One of the first things that will hit you about Ozzy Osbourne upon the beginning of this documentary is that he cuts a very different figure to how the general public and mainstream media portray him. He’s seen working out prior to a show, attending a surprise 60th birthday party in Vegas and posing for photos with fans in Nova Scotia. Firstly, its cool to see someone of his status still more than willing to sign autographs 40+ years into his career. Secondly, and tellingly – doesn’t he look well?
‘God Bless Ozzy Osbourne‘, which was released on DVD last year but was aired on BBC Two in the UK on Sunday 29th January, 2012, showed Ozzy and his life for what it really is – not the bumbling, mad bastard father every takes him for because of that show, but a human being as fallible as anyone else to weakness and ultimately one with the resolve to overcome that. The documentary charts Ozzy and Sabbath’s rise to fame from their humble beginnings in working class Aston, near Birmingham, England. The detail in Ozzy’s subsequent drug abuse and addiction to alcohol soon became apparent, with all Sabbath members, Ozzy included, detailing Ozzy’s derailment.
The documentary got more personal as it detailed Ozzy’s first marriage to his then-wife Theresa, with some raw, honest opinions and revelations, before later discussing Ozzy’s father’s death & its effect on him – he lost his soul to further drug and alcohol addiction and lost his job as Sabbath vocalist as a result.
Ozzy’s incredible rebound, consisting of his meeting and recruitment of Randy Rhoads and the success of ‘Blizzard of Ozz‘ and ‘Diary of a Madman‘; the recalling of the plane crash that killed Rhoads at 25 was indeed one of the hardest moments to look upon – its still shocking to this day and a damn shame Rhoads talents and potential were taken so soon. The tragedy further fuelled Ozzy’s dangerous addiction which got more and more extreme as the years passed. Indeed, one scene shows Ozzy looking back on his music videos of that period with a mixture of clueless confusion and disgust at his antics.
Still, Ozzy eventually found salvation, shamed by his son Jack into beating his addiction and becoming clean. It’s safe to say that, after passing 60, Ozzy appears to be a figure of sound health and mind that those who know him as the incoherent mad bastard father from The Osbournes would do well to notice, instead of poking fun at his speeches at interviews.
Henry Rollins, Paul McCartney and more gush praise and happy memories of Sabbath and there are brief moments of hilarity within – the ridiculous misspell from the RIAA in honouring ‘Ossie Osbourne’ for his first gold record with Sabbath is a highlight.Interspersed with incredible footage of Sabbath in the early days playing their self-titled song, their performance at the California Jam, Ozzy on the Diary of a Madman tour. Ozzy’s no stranger to documenting his life on screen, but this is far more an honest, open and emotional portrayal of the man than most are probably used to, and while it doesn’t differ greatly from any traditional out-of-control rock star story, its still an incredible doc worth watching for all the highs and lows.