Article by Pablo Fernández from Barcelona on Wednesday, December 22nd 2021 ·.·★ Reading takes 14 minutes or 2870 words.
John Michael ′Ozzy′ Osbourne′s mother was Catholic but her family did not then have the custom of going to church as he himself writes in his autobiography ′I am Ozzy′ (2009). As he also told Jane Stevenson, most of his friends were Catholic and had nothing to do on Sundays, so as a teenager he began attending Anglican church Sunday school in his hometown of Birmingham. There he remembers spending many hours drinking tea, listening to stories from the Bible and “drawing pictures of the baby Jesus”, while he began to define the role of the bad boy that he has played all his life.
His parents didn′t have much money back then but they went to great lengths to buy him an amplifier. Having this amp was just the determining detail for Ozzy Osbourne to become part of the group that later became known as Black Sabbath. The founder and guitarist Tony Iommi, increasingly recognized as the creator of heavy metal, had a very bad opinion of him and at first he did not even want to see him. Ozzy, however, got that opportunity mainly thanks to the fact that he could count on his own amplifier. P>
At that time Ozzy dreamed of following in the footsteps of The Beatles. All the musicians of Black Sabbath were believers at that time but like many other hippies of their time they understood spirituality always on the margins of the more institutionalized church. Tony Iommi has in fact recently stated to Mojo magazine that all the members of Black Sabbath then believed that a fifth spiritual member of the group was watching over them.
The representation of the occult that they will begin doing in their show from 1970 attracted the attention of real Satanists, some of whom came to their concerts to have more details. Tony, Ozzy and Geezer have each declared that when those curious were discovering with disappointment the real background of the show, someone dedicated a curse to them and that it was out of fear of that particular curse that they commissioned the huge metal forged crosses that so much characterize the group to this day.
The crosses that so characterized the aesthetics of Black Sabbath are very similar to those used by Anglican priests but the final architect was really John Thomas ′Jack′ Osbourne. Ozzy′s father Jack worked in auto parts and like many other Irish and Italian emigrants during the 1950s he had found work in Birmingham′s huge metal industry. Bill Ward assured Banger TV that Jack Osbourne ′believed in a higher power and that the crosses would help us on our way. He cared to make sure we were safe and sound.′ P>
Black Sabbath used terror as a differentiating factor and there is no doubt that there is terror in the Bible as well. ′Do you think that when you die you will simply stay in your grave? / I believe it is true that it was people like you who crucified Christ′ sings Ozzy Osbourne in the song entitled ′After Forever′ (1971). Still in ′Diggin ′Me Down′ (2010), written for the movie Scream, Ozzy Osbourne continues to invoke God′s judgment and insists: ′Come on Jesus, don′t make us wait any longer!′
Ozzy Osbourne acknowledged to The New York Times in 1992 that he is a member of the Church of England and always speaks with God in prayer before each performance. This is in fact how he closes his documentary ′God Bless Ozzy′ (2011). We are more used to scenes of large circles of people holding hands on stage like the one collected in ′Michael Jackson: This is it′ (2009). The Ozzy Osbourne documentary picks him up alone. As a preface to the credits, Ozzy then shuts himself down to get on his knees, something he does next to a random dressing room among an infinity of old dressing room stuff.
The elderly singer assures that there are many factors that can negatively influence his faith, factors such as the spirit that sometimes help him to believe more than others. What does seem to be a constant factor is his antipathy to religion. He can′t stand the idea of being remembered for the most typical religious monstrosity and for this he helps himself with one or two swear words in each sentence. In addition, in the absence of a title equivalent to that of ′King of Rock′ or ′Godfather of Metal′ Ozzy Osbourne is still presented today as the ′Prince of Darkness′. Ozzy claims that he tried everything even in the occult, but it didn′t work for him!
There are Christian churches like Mercy Cross or NewSpring Church that have literally included his songs like “Crazy Train” in their Sunday catalog. So that the parishioners can participate, original lyrics like this one are projected on the stage: ′Crazy! But that′s the way things are / Millions of people who live as enemies / It may not be too late / To learn to love and stop hating′ . Ozzy Osbourne is always explicit and clearly stands on the side of good in songs like ′Black Sabbath′ where he literally exclaims: ′′Oh please God help me!′ they automatically preferred to associate those songs with Satanism. Tony Iommi confirmed it again to the press recently when he announced his collaboration with the Anglican Birmingham Cathedral to put Psalm 133 to music. P>
The young Ozzy Osbourne had tried all kinds of drugs in large quantities as a vocalist for Black Sabbath and had developed an addiction to the most dangerous of them, which is alcohol. The world was turning the page at the end of the seventies. 1980 was also a watershed year for Ozzy Osbourne as he was fired from Black Sabbath and replaced by Ronnie James Dio. He was therefore hasty to begin a then uncertain solo career. Bon Scott, the then AC / DC frontman, had died in a car accident while driving under the depressive effects of this solution and Ozzy Osbourne was shocked. Ozzy then asked his lyricist Bob Daisley for a song around that theme putting on the table the dangers of this addiction but Bob Daisley wrote it with the problems he had with alcohol particularly Ozzy Osbourne in mind. Once they reached an agreement, they included it with the title ′Suicide Solution′ on their first album ′Blizzard of Ozz′ (1980).
His work of him from then on will remain the show in general and the horror show in particular as it had been with Black Sabbath, but, adding some variations. Until then he had assumed the role of victim of evil, he was in the end the one who had to flee from the danger of black magic. From then on, however, he will assume the role of monster as Alice Cooper and will focus especially on the United States of America market. Traditionally, circuses, horror houses or cinema had dominated these shows, but the business opportunity was especially promising in this country where a large part of the religious population had a degree of credulity very close to that of a child. English audiences initially would not have taken his show seriously but in the United States of America it very easily created the panic they needed to give credibility to his show. P>
Religion lit the fire but initially that pressure from American preachers like Jimmy Swaggart would have been useless without the help of politicians like Tipper Gore in founding the PMRC censorship organization. The cold war that the British invasion of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to which Ozzy Osbourne had been added is often underestimated. Thanks to this political pressure with great influence on the real market of this country, musicians began to lose contracts and suffer economic losses. The worst, however, was yet to be discovered in 1986.
On October 26, 1984, a 19-year-old man named John McCollum had shot himself while listening to the Ozzy Osbourne album entitled ′Speak of the Devil′ (1982). The album did not include that particular song entitled ′Suicide Solution′ (1980) but to take the case to court more than two years later, his family′s lawyer reconstructed the story in such a way that John McCollum was a model boy, without no kind of emotional problem, which was incomprehensibly pushed to skyrocket by the lyrics of that song. The reality is that in California the number of suicides among young people had grown per 100,000 inhabitants from 4.5 in 1950 to 12.3 in 1980 according to the Los Angeles Times. The risk was even higher if young people had access to firearms at home and even more so in cases where their parents were not able to communicate properly with their children.
John McCollum in particular had taken his own life when the PMRC censoring organization had not yet been created but two years later obviously the courts began to receive a multitude of cases similar to John McCollum′s. Ozzy Osbourne′s statements could vary, just as we have seen the security of his own faith varies, depending on the pressure he felt on himself. On one occasion, Ozzy said that if someone was capable of taking their own life for a song, it was really because they deserved to die, but on other occasions, he assured that he, being a father himself, understood perfectly the gravity and the feelings of loss that the mother could have. John McCollum′s family. The most honest statement, however, was made more recently when he assured that he would be a very bad businessman if his strategy were to seek the death of his own clients. P>
′The boy must have been screwed up before listening to the album,′ Ozzy Osbourne declared on television at the time, terribly concerned about the scope of the trial. ′Here we talk about a solution as a liquid mixture, not as It′s a song about the dangers of alcoholism. Alcohol will kill you just like any other drug will. ′ Many studies were made then and are still being carried out today on what the song heard from the right side and the other side does not mean, but the icing on the cake was put by his manager Don Arder, who had then also become his own father-in-law: “ To be completely honest, I doubt that Mr. Osbourne knows the meaning of the song - if he has it - because his command of the English language is minimal. ′
Ozzy Osbourne′s lawyer, on his side, assured that if to protect the lives of young people it was necessary to ban his client′s music, then William Shakespeare or Leo Tolstoi should also be banned. Actually, the list of dangerous sources could be extended to the Bible, where it is literally said that “the day of death is better than the day of birth” (Ecclesiastes 7,1). John L. Cole, the Los Angeles court judge, twice dismissed the lawsuit, claiming that the trial was more in the nature of a movie.
Not surprisingly, the expression ′there is no peace for the wicked′ is a common expression of the prophets of the Bible, which Ozzy Osbourne made the title of his next album ′No Rest For The Wicked′ (1988). The song ′Miracle Man′ in particular was also commissioned by Bob Daisley himself, with the clear aim of hitting back at telepreacher Jimmy Swaggart - now surprised while hiding his addiction to prostitution. The name ′Jimmy Swaggart′ was replaced during production by that of ′Jimmy Sinner′ but in the dramatization of the promotional video the reference is made even more explicit thanks to the use of a mask and whining very similar to that of the preacher.
The promotional video for ′Miracle Man′ was shot in one of the many churches in England that had begun to be reused as simple cultural spaces due to a lack of membership. Ozzy filled the sacred space with sixty pigs. As the music began to play at full volume, the animals began to run as if possessed by the entire enclosure, covering everything with excrement. “The plague had gotten so attached to my clothes that I couldn′t wear them again,” Ozzy Osbourne recalled much later. ′Everyone around me is dying, I′m that age,′ he recently told Rolling Stone magazine. ′People are disappearing not every nine months but one every fucking day, it′s fucking hell.′
Ozzy Osbourne′s latest album entitled ′Ordinary Man′ (2020) tells the end of the story of an ordinary man, with airs of greatness perhaps, but with the same guilt and the same terrible fate as the rest of humans. It is true that his private life has always been far from living up to what he himself considers ideal; What happens is that he recognizes it and thanks to that overflowing sincerity, his testimony acquires enormous value.
That all people have sinned is an idea deeply linked to the message of the Bible, but different philosophers, historians and journalists have also reached the same conclusion regarding universal depravity through their own analysis. If we are all sinners then the only thing that can differentiate us from each other is our opinion about that reality. So we have some who see ourselves as sinners and others who do not see ourselves as sinners, right? If a creature can afford this right, can we deny the Creator that right?
Jesus himself said that God precisely allows himself the right to justify precisely those who see themselves as sinners when he explains the parable “The Pharisee and the publican”: “Some who trusted themselves as righteous, and they despised others, he also spoke this parable: Two men went up to the temple to pray: one was a Pharisee, and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing up, prayed with himself in this way: God, I thank you that I am not like other men, thieves, unjust, adulterers, not even like this publican; I fast twice a week, I tithe on everything I earn. But the tax collector, being far from him, did not even want to raise his eyes to heaven, but he struck his chest, saying: God, be merciful to me, a sinner. I tell you that this one went down to his house justified before the other; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled; and whoever humbles himself will be exalted ′
The definitive sin mentioned by Ozzy Osbourne in ′The Ultimate Sin′ (1986), for example, would then be how many theologians hold the refusal to accept Christ′s forgiveness. I wish that none of us, for that reason, is already believed by the own merits of him justified before God. And also want us to seek as Ozzy Osbourne continues to do today, the grace and mercy of the one who has the power to give us life beyond the death that he stalks us. P>
This is an short translation of the original article published in Spanish by Entrelíneas: Revista de Arte as Ozzy Osbourne y el pecado definitivo de la religión