It’s your birthday, man! Can you believe it? I can’t hardly, knowing all you’ve been through. Losing Lemmy last year was so hard, I can only tell you now how grateful I am that you’re still around and still rockin’.
I just wanted to write a little note to let you know how much you’ve meant to me over the years. You were truly one of the first rock ‘n’ roll heroes I had when I was just a little sprout first getting seriously into music. I remember the first time I heard “Crazy Train” - David D’Agostino blaring it repeatedly from his boombox in the hallways at school. I was stunned. “What IS this?” I wondered. And then the night I woke up with the radio on and heard those metallic words…”I…Am…Iron Man…” coming out of my speaker, followed by the heaviest riff imaginable. Shudders. Down my spine. Literally. Ever since then you’ve been a part of my life. I borrowed Desiree’s cassette of “Speak of the Devil” and then lied to her about it breaking so I wouldn’t ever have to give it back. I hung your pictures on my wall and had fights about it with my dad, the preacher. I started growing my hair long (but, alas, never got the shag-and-frosted hair cut I wanted to look just like you). I started telling everybody at school that you were my uncle. “Uncle John” from the English side of the family. I did it until people actually started to believe me, haha. I got high with my friend, Dan, in his Chevette (before we rolled it and killed it for good) listening to “The Ultimate Sin” and wishing we could play guitar like Jake E. Lee. And, yes, like countless other young rockers, I copied your “O-Z-Z-Y” tattoo on my fingers.
I cried the night you played in Seattle on your “No More Tours” tour because I truly believed you were retiring and that I would never get a chance to see you play live. I still remember the radio DJ going on and on around midnight about how fucking amazing your show was that night. And I just stuffed my face into my pillow and let the tears go. Can you imagine how ecstatic I was when I did get to go see you on your “Retirement Sucks” tour? Hahaha. I should have known. A true rocker never stops rocking.
I’ve seen you solo once and with Sabbath twice. Oh my god, that first Sabbath show. Utterly incredible. You were on fire that night, man. You had the Seattle crowd going fucking crazy. And to hear you sing all those classics…again, it brought tears to my eyes.
Musical fads and styles come and go and I grew up through my “all heavy metal or nothing” phase to embrace a lot of different kinds of music; punk, blues, jazz, country (real country, thank you very much, not this contemporary pop country bullshit), experimental, etc. But I still have “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman” on vinyl and bet your ass I bust them out and crank the stereo still. I’ve been a fan through all your phases: the insane, drunken, drugged-out bat-biting phase, the maybe I’m in league with Satan maybe not phase, the glammed-out I look like an overweight Beverly HIlls housewife phase, the return to awesomeness Prince of Darkness phase, the terrible TV sitcom family phase, the Black Sabbath reunion phase…ALL OF IT. Through thick and thin even when it wasn’t seen as “cool” to still be an Ozzy Osbourne fan. I did not give a shit. Still don’t. Your music has meant a lot to me and got me through a lot of rough times. And that, of course, is the power of music…something I’m sure you understand completely.
So, thanks Ozzy. For everything. Keep rockin’ and stay crazy.
I know a lot of people have talked about Harrison possibly playing Harry Osbourne, in a spiderman movie alongside Tom Holland. But what would be great for me, is if he played a character in need of a renewal. Johnny Storm or Human Torch.