It’s hard to imagine that a drug-addled, booze-ridden heavy metal singer known as the “Prince of Darkness” that once peed on the Alamo and bit off the head off a live dove in the early 80s would still be alive three decades later, much less still a constant in the public consciousness. However, Ozzy Osbourne is still here—just this year he released his 10th solo album, Scream, which went to number four on the Billboard 200 album chart.
But as the saying goes, behind every man there is a great woman. Or, maybe, a great manager. In Ozzy’s case, it was both.
Black Sabbath was already in commercial and critical decline when Ozzy was kicked out of the group, reportedly for his substance abuse (relative to a band of heavy boozers and drug users). Sabbath manager Don Arden’s young daughter Sharon took over management of Ozzy’s career after he was fired. You know her better today as television star, music manager and wife of Ozzy, Sharon Osbourne.
Sharon played a large part in Ozzy’s 1980s fame as he released a string of multi-platinum albums. With Metal sales in decline in the mid-90s, she created and managed Ozzfest, which not only saw a resurgence in Ozzy’s career, but also proved to be a showcase for emerging Metal acts such as Slipknot and Linkin Park, creating a renewed interest in the genre.
It’s hard if not impossible to say what trajectory Ozzy’s career would have taken without the guidance of Sharon Osbourne (though it may be safe to assume he wouldn’t have become the star of his own reality TV show, a deal she also cultivated). But the path he did take was clearly defined by her role as his manager.