Larry LeBlanc of Celebrity Access Encore spoke with Ozzy Osbourne’s wife/manger, and co-host of CBS’ The Talk, Sharon Osbourne. Highlights from the interview appear, below.

Celebrity Access Encore: When Black Sabbath sacked Ozzy in April 1979, few music industry people wanted anything to do with him. He was widely viewed as a has been. 

Sharon O: The thing was in those days if you were the singer and you got fired from a group you didn’t go on to do anything. So he broke the mold. But it was like, “So they’ve left the group, they are over. They are dead.”

Celebrity Access Encore: When Ozzy left Sabbath and recorded his first two albums, Blizzard of Ozz (1980) and Diary of a Madman (1981) were your father, and your brother David still actively involved in his management?

Sharon O: No, they weren’t. Yes, we were signed to my father’s label, Jet. The two of them did absolutely nothing, especially, my brother because he lived in England, was basically nowhere to be seen. My father was not doing too well at that time. He was trying to hold on to Electric Light Orchestra who were walking out the door. He had a huge lawsuit on his back. So he was dealing with that lawsuit, and my brother was in England, and he didn’t give a s–t about America. He was married, and just had his first child. So there was no one there but me.

Celebrity Access Encore: What made you think that you could manage Ozzy?

Sharon O: Because I had managed other people. I had managed Gary Moore.

Celebrity Access Encore: He was the late great Northern Irish guitarist who played with Thin Lizzy and with the jazz-rock fusion band Colosseum II before his own, highly successful solo career. 

Sharon O: He was the first guy that I managed, and I loved it (management). I had a great time doing it. In fact, I wanted Gary to join Ozzy’s band, but he wouldn’t.

Celebrity Access Encore: When Ozzy and you gathered the musicians to play with him was it intended as a band project?

Sharon O: Never, never, never. The bass player Bob Daisley has said that over the years. He’s a sad old f–k that played on two of the greatest albums in the (rock) genre, and he can’t get over the fact that we didn’t use him further. Like it was, “Goodbye. See ya.” And he’s never gotten over it. And several lawsuits later—he tried to sue us three times–each time thrown out of court. Thrown out of court three times—he’s tried to change history, and it just won’t fit. It was never a band. There’s no way. It was Ozzy Osbourne.

Sharon O: Yeah, just to teach him a lesson.

Celebrity Access Encore: You got your revenge on Bob Daisley. He and drummer Lee Kerslake were both fired by you in the summer of 1981, and their names and contributions were later erased from those first two albums.  The tracks were re-recorded with new players.

Celebrity Access Encore: (Laughing) You are a mean bitch, aren’t you?  

Sharon O: I am. I am. It’s true. I am.

Celebrity Access Encore: When Ozzy and you were putting together the band, you were in Los Angeles first, and then in England? 

Sharon O: We started off in L.A. yeah. That is where Ozzy found Randy (Rhoads). Couldn’t find a bass player or a drummer. Bob Daisley had been working with Jet Records for awhile with Widowmaker. He was like a session player. If you look up Bob Daisley’s list of credits, I think he was in about 12 different bands because he was a session player. So my brother said, “Well, we’ve worked with Bob. Why don’t you try him because he’s a good bass player?” And he is and was a good bass player. So we said, “All right, we will try him.” Then when we couldn’t find a drummer Bob said, “I have a mate, (drummer) Lee Kerslake, looking for a gig” and that’s how Lee Kerslake played on the first two records as well.

Celebrity Access Encore: Randy came from the band Quiet Riot.

Sharon O: Yes, he was from L.A. We auditioned these guys and one of them, he was a bass player, Dana Stum (future Slaughter bassist) was very sweet to Ozzy. He didn’t get the gig as a bass player but he was a very nice guy. He would sit with Ozzy. He befriended Ozzy. Dana said, “I know this guy, this guitar player,” and it was Randy.

Celebrity Access Encore: When did you officially start managing Ozzy, separate legally from either your father or brother?

Sharon O: Oh Lord. God, let me see. ’81.

Celebrity Access Encore: You father wasn’t happy, of course. 

Sharon O: No.

Celebrity Access Encore: How did you and Ozzy end up with the rights to the two Jet albums? Did you buy them back from your father eventually?

Sharon O: Ozzy had to give him a million and a half dollars which Ozzy didn’t have. Ozzy didn’t have a million and a half dollars.

Celebrity Access Encore: You had to buy Ozzy’s contract out from your father and brother?

Sharon O: My brother never had Ozzy signed ever. It was just to my father’s company.

Celebrity Access Encore: Jet, right?

Sharon O: Yes.

Celebrity Access Encore: Blizzard of Oz sold 4 million copies.

Sharon O: No, it was 5 million but the thing was that we had to get money from the record company. Jet in those days went through CBS (for distribution). We had to go to CBS, and get the money. You see the deal was Jet through CBS. When we gave my father the million and a half, the albums reverted back to us right away. His buyout was 100% from the day that he cashed that check. So he was gone.

Celebrity Access Encore: How about the publishing?

Sharon O: We never signed the publishing with him. He tried to get it, and we wouldn’t sell it. We absolutely refused, and he sent people after us and threatened us and everything, and we just wouldn’t do it.

Celebrity Access Encore: How about the Black Sabbath publishing? There’s been so many covers of Sabbath songs over the years. 

Sharon O: My father didn’t manage Sabbath until ’79, and their publishing deal was done in ’70 with their first manager, and he gave it to a f–king publisher for perpetuity. So it was gone, and the bastards still won’t give it back to Black Sabbath. It’s this company called Essex (TRO Essex Music Group).

Celebrity Access Encore: Your bio says that you have also managed the Smashing Pumpkins, Coal Chamber, Queen, Motörhead, Lita Ford, and Electric Light Orchestra. When did you manage Queen?

Sharon O: Oh my gawd. Freddy Mercury, and his girlfriend (Mary Austin) were big friends of mine, and Freddy hated their manager (Norman Sheffield of Trident Recording, Publishing and Management). So they asked me if we would consider taking then on. I said, “Of course.” I go to my dad and everybody’s over the moon. And that was it. They came to us. That year, probably ’74 or ’75, we had a Christmas party and I had John Reid there who was another friend of mine. And Freddy and John Reid then met, and the rest is history.

Celebrity Access Encore: UK promoter Harvey Goldsmith swears that Freddy Mercury was the best performer of them all, including David Bowie and Mick Jagger. 

Sharon O: Oh my God. Nobody could compete with Freddy. Nobody could compete with Freddy Mercury. First of all his vocal range was untouchable. Nobody had his vocal range. And he was just electric onstage. You couldn’t compete with Freddy. He played every instrument in the world. And that was it. Go on.

Celebrity Access Encore: What did you think of the Bohemian Rhapsody film in which Rami Malek, wearing a set of prosthetic teeth, plays Freddy? He received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and British Academy Film Award for best actor. The film has raked in more than $1 billion worldwide at the box office, and it received four Academy Awards.

Sharon O: I did not like it. I cannot watch it. Listen I know that kid got the Oscar, but I can’t watch it.

Celebrity Access Encore: The thing intriguing about Queen onstage is that you couldn’t take your eyes off Freddy. Meanwhile, critics and fans have accused the Bohemian Rhapsody  filmmakers of twisting facts to create a more convenient drama for the movie.

Sharon O: But please don’t give me the s–t in that movie about Brian (May) doing this, and Brian doing that. Brian did what Freddy told him to do, and that’s it. And you know what? It’s like finally these two (drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon) have got to their late 60s, and finally, finally, they have got the attention that they always wanted, but never got because of Freddy. As you say, you watched Queen you didn’t give a s–t about anybody else. You were drawn to Freddy. And who did anyone want to write about? Nobody but Freddy. So there were these frustrated f–k musos that sat at home going, “We hate Freddy. We hate Freddy.” And that was it.

Celebrity Access Encore: What’s the best show you’ve ever been to not counting Ozzy’s shows? 

Sharon O: Every Queen show that I ever went to. And Elton. It has to be between Freddy Mercury and Elton John.

Celebrity Access Encore: How have you kept Ozzy in the public eye all these years? 

Sharon O: Listen Ozzy has been playing for 51 years now, and he’s been always touring. It is what Ozzy does. There is only one Ozzy. There’s only one person who looks like him and sounds like him. That voice is instantly identifiable. And that’s it. He’s unique. And he’s one of the few guys, like I said before, who has ever left a successful band and has gone on to do just as successfully on his own. Even Mick Jagger couldn’t do it.

Read more at Celebrity Access Encore.

34 Responses

  1. Ozzy is kind of a divided issue for me. On one hand he was always surrounded by great players that cranked out some classic hard rock especially on the first two albums with Randy Rhoads, plus I always respected the way he defended himself and his lyrics when it seemed everyone and their grand parents were accusing him of something.
    On the other hand Osbourne really didn’t compose much of said lyrics as I naively believed, it was mainly Geezer Butler and Bob Daisley. Also too, the whole (Bleep) reality/talk (Bleep) show, SHAARON thing got to be too (Bleepin) much. He’s (Bleeping) everywhere and it took away all the mystique about him.
    To be fourteen and impressionable again believing all these rumors I hear about this dark and shadowy rock performer who supposedly kills puppies, tortures midgets, mutilates cows, etc, etc. Those were the days.

    1. Ah, yes. The good ole days of thinking he and Sabbath were Satanic and all the dark references that our scared little parents were shocked by. What I wouldn’t give for a good bat beheading or was it a dove? Oops, s–t it was both, right? No more rags to prove/disprove great metal folklore.

  2. I like her, not sure I would want to do business with her but I still like her; she’s savvy, likes good music, and calls it like she sees it…I actually probably wouldn’t want to spend much time around her but everything she did with Ozzy, from a pure objective point, was exactly right. The guys she brought in the band, the way she preserved Ozzy’s mystique….completely worked. Ozzy had to be the main writer for the gig to work…that’s how business was done and if you were understand the industry like Sharon…’s show biz and all that matters is that the product is good….that was her job and she was great at it.

    You have to remember that she came up in a different era with different rules; the session players on countless hit songs never got any credit and those players didn’t care; all they cared about was whether the song was good…they were working to achieve a common goal.

    1. Shannon, I agree 100% with your comments. Sharon knew how to play the game and did her job well….but she was a bitch doing it, s–t on alot of people along the way, and doesn’t care that she did it that way….

    2. I believe her when she says it was never a band and it was always Ozzy’s solo project..that I 100% believe.

    3. I just don’t know how anybody can like a backstabbing bitch! Being a smart businessperson doesn’t justify stepping on everybody who helped you up that ladder of success! I am so tired of people like Sharon and Gene saying “it’s just business,” bullsh-t! I’m self-employed and have my own business as well, and I never treat or treated anybody the way Sharon and Gene do, even the sharks!

  3. Let’s be honest here, and I know some of you are going to pretend ignorance and say, “Who’s Beyonce?”…

    Ozzy and Beyonce are not that different. They are the charismatic faces of their albums. They are the singers. Everything else was handled by actual musicians and lyricists. They had management handle the image and, most importantly, the business. As such, it had to appear that they were mega-talents on their own and they were somehow solely responsible for the creation of their music. They were not. Ozzy was lucky – just like Beyonce – in that he has a shark for a manager who believes that the actual songwriters/lyricists have the “privilege” to work with such a legend and, as such, are somehow less important than the “star.” In Beyonce’s case, the music/lyrics are created by an army of producers, session players, background singers, and professional songwriters. In Ozzy’s case, the music and lyrics were created by Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde, etc.

    If you think I’m wrong in my assessment, just refer to the comments that Bill Ward, Bob Daisley, and Jake E. Lee have made.

    1. Who the f–k is pretending? Just because you honestly never really heard of someone doesn’t mean you’re ignorant. I’m old school, so excuse me for not knowing who the hell these people are! That name – Beyonce? It sounds like a damn perfume! You’re really going to compare Ozzy Osbourne to a perfume?? Whatever! Everybody already knows Ozzy would be nothing without his BAND! No matter how many different MEMBERS there were/are! A “solo” artist still needs a band, unless of course you’re Phil Collins! 😉

    2. Doug, the session players from the 50’s and 60’s were jazz musicans who played in obscurity and did the sessions to pay the bills; so they ended up composing a lot of the parts that ended being massive hits for the Beach Boys, etc…and those players knew that putting their faces or names on those records wouldn’t have worked…those records have to actually sell Doug…lol….nobody would pay money to go see Bob Daisley’s and Kerslake’s band…how did Badlands end up doing? Ozzy got even bigger after Jake left….Ozzy was the $$$ and you always follow the $$$$$ withstanding that Ozzy is a very talented musician and singer ….Sharon’s point is Bob should’ve just shut up and did his job…which is not so outlandish Doug…I mean, you’re seriously comparing your business to this? Not saying Bob shouln’t have been treated better…

    3. Doug – Even though you took what I said personally, I think you and I are actually in agreement here. Ozzy, by himself, would not have produced any of his classic albums and songs. Did he ADD to the songs with his voice and presence? Sure. However, my point is that for Sharon to negate or minimize the contributions of the musicians who wrote and played Ozzy’s songs shows a total lack of gratitude and a hell of a lot of delusion.

      As for my Ozzy/Beyonce comparison, where am I wrong? Both are singers. Both have other people write and produce their songs. Both present themselves (or at least their management does) as self-contained stars with merely replaceable backing musicians. Both have been immensely successful in promoting this image.

      I never said one person’s music was comparable or better or worse than the other’s.

    4. RTunes, I think what threw me off was ok, I know what you mean of course about all the assistance so-called solo artists get, but Ozzy is a legend, who was fortunate and lucky enough to have some really, really great musicians and songwriters to work with. So when you mention someone that (IMO) has zero talent, as does her so-called “musicians,” who I seriously doubt know anything about real instruments, again, I just don’t get why you would even mention someone like that.

    5. Doug,

      I used Beyonce to prove a point – that regardless of the genre of music, there are mega-stars who have a reputation of being “legendary artists,” but in fact, are really the charismatic mouthpiece for a lot of other people’s hard work. For someone like Sharon Osbourne to diminish them is an ungrateful and crappy thing to do.

      Also, don’t be too quick to put down the “so-called musicians” (as you describe them) behind some of these pop stars you hate. For example, do you know who Rihanna’s musical director is? (Hint: Nuno Bettencourt)

    6. When he was first employed, I reported on it, here. So, I knew, he was her touring guitarist for quite a number of years, but, I did not know he was her “musical director.” I am not certain that he still holds that position, as I believe, he left, to rejoin Extreme.

      On a related note, Rihanna, like Beyonce, is another one of those overhyped, overrated “artists.” Another one that is all flash, no substance, and also managed by Jay-Z.

    7. Dana – Honestly, I think it’s kind of cool that Nuno Bettencourt was her musical director/guitarist. It gives him exposure to an audience he might not otherwise reach. It shows what a versatile musician he is. It gives Rihanna some musical credibility that she’s backed by real musicians.

      Also, he only “stopped” being her musical director because for the past few years, she’s been concentrating on acting and her other business ventures. I’m sure that if she began touring again, and if Nuno’s schedule permitted, he would rejoin. He had nothing but good things to say about his experience with her…AND I’m sure it’s great money!

      Ok. You should officially declare that this thread is over. I know I’ve overstayed my welcome by a lot!


    8. No worries, and I have no doubts that it was a very lucrative position for Nuno, so I would never judge him for taking the job. Also, I am glad to hear that she appreciated him, as she should, especially someone with his caliber of talent.

      As for exposing Nuno to a different kind of audience, that is true. But, it I have a difficult time believing, that other than seeing him on her tour, Rihanna’s fan base has explored any of Bettencourt’s other musical endeavors.

      Finally, my opinion of Rhianna as an overrated artist has no barring on Nuno, nor his decision to tour with her.


  4. Putting Rudy Sarzo in the band with Aldridge was an ingenious move..that band had a chemistry that worked for the live show that was not there before..I am not personally involved Bob….you should’ve planned ahead…lol…

    1. Shannon, I’m not comparing businesses, I’m just talking about right and wrong. It does not matter what business you’re in, there are still things called morals, and ethics, misleading people is wrong, period! I’m not taking anything away from Ozzy, of course he’s talented, but again, you have to give credit where credit is do! And for Ozzy and especially Sharon to act like everybody else’s contributions to their success was minimal and unimportant, is just wrong.

    2. Doug, I am going to try and explain this to you so you can understand it…

      I am just going to say that you’re a general contractor and you put in a bid for a lucrative contract.
      You got bids from subcontractors; while you were putting together your contract you went with a subcontactor that put in a reasonable bid and did good work.
      You put in your bid and get the contract based in part on this subcontractor’s bid
      Now, the subcontractor comes to you and says he can’t do the job because he needs more $$ and he wants more credit for his work.
      You say, “sure, no problem” because you need to finish this contract.
      After the job is completed you tell the subcontractor to go f himself.

    3. Apples and oranges.
      Shannon, don’t insult my intelligence, or anybody else’s.

    4. Insulting someone’s intelligence is telling them with a straight face that “Blizzard of Ozz” was a real band name and not Ozzy as a solo artist…lol…

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