Ozzy Osbourne‘s manager wife, Sharon, was a recent guest on Steve-O‘s Wild Ride! podcast, where they discussed who legally owns the band name, Black Sabbath.

Osbourne replied [via], “…Ozzy and Tony [Iommi, guitar] own the name — Geezer [Butler, bass] and Bill [Ward, drums] don’t. So it’s Ozzy and Tony that own the name, and they are partners in Black Sabbath. So you’re kind of right. Ozzy and Tony are equal, and at the time, the other guys, you know, it’s kind of like pay-for-play.”

Osbourne filed a lawsuit against Iommi in May 2009, claiming that he illegally took sole ownership of the band’s name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Osbourne sued Iommi for a 50 percent interest in the “Black Sabbath” trademark, along with a portion of Iommi’s profits from use of the name.

The Manhattan federal court suit also charged that Osbourne’s “signature lead vocals” are largely responsible for the band’s “extraordinary success,” noting that its popularity plummeted during his absence from 1980 through 1996.

Lawyer Andrew DeVore argued that Osbourne signed away all his rights to the Black Sabbath trademark after he quit the band in 1979.

Osbourne’s lawyer, Howard Shire, called that agreement a “red herring” that was “repudiated” when the singer rejoined in 1997 and took over “quality control” of the band’s merchandise, tours and recordings.

In June 2010, Osbourne told The Pulse of Radio that the lawsuit between him and Iommi had been settled and that everything was okay between them.

5 Responses

  1. Sharon Osbourne should really keep her mouth shut about the inner financial workings of Black Sabbath. That said, she’s a brilliant manager and marketer. How many other people could negotiate a 50 percent partnership for her drug-addled client/husband in a band that he was fired from and/or left and then returned to, all at the expense of a key songwriter (Geezer Butler) and actual musician (Bill Ward)?

    Ozzy is a “legend” largely on the basis of attaching himself to talented musicians and songwriters – Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley, Jake E Lee, Zakk Wylde, etc.

    To twist the old joke, what do you call a guy who hangs out with musicians? Ozzy Osbourne!

  2. I dont really care that much about the legal wranglings of bands in their fight for money , as a fan sabbath dropped the ball not having bill ward on the final tour no matter the reason , and I personally have always loved ozzy’s voice, it is one of the most original and identifiable voices in rock,
    I actually buy the argument that his voice helped make sabbath successful . I dont really know how creative ozzy’s is or how involved he is writing songs , but I would think he has to come up with some lyrics and creates the vocal melody….will be sad when ozzy’s officially calls it quits ~

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