Ozzy Osbourne is one of the founding members of Black Sabbath, the band that created Heavy Metal music. But, even though the musician is known for the heavier composotions with the band and on his solo career, he has a broad musical taste inside Rock and Roll.
Over the decades he talked about many other bands and revealed some groups that he loves. To show a little bit more about the musical taste of the Prince of Darkness, Rock and Roll Garage selected the 6 bands that Ozzy Osbourne already said he loves.
The 6 bands that Ozzy Osbourne loves
Just like millions of people all over the world, The Beatles is definetely Ozzy Osbourne’s favorite band. Since the beginning of his career, the musician always mentioned the revolutionary British band as one of his biggest influences. Especially the late the singer and guitarist John Lennon, since Ozzy also loves the artist’s solo career. In an interview with Rolling Stone back in 2004, he revealed which were his 10 favorite songs of all time. Half of that list was Beatles’ related.
He picked three Beatles tracks: “Hey Jude” (“Hands down one of the greatest songs ever written,” Ozzy said), “Yesterday” (“I would have loved to have heard the working-title version, ‘Scrambled Eggs’,” Ozzy said) and A Day in the Life” (“It takes me back to a magical time in my life,” Ozzy said.)
The other two tracks are from John Lennon’s and Paul McCartney’s solo careers. “This song will never get old for me,” Ozzy said about John Lennon’s “Imagine” and “a fucking great song. I Love it!” he said about Paul McCartney and The Wings “Live and Let Die”.
He said that a John Lennon album was his favorite one from a “singer/songwriter”
More recently in 2020, the Black Sabbath vocalist was asked by Forbes which was his favorite album of all time from a singer/songwriter. He once again showed how much he likes the work of John Lennon, picking the album “Imagine” (1971).
“I must have played this album thousands of times over the years. The songs (‘Imagine,’ ‘Jealous Guy,’ ‘Gimme Some Truth’) are just timeless. Which is the sign of what a great songwriter John Lennon was. Lennon was a poet, a rebel and had an incredible passion. All of which are so evident on this landmark album. I cannot believe that we will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year,” Ozzy Osbourne said.
The Prince of Darkness ended up covering the Lennon tracks “Woman” and “Working Class Hero” on his 2005 covers album “Under Cover”. He also released in 2010 a version for the song “How?” Even though he never had the chance to watch The Beatles live in concert back in the 60s, he was able to meet face-to-face Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney over the years.
When he was young he dreamed about his sister marrying Paul McCartney
When he was still a teenager, he was such a big fan of the group that he used to fantasize about his sister marrying Paul McCartney. He recalled that story in an interview for the 1995 documentary “History Of Rock and Roll” (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage).“I was Beatles all the way, man. My bedroom wall was in fact, completly covered.”
“The wall, ceilings, doors. Any Beatles pictures were stuck on my wall. I used to have these fantasies of Paul McCartney marrying my sister. All these kind of crazy stuff and how wonderful (It would be),” Ozzy Osbourne said.
Another British group that was a huge influence to Ozzy was Led Zeppelin, that released their debut album one year before Sabbath, inspiring them to pursue a heavier sound. In an interview for the 1995 documentary “History Of Rock and Roll” (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), the singer recalled what was his reaction when he first heard “Led Zeppelin I”. “I remember listening to the first Zeppelin album. It was like such a great breath of fresh air for somebody doing something acceptable but yet so different,” Ozzy said.
Even though the first album had a big impact on him, in a conversation with Rolling Stone in 2017 he chose “Led Zeppelin IV” as one of his favorite albums of all time. He said: “I’ve always been a huge Led Zeppelin fan. All of their studio albums are classics. But this is one of my all-time favorites.”
The members of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin knew each other before fame. Ozzy even recalled in a conversation with Launch Radio Networks in 2007, the time when he was walking in Birmingham with his bandmate Geezer Butler and both saw Zeppelin’s vocalist Robert Plant in the subway.
Butler knew the singer quite well and asked him was he was up to at the time. He replied saying that he had just been invited to join a band called “The New Yardbirds”. That group would then be renamed to Led Zeppelin. “The first two albums had such an impact on my voice, and on my life. Similar to The Beatles when I first heard them,” Ozzy told Launch Radio.
He has a huge respect for Robert Plant as a singer and even listed him among the best of all time, on the list he made for Rolling Stone magazine in 2004.
Another group that Ozzy admires is the Australian Hard Rock group AC/DC. They even toured with Black Sabbath back in the late 70s as their opening act. In a conversation with Rolling Stone in 2017, the Prince of Darkness revealed his 10 favorite Heavy Metal albums. One of them was AC/DC’s classic album “Highway To Hell” (1979). It was the last one to feature the late vocalist Bon Scott, who tragically died at the age of 33 in 1980.
One of the reasons why he picked that record, it’s because he already said many times that Scott was his favorite AC/DC vocalist, even though Brian Johnson is a good friend of him. “I love Brian Johnson. But to me my good friend, the late Bon Scott, was the best singer AC/DC ever had. This album was like an addiction to me,” he told Rolling Stone.
He calls AC/DC a “meat and potatoes” band
Even though AC/DC was kicked out of the tour with Black Sabbath in the late 70s after a discussion between Malcolm Young and Geezer Butler, Ozzy is still a huge friend of the band.
He was even the responsible person to introduce them with a video at the premiere of their “AC/DC: Live At River Plate” DVD back in 2011. (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage): “I’ve met AC/DC for the first time touring in Sydney with Black Sabbath. I remember thinking ‘these can’t be around touring using so much energy at every concert. They’re (not gonna be able to do that in a few years)”.
“Angus is like a machine that never stops. He keeps going and going. He still got the fucking energy, man. They are a really great bunch of guys. They are my friends, are real people. I love them all. God bless them. (…) There is no other band in the world like them. (They) are a meat and potatoes band. There is no bollocks, there is no fucking around. Whether you like them or you don’t. I’m proud to say I love them,” Ozzy said at the premiere.
Motörhead was formed and led by the late legendary singer and bassist Lemmy Kilmister, who was good friend of Ozzy. The Black Sabbath frontman praised the group many times over the decades. In 2007 he mentioned in an interview with Launch Radio Networks, Motörhead as one of his favorite Hard Rock bands.
In the 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, he chose the album “Ace Of Spades” (1980) as one of his favorite Metal albums of all time. “The album that put Motörhead over the top. The title track ‘Ace of Spades’ is Motörhead’s ‘Paranoid.’ It’s one of the great metal anthems. To me, a band hasn’t made it until they have their own anthem. This is theirs,” Ozzy Osbourne said.
The two musicians not only admired each other, but they also had the opportunity to work together. Lemmy is not often recalled for his writing, but he is a very underrated songwriter. He helped to write many tracks from Ozzy’s successful 1991 album “No More Tears”. He is credited in “I Don’t Want to Change the World”, “Mama, I’m Coming Home”, “Desire”. Also “Hellraiser”, that was later re-recorded by Motörhead.
One year later, in 1992, Ozzy appeared on Motörhead’s album “March ör Die”. He and Lemmy did a duet on the ballad “I Ain’t No Nice Guy” that also had the guitarist Slash.
The groundbreaking Grunge band Nirvana is one of the groups many Ozzy fans would never think he likes, but the musician already said that they were one of his favorites. Even though Grunge is most of the times pointed as the music genre that “killed” Heavy Metal music, the Black Sabbath frontman told Launch Radio Networks in 2007, that the band led by Kurt Cobain was one of his favorite Hard Rock groups of all time.
“Apparently, I met (late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain), ’cause I was talking to Dave Grohl. He said, ‘You probably don’t remember this. But when you were in Devonshire Studios in the (San Fernando) Valley, me and Kurt were in the room where they had a pool table. When you walked in we were like, ‘F***ing hell,’” Ozzy said after saying the group was one of his favorites.
He once even compared in a conversation with VH1 the band with The Beatles, saying: “I love Nirvana, it was like Heavy Metal meets The Beatles, you know, to a point”. In his biography “I Am Ozzy“ (2009), he also said that their biggest hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” had a big impact on him. “It had a huge impact on me, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. I was very proud when I found out that Kurt Cobain was a fan of mine. I thought he was awesome,” Ozzy said. Curiously, the album “Nevermind”, that changed everything in the music business in 1991, was released just a few days after Ozzy’s “No More Tears”.
Ozzy invited Nirvana, but they refused to be his opening act
The Black Sabbath frontman liked Nirvana already in the early days of the band and even invited them to tour with him. However, as the band’s late guitarist and singer Kurt Cobain said in an interview with Gilbert Blecken in 1991, they decided to refuse the offer. “I can understand Ozzy liking us, because we have at least some similarities with his former band. Sure, I respect the man. I have always loved his music except for his last five albums or whatever. I didn’t pay attention to most of his solo stuff besides ‘Bark At The Moon‘, whenever that one was. Ozzy was also in the same mixing studio that we were in for our last record. We met each other in the hall sometimes.”
“We didn’t speak. But there were a few times where we were coming towards each other. I had to move up against the wall and wait for him to stumble past me ’cause he was so fucked up. He also asked us to go on tour with him. But we turned it down. It would have been fun and kind of exciting to be part of his last shows. But we don’t really wanna play in huge arenas supporting someone,” Kurt Cobain said.
Just like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest came from Birmingham, England and became one of the most influential Heavy Metal bands of all time. The group is one of Ozzy’s favorite and the toured together many times over the decades, especially in festivals around the world, performing at the same day. They would even tour together in 2019, but those dates had to be postponed due to Ozzy’s health issues and in 2023 he canceled those shows and announced he would no longer be able to tour anymore.
In the 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, where he revealed which were his favorite Metal albums, Ozzy mentioned Judas Priest’s classic record “British Steel” (1980). “What can I say, the guys in Judas Priest are not only mates of mine from my hometown of Birmingham, but one of the best metal bands of all time. This album had ‘Living After Midnight,’ ‘Breaking the Law’ and ‘Metal Gods.’ British Steel is a classic that will definitely stand the test of time,” Ozzy Osbourne said.
The musician even had the honor to send a message in a video to the band just before they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2022. (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage): “He (Rob Halford) can still hit the fucking notes which is mind blowing to me. He is one of my favorite fucking singers,” Ozzy Osbourne said.
Curiously, Rob Halford had the opportunity to be Black Sabbath’s frontman twice in the last 30 years. The first time was in 1992, when Ronnie James Dio refused to perform when Black Sabbath was Ozzy’s opening act. The second happened in 2004 when the band’s original line-up would reunite at Ozzfest and Ozzy Osbourne wasn’t feeling well before the show.