'Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne' Preview: Dizzying array of spectacles from the iconic rockstar's life
The A&E documentary, which is divided into 9 sections with each segment exploring a different facet of Ozzy's celebrated career and personal life, airs on September 7
This Labor Day weekend, rock fans will be treated to an in-depth and personal look at one of the hardest working rockstars in the music industry, namely the indefatigable Ozzy Osbourne. Best known as the godfather of heavy metal thanks to his stint as the vocalist and founding member of the metal icons Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne has since become one of the world's most celebrated names in rock music, having successfully built a solo career and legendary empire that is worth well in excess of 220 million dollars. Now, the Prince of Darkness will be the subject of a highly-anticipated documentary called 'Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne', which will be airing on the A&E network on September 7, at 9 pm ET. Here's what we can expect from the 86-minute feature, which was co-produced and directed by Greg Johnston, with Ozzy, Sharon, and Jack Osbourne all serving as executive producers as well.
The film is divided into nine sections, with each segment exploring and expounding on different facets and aspects of Ozzy's celebrated career and personal life. We're taken through a dizzying array of spectacles and stories in chronological order, from his humble beginnings in Birmingham, England, to the semi-retirement life that the rocker has recently embraced, although he is still busy making music. Each entertaining segment is compounded by archival footage, voice-over animations, and never-before-seen intimate accounts from Ozzy himself, as well as interviews with his family members, including his longtime wife and manager Sharon Osbourne, and his children Aimee, Kelly, and Jack Osbourne.
Rounding it all off are tributes and testimonials from Ozzy's friends and fellow bigwigs in the music business, including rockstars like his former Black Sabbath bandmates, and other legends like Marilyn Manson, Jonathan Davis, Rob Zombie, Rick Rubin, Ice-T, and his most recent collaborator, Post Malone.
In the course of this entertaining hour-and-a-half with Ozzy, we discover that there is a surprising depth and purity to the man, despite the fact that most people view him as a crazed maniac who was capable of summoning utter chaos, hilarity, and madness to any gathering. We discover that Ozzy was bullied as a child, and became an entertaining class clown in order to make up for his overwhelming anxieties and cerebral inadequacy in the classroom. The singer had turned to booze and drugs early on in life, as a way to numb himself from his mundane working-class existence in post-WW2 England.
We then follow his journey as he discovers his passion early on for music, and went on to change the soundscape of the world as he incorporated his trademark high voice with the doom and gloom of Black Sabbath, who are considered pioneers of the heavy metal genre. Ozzy became a household name with his Sabbath mates Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, and Geezer Butler, but the trapping and excesses of a rock star lifestyle soon caught up with him. He was soon heavily addicted to drugs like cocaine and alcohol, and his hell-raising escapades and all-around unreliable bad boy behavior soon led to him being fired from Black Sabbath. He also got divorced from his first wife (with whom he had two kids), and lost his father along the way, losses that still hurt the surprisingly gentle Prince of Darkness.
Then, we see the resurrection of Ozzy Osbourne from the flames, as the mad man with no plan was set on a straighter path by the woman who changed the course of his career, Sharon Osbourne. Sharon was the daughter of Don Arden, the manager of Black Sabbath, and she took on the responsibility of keeping Ozzy on a tighter leash while helping him rejuvenate his solo career. This renaissance was catalyzed by Ozzy discovering Randy Rhoads, his first real hope in a world of despair, and suddenly Ozzy was back in stadiums again, enthralling the masses with his timeless tunes.
Sharon and Ozzy would go on to marry and have three children together, all of whom appear in this documentary as they share opinions on their famous father. Ozzy also had a further boost in his widespread appeal when he founded the popular Ozzfest musical festival, and then later became a reality TV star on MTV with the show 'The Osbournes'. As Sharon exclaims at one point in the documentary, "He left one of the biggest rock bands in the world and became bigger... A credible artist on his own, finding great new talent. And then made it huge on TV... Nobody had done that."
As Ozzy admitted himself, “I use the talent of making people feel somewhat entertained when I was goofing around. To take it onstage with my music, I suppose, is the same kind of thing." There were actually two sides to him, namely Ozzy the entertainer, a frenzied, crowd-pleasing stage persona he had crafted for himself, and John Osbourne, the mild-mannered man who just wanted to have a good time with his friends and family. At times it seemed like there was no separating the two, considering Ozzy had a long list of drug-addled antics that often got him into trouble offstage, such as biting the heads off bats and doves and urinating on the Alamo in Texas. But through it all, Ozzy managed to shrug off the controversy and continue doing what he loved best, which is enthrall generations with his incredible music and goofy personality, and further cement his status as a living legend in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
However, Ozzy was forced to endure a couple of crippling road bumps, as his physical health could no longer keep up with his animated mind. He was still recovering from a horrific bone-breaking ATV crash when he subsequently slipped in his unlit bathroom, further injuring his neck and dislodging steel rods in his back. The result of these setbacks forcing him to cancel his long-awaited 'No More Tours II' farewell tour this year. He then recently went public with the revelation that he was suffering from a form of Parkinson's disease, which will now surely hasten his impending retirement. But ever the Iron Man, Ozzy has braved the odds by continuing to make music even at the age of 71, citing it as his only salvation.
His last album, 'Ordinary Man' featured a slew of celebrity collaborators and was unsurprisingly certified as a Top 3 hit on both the US Billboard 200 and UK charts. By all accounts, and contrary to popular opinion, Ozzy Osbourne is showing no signs of slowing down. What this documentary presents is a well-told and extraordinary tale of what made Ozzy the world-conquering phenomenon he is, coupled with the revelation that his effervescent spirit could never be dampened by complications that would normally spell curtains for ordinary mortals like us.
'Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy' will air on September 7 at 9 pm ET on the A&E network, with a runtime of 86 minutes.