — and became the singer’s primary touring vehicle for the next 13 years. It helped launch several other bands, including Disturbed, Slipknot, Incubus, System of a Down and Mudvayne, and expanded to Japan, the U.K. and Israel. In 2016, Ozzfest returned to the U.S. for the first time since 2010, joining forces with Slipknot’s Knotfest for the two-day Ozzfest Meets Knotfest in San Bernardino, Calif. The team-up happened again in 2017, and the most recent Ozzfest (not counting the 2022 Metaverse event) took place on New Year’s Eve 2018 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Watch Ozzy Osbourne Play ‘Perry Mason’ at Ozzfest 1996
Osbourne headlined tours between Ozzfests, including 1998’s Ozzman Cometh Tour, 2001’s Merry Mayhem Tour with Rob Zombie, 2002’s Down to Earth Tour, 2008’s Black Rain Tour, 2010-11’s Scream World Tour and 2012-15’s Ozzy and Friends.
He also hit the road with Black Sabbath several times. After Ozzfest 1997, the group staged a reunion tour in 1998-99 and played at Ozzfests in 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2005. Another reunion tour from 2012-14 coincided with the 13 album, and the group called it quits with The End Tour in 2016-17, commemorating the final hometown date with the live album The End: Live in Birmingham.
Osbourne, however, wasn’t finished. He launched No More Tours II in April 2018, wrapping the North American leg with Ozzfest 2018. The trek was slated to continue, but Osbourne’s various health issues — including the public disclosure of his Parkinson’s diagnosis — and the coronavirus pandemic led to all dates being postponed. For now, the tour is finally scheduled to resume in Europe in May 2023.
Meanwhile, Osbourne performed live twice in 2022, joining Iommi for two Black Sabbath songs (“Iron Man” and “Paranoid”) during the closing ceremony of Britain’s Commonwealth Games on Aug. 8 and playing “Patient Number 9” and “Crazy Train” at the NFL Kickoff 2022 game on Sept. 8 in Inglewood.
THERE HAVE BEEN SCREENS (LARGE AND SMALL)
A decade after “retirement,” Osbourne and his family (sans oldest child Aimee) starred in the smash-hit reality series The Osbournes, which premiered March 5, 2002, on MTV and ran for four seasons and 52 episodes before going off the air in March 2005. The clan got together again for Osbournes Reloaded, a variety show that aired on Fox in 2009 but was canceled after its first episode. In September 2022, The Sun reported that the BBC would reboot The Osbournes, following Osbourne and his wife and manager Sharon‘s move from Los Angeles back to England. However, it’s unclear how the metal patriarch feels about that.
“I’ve got to be honest; I’m not really keen on TV,” he said in 2015. “That Reloaded thing, I didn’t want to do that in the first place. When they canned the show, thank God, I was happy about it. I’m not the television guy, you know? My main thing is music and rock ‘n’ roll. I was always surprised [The Osbournes] took off in the first place. I still, to be honest with you, don’t understand how it happened the way it did. And people didn’t have a clue I was involved in rock ‘n’ roll all my life. They’d stop me in the street and say, ‘What are you doing now?’ ‘Oh, I’m doing my rock ‘n’ roll.’ ‘Oh, are you doing that as well?’ It amazed me that people only knew me from the TV show. I don’t really like that.”
Watch Ozzy Osbourne on ‘The Osbournes’
Osbourne’s son Jack also made his directorial debut with 2011’s God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, an acclaimed and revealing documentary about his father’s life and career. Initially titled Wreckage of My Past: The Ozzy Osbourne Story, God Bless offers an even-handed and intimate portrait of the rocker’s triumphs and tribulations. “Jack’s done a great job,” Osbourne said at the time. “I told him not to go easy on me. I’m sure a lot of people thought, ‘Oh, it’s his dad, he can’t tell the whole truth,’ but I told him he could. And he had to for it to be legitimate. … How much do I have to hide, really?”
The father-son duo teamed up again in 2016 for Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour, another reality series — first for the History channel, then A&E — which took the pair to various historical sites to study them as only the Osbournes can.
“It’s just, like, a father-son spoof on history,” Ozzy said before the show’s premiere. “I kind of stop at World War II, so we go all kinds of places. Area 51 with the UFOs; we went to Stonehenge and met a guy who thinks he’s the fucking reincarnation of King Arthur; we went to Bletchley Park to see the [Nazi] code-breaking machine. … It’s all kind of interesting, with an Osbourne twang to it.” Osbourne’s daughter Kelly joined for the third (and, thus far, final) season in 2018, and there are talks about it resuming in some fashion.
Jack was at the helm again for The Osbournes Want to Believe, a 2020 Travel Channel series in which he and his parents examine unexplained events to decide if they believe in them or not. Ozzy has also made frequent onscreen cameos over the years, often as himself, in vehicles such as The Jerky Boys: The Movie, South Park, the U.K.’s The X-Factor, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Gnomeo & Juliet, Fish Hooks, Bubble Guppies, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, Sherlock Gnomes and Trolls World Tour, among others.
Watch Ozzy Osbourne on ‘South Park’
In October 2021, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne also confirmed a biopic focusing on their relationship, particularly from 1979-96, written by Lee Hall (Rocketman, Billy Elliot) with involvement from daughter Aimee. Not much else is known about the film, but in November 2022, Osbourne told Consequence that he “[doesn’t] want to have anyone like Johnny Depp act as me. I rather have someone who is relatively unknown.”
THERE HAVE BEEN PAGES
Osbourne has a pair of books to his credit as well. The forthright memoir I Am Ozzy, co-written with Chris Ayres, was published in 2009. More surprising, however, was 2012’s Trust Me, I’m Dr. Ozzy: Advice From Rock’s Ultimate Survivor, an outgrowth of his “Ask Dr. Ozzy” health column for Britain’s Sunday Times.
“It’s not serious,” Osbourne said of the work at the time. “I mean, I’m the last fucking person to ask for help. I’m not a fucking doctor. I don’t know what I’m talking about most of the time. A lot of what I talk about is basically common sense. I know when you’re in that hole, you want somebody to help you out of it, and it’s very hard for a lot of people to ask for help. So if they feel like they can ask me and I can give somebody some sensible information, maybe I can help, you know?”
AND THERE HAS BEEN “NEWS”
A comfortable, quiet life didn’t await Osbourne post-“retirement,” and the man who once made headlines biting the heads off bats and urinating on war memorials has continued to provide fodder for the tabloids.
Much of it has been related to health issues. On Dec. 8, 2003, Osbourne flipped a four-wheel ATV while riding around his estate in Buckinghamshire, England, breaking multiple ribs, his left collarbone and a cervical vertebra, with blood seeping into his lungs. Kelly Osbourne wrote in her memoir that he even flatlined briefly before being brought back to life, at which point he told an EMS worker, “Don’t fuck up my tattoos!” The vertebra injury required a steel rod to be inserted into his back to repair it.
Osbourne was hospitalized in February 2019 for a “severe upper-respiratory infection,” postponing the European leg of No More Tours II. While he was recovering, he was seriously injured while falling in his Los Angeles home, and in January 2020, his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis was made public, leading to the cancellation of the European and North American legs of No More Tours II.
Watch Ozzy Osbourne Perform at the 2022 NFL Season Opener
The singer became embroiled in a bitter lawsuit during the early 2000s when his Blizzard of Ozz rhythm section, bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake, claimed he owed them outstanding royalties and proper credits on his first two solo albums, Blizzard and Diary of a Madman, and the 1987 live LP Tribute, as well as reissues. The United States District Court in Los Angeles dismissed the cases in 2003. The Osbournes exacted revenge by reissuing the albums with newly recorded parts from Metallica‘s Robert Trujillo and Faith No More‘s Mike Bordin, but they restored the original performances for the 30th-anniversary reissues of the titles.
The Osbournes made a memorable appearance at the 2002 White House Correspondents’ dinner, invited by Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. Then-President George W. Bush shouted the rocker out during his speech, telling him, “Ozzy, mom [former first lady Barbara Bush] loves your stuff.”
Ozzy and Sharon’s volatile relationship, documented on The Osbournes, went through rough patches, including a 2013 separation during one of the singer’s substance abuse relapses. Sharon told her co-hosts on The Talk in March 2016 that Osbourne had affairs with some of the family’s nannies as well as other women. The Osbournes separated again shortly afterward when Sharon discovered her husband had been having an affair with celebrity hairdresser Michelle Pugh, who’d had Ozzy as a client since 2011.
The two eventually reconciled, celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in July 2022 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. “We never gave up on each other,” Sharon said on a later episode of The Talk. “I wasn’t a saint. Ozzy wasn’t a saint. I gave him as good as he gave me. We’re just meant to be.”