Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne returned to the stage with the Birmingham band to celebrate the closure of the city’s successful 2022 Commonwealth Games. It was a long-awaited appearance for many Sabbath fans, as well as hard rock fans in general. There are few characters in the music industry left that are quite like Osbourne, with Lemmy Kilmister one of the most recent to depart this world back in 2015. Lemmy and Motörhead’s legend live on in so many ways, not least through the likes of Osbourne. 12 months after Lemmy’s passing, the band teamed up with NetEnt to launch a fully licensed video slot featuring the soundtrack of Motörhead’s biggest tracks. It was a sound choice to use NetEnt to keep the band’s memory alive and kicking given that it’s considered one of the top 7 providers of contemporary and immersive slots in the iGaming scene.
Osbourne and Lemmy struck up a unique friendship through the years. Kilmister was born in Stoke-on-Trent and was brought up in the north-west Midlands towns of Madeley and Newcastle-under-Lyme. Ozzy and Lemmy were therefore cut from similar cloths, with the latter providing inspiration to the likes of Osbourne and Sabbath having ushered in a new wave of heavy metal to the UK from the early 1960s.
Osbourne stuck by Lemmy through thick and thin
Recently, Osbourne recalled the latest time he saw Lemmy prior to his passing in 2015. Osbourne even revealed that he’d spent many hours with Lemmy at the peak of his cancer treatment, with his chemotherapy causing Kilmister to look unrecognisable and “skinny as a rake”, according to Osbourne. Osbourne said he travelled to meet Lemmy in South America where he was on tour and Lemmy admitted to Osbourne that he “never thought [he’d] make 70” so he “did good” to hit that milestone before his death.
Osbourne provided an even bigger peek behind the curtain on Lemmy’s mindset at the height of his cancer battle. Lemmy was in positive yet philosophical mood, insisting to Osbourne that he “ain’t got no regrets” in life and that he lived “the way [he wanted] to live”.
Lemmy proved to be Osbourne’s eyes and ears in the studio
Osbourne revealed that Lemmy was one of his biggest critics behind the scenes, with the Sabbath star respecting his opinion on his more recent tracks. He revealed that Lemmy believed Osbourne’s solo album, No More Tears, was his finest work in music. He also said that their open friendship meant that they could be brutally honest about one another’s work, freely critiquing their records. Osbourne said he used to joke with Lemmy that the reason he felt No More Tears was his finest work was because Lemmy “wrote on it”.
Osbourne was inspired to write new music during his own recent struggles
It’s a crying shame for Osbourne that Lemmy won’t be around to give him his honest opinion on Osbourne’s upcoming solo album, Patient Number 9. His first solo album since Ordinary Man in 2020, Patient Number 9 will be Osbourne’s 13th solo album of his career. Although that might be unlucky for some, Osbourne has doubled-down on the collaborations in his new album, boasting a string of all-star collaborations including Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and, poignantly, the late Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins.
Osbourne’s primary band throughout the album consists of drummer Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, guitarist Zakk Wylde and bassist Robert Trujillo of Metallica. Sabbath fans will be frothing at the mouth at the prospect of Sabbath co-star Tony Iommi featuring on two of Osbourne’s tracks too. The title track of the album has already been aired, with the song’s video directed by Todd McFarlane. Osbourne has endured a torrid last couple of years as he recovers from spinal surgery following an innocuous fall in his Los Angeles home. The title track, including a performance from Jeff Beck, relates to his feelings during his recent issues, with Osbourne becoming increasingly aware of his own mortality.
Osbourne had to have parts of his neck and spine pinned following a horrific accident in the early 2000s and his latest fall in the bathroom damaged various pins, causing him untold pain in recent months. His wife, Sharon, has revealed Ozzy is still undergoing post-surgery rehab that would “determine the rest of his life”, but there seems to be no let up in his desire to get into the recording studio and make new music – even at the ripe old age of 73.
Will Osbourne return to the stage to perform his latest album live?
There is every intention from Osbourne’s side to take Patient Number 9 and the rest of his back catalogue back on the road to tour the UK next year. Although his previous tour was postponed, a string of dates have been penciled in for May and June 2023. Osbourne will begin his six-date UK-wide tour in Nottingham on 31st May 2023 before closing on the 14th June for a homecoming gig at the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham.
Osbourne teamed up with Sabbath co-star Tony Iommi at the recent closing ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which were hosted in their home city of Birmingham. Osbourne was a surprise performer on-stage, with the duo staging a mini reunion of sorts for a one-off performance at the Alexander Stadium.
The pair played one of Black Sabbath’s most iconic tracks, Paranoid, bringing back many memories for metal fans within the Birmingham crowd. The so-called “Prince of Darkness” entered the stage and asked the audience to “go crazy” as the band played the opening chords to another legendary tune Iron Man.
There is something unique about metal icons like Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy Kilmister. They have long demonstrated a lust for life and proved on many occasions that age is only a number. Unfortunately for Lemmy, his number was up sooner than the metal world would have liked, but Osbourne is embarking on his own battle to relight the fire of the old-school metal scene and honour his good friend Lemmy in the best possible way.