Today is Ozzy Osbourne’s 64th birthday — a milestone so unlikely, so inexplicable, that even the Mayan calendar failed to foretell it.
Against all reasonable odds and predictions, the Godfather of Heavy Metal has survived a barrage of life-threatening dangers — most of them self-inflicted.
Ozzy’s remarkable ability to cheat death even prompted him to consider donating his body to science after (or perhaps if) he dies. He’s already had his full genome mapped (making him one of very few people in history to have this done) in a scientific effort to understand what keeps him ticking.
After a lifetime of self-abuse, Ozzy is now clean, sober and relatively healthy. He’s even recording a new Black Sabbath album, his first studio release with the band since 1978, which was presciently titled Never Say Die.
If the planetary calamity “predicted” by the Mayan calendar does indeed bring about the apocalypse later this month, it’s safe to assume that the only survivors will be cockroaches and Ozzy Osbourne.
All the proof you need is right here, among these nine things that should have already killed the Prince of Darkness:
10. Bacterial infection
According to heavy metal lore, Ozzy’s 1984 tour with Mötley Crüe was one of the most debauched and senseless exercises in excess of all time. Aside from allegedly snorting a line of live ants and lapping at a puddle of pee, Ozzy apparently decided to smear his own poop on the walls of his hotel room. Surely he could have contracted any number of diseases and nasty infections in the process. And he probably didn’t wash his hands thoroughly afterward, either.
9. Broken neck
On December 8, 2003, he crashed his ATV while zooming around his estate in Buckinghamshire, shattering eight ribs, his collarbone and a vertebra in his neck. He actually stopped breathing for several minutes until a bodyguard resuscitated him, which means the immortal Ozzy Osbourne may have indeed died once.
Ozzy’s most infamous lapse in judgement was probably when he chomped the head off a live bat onstage in 1982. Ozzy maintains to this day that he presumed it was a rubber Halloween toy, not a real bat, but his credibility is weakened by the fact that he deliberately bit the head off a live dove during a meeting with music execs just a year earlier.
After the incident, Ozzy endured a battery (wokka-wokka) of rabies shots to his butt, and dutifully discouraged young people from orally beheading bats. Attaboy, Oz.
7. Run over by a car
During the chemical haze of the early 1980s, it wasn’t uncommon for Ozzy to wake up confused and in an unfamiliar place. On one occasion, that unfamiliar place was in the middle of a multi-lane highway with cars zipping past his head on either side. According to the lore, Ozzy stood up, stumbled to a cop car parked on the nearby shoulder, and peed on it. He was arrested, of course, which meant the next time he woke up he was in the somewhat more familiar environs of a jail cell.
6. Plane crash
In March of 1982, while on tour in the US, Ozzy’s bus driver decided to take a joyride in a small plane and take pint-sized guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads along for the ride. Perhaps the cocaine in the pilot’s bloodstream had something to do with the fatal crash that followed. On a low pass, the plane clipped the tour bus on which Ozzy was dozing, then careened into a nearby house. Everyone on the plane died, and if the plane had been just a few feet lower, the collision with the bus would likely have killed Ozzy too.
5. Attack by religious lunatic
For the Religious Right in America during the 1980s, Ozzy epitomized everything that was wrong and evil about rock and roll. He was accused of encouraging young people to commit suicide through lyrics (both overt and subliminal) of songs like Suicide Solution. Religious protesters picketed his concerts and accused him of promoting Satanism among young people. During his early days with Black Sabbath, a Satanist reportedly bounded onstage and lunged at band members with a ceremonial dagger before getting tackled by security. Given Ozzy’s notoriety as the self-professed Prince of Darkness — as campy and cartoonish as it may seem to more even-keeled observers — it’s kind of a miracle that he hasn’t been killed by some wingnut attempting to do God’s work.
3. Cirrhosis and other liver diseases
Ozzy’s binge drinking is the stuff of legend. He was known to guzzle four bottles of cognac a day, and his maniacal behavior provided ample evidence of this claim. He peed on the Alamo, killed 17 of his pet cats with a shotgun and attempted to murder his wife. And that’s just the stuff we know about. Booze also slightly — just slightly — inhibited his ability to communicate:
2. Drug overdose
Ozzy’s drug abuse is legendary, and rhyming off a list of the drugs he took would be like trying to recite the dictionary. During the filming of The Osbournes, Ozzy was reportedly on a 40-plus-pills-a-day habit. And that was doctor-prescribed stuff! During his most hedonistic days of excess, Ozzy would reportedly have cocaine delivered in spiffy leather briefcases. Ozzy summed it up well in a column he wrote for the Times of London:
“Given the swimming pools of booze I’ve guzzled over the years—not to mention all of the cocaine, morphine, sleeping pills, cough syrup, LSD, Rohypnol… you name it — there’s really no plausible medical reason why I should still be alive.”
1. Going off the rails on a Crazy Train
Train derailments are usually fatal, but Ozzy has been perpetually going off the rails for decades now. That which has not killed Ozzy has apparently made him stronger. Happy Birthday, Ozzman. Here’s to inexplicably many more.