We'll Forever Miss Ozzy's Bare White Ass | Dallas Observer


Ozzy Osbourne's Full Moon Has Finally Set With His Retirement Announcement

Long before he was known for screaming "Shaaaron," Ozzy was known for eating bats.
Long before he was known for screaming "Shaaaron," Ozzy was known for eating bats. Roger Caldwell
In a Feb. 1 statement posted to Twitter, Ozzy Osbourne announced that due to damage to his spine from an accident four years ago, he would no longer be touring.

For many, this may immediately signal the end of Ozzfest, a long-running festival that brought some of the greatest metal and hard rock acts to music fans all over the world. Others might immediately recall his cockney catchphrase "Shaaaron" as he called for his wife Sharon on the hit MTV reality series The Osbournes, which debuted in 2002 and made the family (including daughter Kelly and son Jack) into household names and opened the gate to an endless flood of reality shows starring celebrities.

But who knew Ozzy Osbourne would pave the way for the likes of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian?

Long before he came to be known as an English cartoon of sorts struggling to work his remote control, Osbourne was known as "The Prince of Darkness."

Like many of the preceding generation, the musician first appeared in my life as a warning from televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, whom my parents watched, well, religiously.

Swaggart was one of the leading voices in the so-called "Satanic Panic" that dominated TV talk shows and the local evening news in the 1980s.

“These creatures of perversion, masquerading as musicians, telling your kids that your parents or anyone else who tells you what to do is the Devil and you ought to shout right back at them,” Swaggart warned his millions of cultists.

I’d recently discovered KISS, become enamored with Gene Simmons’ The Demon character and started making devil horns and sticking out my tongue long before it became a selfie staple. The members of KISS — whose acronym I took to mean “Kids in Satan’s Service,” according to the many Pentecostal preachers to whom I was subjected — resembled denizens of Hell in the 1970s and ‘80s. Their music, on the other hand, sounded like something Glenn Quagmire would play in order to woo lonely housewives into his bedroom.

But Ozzy’s music, especially with Black Sabbath, had a message to which I could relate growing up among hypocrites who condemned people who didn’t adhere to their norms — and long before Satan could have his way with them. Just mentioning Ozzy’s name caused the veins of preachers’ temples to swell and surge like the red rivers after a thunderstorm in Northeastern Oklahoma. Their faces would turn various shades of crimson as they began their hellfire-and-brimstone tirade against Dungeons & Dragons, Hit Parader magazine and Ozzy Osbourne.

Then I heard Ozzy had bitten the head off a bat onstage, and I knew I had to find his music and figure out who this madman was who was causing conservative Christians to clutch their pearls. It was a difficult journey to make in the pre-internet world. If you were young and jobless with limited access to a radio, your options were either having a friend or a loved one introduce you to the music or else helping yourself to a five-finger discount — which, if you were lucky and didn’t look like a minority, could end at worst with an officer taking you home to your parents in the middle of the school day.

Thankfully, for the most part, the Satanic Panic remained in the 1980s, and Ozzy would go on to release 13 studio albums, five live albums, seven compilations and dozens of singles and music videos. He’s made several appearances on the music charts and played dozens of shows around the world for millions of fans. Swaggart and his televangelist brethren and their hate, on the other hand, were extinguished most ironically in a blaze of fornication, lies and hypocrisy. At least until a new breed of them began to appear with the rise of Joel Osteen.

For many like myself, Ozzy seemed immortal, a heavy metal god of thunder from the pages of Heavy Metal magazine. He not only bit the head off a bat and survived — with the help of several rabies shots, of course — but also managed to become a reality TV star despite, while inadvertently, reaffirming to kids watching The Osbournes that brains do become like fried eggs after too much alcohol and one too many drugs.

Even old age hadn’t slowed him down, however. Many of us figured it would take a horned televangelist appearing onstage from the Ninth Circle of Hell to bring down the Godfather of Heavy Metal.

Instead, it was a spinal injury that caused Ozzy to cancel his European tour.  Reading his statement conjured memories of the times I’d been fortunate enough to see Ozzy reunite with his former Black Sabbath bandmates as part of Ozzfest. In September 2020, the Observer put together a handy list of all the “real and significant Black Sabbath shows that took place in North Texas.”

For this metal head, the shows in the late ‘90s and early 2000s all blend together in sort of a heavy metal delirium that’s hard to pick through. Since I wasn’t writing about the shows for an outlet like the Observer, my rules for saying no when the hellion inside of me wanted to say yes were not in play. There was darkness, guitar slinging that made ears bleed, lighters that shapeshifted into cell phones and Ozzy’s bare white ass illuminating the stage and causing many in the crowd to bark at the moon.

Ozzy has been mooning crowds for several decades now and igniting headlines such as “Ozzy Osbourne Moons Lifeless UK Hall of Fame Crowd” and “Mooning Ozzy Steals the Show.” According to a Dec. 12, 2005, report in The Age, Ozzy admitted that he was a few beers away from mooning the Queen of England after guitar legend Slash from Guns N' Roses fame offered him several thousand to do so.

Now, with his recent announcement, Ozzy’s bare white ass will be missed.
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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.

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