Satan, Lucifer, Old Scratch, Lil’ Joey Spaghetti-Bits — the Devil has many names and forms, all of them believed to be men of wealth and taste who stir discord and misrule among polite society. The same, of course, can be said for Ozzy Osbourne, musical Prince of Darkness and heavy metal’s ultimate madman. Over the years, Ozzy has rattled enough gilded cages around the world that many pearl-clutchers believe him to actually be the Devil walking on earth.
Of course, as the people who actually listen to his music, we know that Ozzy is just a human being asking the questions and overcoming the obstacles that we all face. But there’ve been a handful of moments that leave even metalheads wondering if Ozzy is in fact the Devil in disguise. So in honor of his birthday, we decided to list some examples of times that made us look for Ozzy’s horns.
Here are 7 pieces of evidence that Ozzy might actually be the Devil Himself…
He gets more powerful each time he bites something’s head off
Let’s be real, if Taylor Swift bit the head off of a bird in front of everyone, she’d lose some sponsorships. But when Ozzy bit the head off of a dove at a 1981 meeting with CBS Records, he ended up a signed solo artist. When he bit the head off a bat in Des Moines in 1982, it elevated his satanic legend to new levels. What kind of being gains power and acclaim by biting the heads off of small animals? Answer: the S to the A to the TAN.
He scared the shit out of parents in the ‘80s
The Satanic Panic was a smear campaign throughout the ‘80s in which role playing games and heavy metal music were blamed for inspiring satanic child abuse and murder throughout America (all of which was, of course, total bullshit). One of the figures at the center of this witch hunt was Ozzy Osbourne, whose appearance on several talk shows showed a befuddled, soft-spoken man sympathizing with metal kids rather than casting them as knights in Satan’s service. Just like the Devil, Ozzy frightened fundamentalist parents nationwide — and just like Lucifer in Paradise Lost, he was thoroughly misunderstood, and did nothing wrong but stand up for himself.
He spoke as though possessed during his infamous fight with Sharon
In September of 1989, Ozzy, wasted off of his gourd, tried to strangle his wife Sharon. Perhaps the scariest part, though, was that the rocker claims he felt “serenity” while doing so, and that he apparently said, “We’ve come to the decision that you’ve got to die.” The plural there is reminiscent of the demon Christ casts out of possessed man in the Bible, who when asked his name answers, “Legion, for we are many.” Not the Prince of Darkness’ finest moment — and certainly one that suggests he’s actually the Prince of Darkness.
The cocaine duel with David Lee Roth
Anyone who can out-snort Diamond Dave has to be some kind of supernatural creature. Apparently, while touring together in 1978, Ozzy and DLR decided to take part in a coke duel. The rumor is that Ozzy technically won — though he followed up the yay-fest by wandering off, leading many to wonder if he was dead. Did Ozzy return to Hell to bolster her unholy defenses, or simply find someone else’s hotel room and pass out in it? We’ll never know (hint: we do know, it was the second one).
Lemmy wrote a massive hit song for him
It’s believable that Ozzy and Lucifer are one and the same, if only because they seem like the only two people who Lemmy would write a song for. The Motörhead frontman wrote four songs on Ozzy’s 1991 album No More Tears, including the heartbreaking ballad “Mama, I’m Coming Home.” According to Lemmy in his autobiography White Line Fever, “I made more money out of writing those four songs than in fifteen years in Motorhead.” Hey, the Devil knows his own!
He painted a room with shark’s blood
If someone came into your house, dismembered a shark on your coffee table, and painted the walls with its blood, you might wonder if they had a demon inside of them. But according to Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, this was par for the course for Ozzy. “With drugs you always get bored, so you must do something to one another,” said Iommi while speaking to The New York Post. “Like Ozzy hauling a shark through our window, dismembering it, and soaking the room in blood.” Lots of people use blood in satanic rites, but only Ozzy would hold such a ritual in honor of himself.
He was an honored guest at the White House
Who else but Old Scratch himself would get invited to the White House under George W. Bush? In 2002, the Prince of Darkness was a guest at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and sat through a good-natured ribbing from the POTUS himself. Rumor has it he also got a little drunk and scandalized the staff, which is very on-brand for Ozzy. Of course, fans didn’t get to see the moment backstage where Dubya bowed to his dark master and offered him a human heart on a platter — but hey, that’s politics for you.
Words by Chris Krovatin