Ordinary Man – Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy has been a constant thread through my musical life. He was right there at the start of it all. In the early days of obsessing over records and working out which ones had the dark mark of “Real Rock”, you knew Ozzy’s name was a stamp of authenticity. His voice stood out. On the car boot sale copies of Paranoid, We Sold Our Souls For Rock And Roll and that debut album his voice taught us the realest lessons in life…

You Can Only Trust Yourself An The First Six Black Sabbath Albums.

Through the solo years he championed new talent with his choices of guitar player. Randy, Jake, Zakk, and all the rest. Each of his wing-men were brilliant players who developed fans of their own for their gifts to the genre. Double O may be seen as somewhat guilty regarding short changing his rhythm sections in the respect stakes over the years (in fact a lot of Ozzy’s business relationships reflect less than favorably on his sense of fairness). Often it has been said the Managers, Puppet Masters and Lawyers have gotten the better of his wallet while the sozzled jester pleaded diminished responsibility from the bottom of a bottle.

The voice though, that banshee blues shriek tells us of doom, gloom, despair and (as the most SteveForTheDeaf of phrases comes to the fore again) yet, Ozzy’s voice also means party time. If that’s not the definition of the metal genre I don’t know what is.

Dooooommmm! Clannnngggg! Deeeeaaaaath! “Alright now!”

At the very end of 2019 when posting Under The Graveyard, the write up was all talk of cancellations and epithets to crown a career that no other rocker can match beat for beat. Those tickets will be 4 years old if the most recent scheduling of the rescheduled tour that never was ever emerges from behind the wall of sleep. No More Tours 2 proved to have been too prophetic a sequel title.

Once myself and the boys in the (high school) band were finally of gig going age it didn’t take long for Ozzy to make ‘the list’. We were Monsters of Rock regulars by the time we could legally buy a beer. Seeing him waddle about behind Zakk as he played Sabbath tracks to a baying Wembley is a rush I don’t think I’ll ever forget. On TV, we’d watched him at Live Aid, The Moscow Music Peace Festival. Going over the tapes again and again. He was in movies too. Frying pan in hand for The Decline Of Western Civilisation part II, playing the crooked holy man in Trick Or Treat. This was all a whole lifetime before the MTV reality show that made him the cuddly character we see him as now.

Solo Ozzy for me started in the right place. Crazy Train, Blizzard Of Ozz, Bark At The Moon and the mother-load for me Talk With The Devil. That cassette (it was a cassette the first time) was an incredible experience. A contractual obligation crossed with a legal loophole that only existed to keep copyright lines blurred. It was also one of my seminal live albums. I know all the add libs, the track list makes some genuine original Sabbath albums sound in the wrong order to me as I’ve played it so much.

So unsurprisingly, when it comes to self penned “leaving early to avoid the rush” songs, John (call me Ozzy) Osbourne has had another crack. If Mama I’m Coming Home from the No More Tours era Ozzy isn’t the way he chose to end things and the do-over of Changes with Kelly and its added “I Love You Daddy’s” felt like a bum note why not keep trying? Dreamer was hedging his bets in 2001. Under The Graveyard is the Beginning of this version of The End. Ozzy has had to make his final final farewell song stand out by bringing in a fellow legend. A name so big it’s a bit of a coup.

Ordinary Man is a duet with Elton John in the same way Save Rock & Roll was a duet with Fall Out Boy. He pops in on one verse over some piano plaintive enough just to prove he is one of his generations Last Men Danding Dill.

It’s a big old soppy show tune of a song. And. I. Love. It. It’s Send In The Clowns for the metal faithful. It’s Bohemian Rhapsody over the PA before the band comes on. It’s a doff of the cap to the undeniable fact that, for all the grease paint, dry ice, distortion and strobe lights, Heavy Metal is just Theater. Ozzy Osbourne just a song and dance man. The song may be a satanic incantation and the dance that of a toddler with a full nappy. Ozzy Osbourne is The Peoples Prince of Darkness and it’s been a pleasure basking in his shadows.

He loves us all.

Anything But Ordinary
My first hit of that Double O sound
The first farewell song.
Dreamer (a dry run on dry ice)
How the Ordinary Man album opens
How it closes.

.lluH ni sklehw slles rehtom ruoY

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6 thoughts on “Ordinary Man – Ozzy Osbourne

  1. I do love his stuff. When I first heard this song on Planet Rock I had to stop and listen. A new Ozzy song! That can’t be Elton John can it? But it works. Like most things he does.

    I do feel he has been a puppet for many years and how he is still alive eludes even the greatest of medical minds but when his songs are played, they have to be played at 11.

    And there can’t be better praise than that in my eyes.

    Keep that tap of creativity on SFTD!

    Liked by 2 people

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