The Story Why Black Sabbath Fired Ozzy
Ozzy Osbourne in an interview with ABC11 - ABC11 / Youtube
Black Sabbath was in the midst of their career turmoil when the band decided to let go of their original lead singer, Ozzy Osbourne. Though drugs and alcohol were the main reasons why they had to fire the Prince of Darkness; there were several other reasons to know still.
It was the year 1978 – the band was frustrated with the decline of their career following the commercial flops of 1976’s Technical Ecstasy and the latest, Never Say Die! Apart from that, they have to face direct competition from Van Halen who are rising young stars and eager to make names no matter what. And so, the members found companionship with booze, girls, and drugs – more notably with Osbourne.
“We just couldn’t continue with Ozzy,” Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath’s guitarist, said in an interview. “As much as everyone wanted us to, we just couldn’t do it. Nothing was happening and it would have meant the end of the band. We didn’t want to fire him but we had to if we wanted to continue.”
Osbourne was being a total slacker: excessively doing drugs, making up excuses why he can’t do rehearsals and refusing to do what needed to be done. This affected the dynamic inside the group; they couldn’t function well without their singer. What needs to be done has to be done sooner, or else, they have to break themselves up.
Sabbath was the one thing that Osbourne was confident enough to be himself, seeing that he’d suffered severe abuse from both his family and friends. By firing him, it meant that his confidence plummeted as well. In his autobiography “I Am Ozzy,” the singer explained the brutal punishment of departing the band, which to him was a bit unfair, knowing that it wasn’t only him who was making excuses for getting high and being a raging alcoholic. Drummer Bill Ward and Iommi were also chained with that pleasure; Geezer Butler quit 2 years ago.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel betrayed by what happened with Black Sabbath,” he wrote in the book. “And firing me for being f***ed up was hypocritical bulls**t. We were all f***ed up. If you’re stoned and I’m stoned and you’re telling me that I’m fired because I’m stoned how can that be? Because I’m slightly more stoned than you are?”
But the turbulent story of the original Black Sabbath had to come to an end for them to rise again. Ozzy went solo and become one of the greatest metal gods of all time; meanwhile, Sabbath found their footing once more with Ronnie James Dio and enjoyed success with several lead vocalists from then on. All’s well that ends well.