The moment took place in 1986, just before the thrash icons moved into the big time with their third album, Master of Puppets. In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Osbourne said he’d met the band in a Los Angeles hotel and soon decided to take them on the road as his opening act.
“I remember walking past the dressing room and they were playing Black Sabbath,” the singer recalled. “I had no idea they were big fans – I thought they were taking the piss!” He added: “I’d keep seeing James [Hetfield] hanging about, like he wanted to ask something. Eventually he walked up and said, ‘We want to play “Paranoid” with you,’ and we were like, ‘Sure!’ – then they showed just how big Sabbath fans they were.”
Perhaps surprisingly, Osbourne said he didn’t end up partying with Metallica, who’d become notorious at an early stage for hard-living ways. “No, to us they were just a nice bunch of guys!” he recalled. “The wildest we had from them was James, who must have broken his arm three fucking times on that tour, skateboarding.”
Osborne said he’d been “absolutely” certain that Metallica would achieve greatness, recalling things “really took off when they put out the Black Album, especially with ‘Enter Sandman.’ He continued: “In this business there’s a lot that’ll surprise you and I’m forever being surprised by things. Clearly the album touched a nerve or something. … It’s one of those albums that came at the right time and place, then took off. If we knew exactly what was needed to make an album go off like that, we’d all do it, but they got it perfectly right and made an absolute must-have album.”