I Am Ozzy
Ah, Ozzy - the Iron Man. The miracle man is more like it. In his first autobiographical "I Am Ozzy," published in 2010, Ozzy Osbourne describes how he has beaten the odds many times in his colorful life.
Despite growing up as a troubled youth in the impoverished factory district of Aston in Birmingham, England, Osbourne became a worldwide music and television phenomenon and multi-millionaire. Osbourne beat the medical odds as well as the financial odds throughout his life, surviving a near fatal bus accident, an ATV accident that broke his neck, and over four decades of extreme abuse of tobacco, alcohol and every prescription and street drug he could get his hands on. Astoundingly, Osbourne is in very good health, and is feeling better than he has in his entire life of 62 years.
As Ozzy says, "when I was a kid, if you'd put me up against a wall with the others from my street and asked me which one of us was going to make it to the year 2009, which one of us would end up with five kids and four grandkids and houses in Buckinghamshire and California, I'd never have put any money on me."
Ozzy's is everyone's unlikely hero - the nowhere man who finds gold every time he steps in shit. "I Am Ozzy" is full of wonderful boy-beats-odds stories of his family, his childhood friends, his attempts at the blue collar life, and how he ended up as a rock vocalist with Black Sabbath. The entire book is written in the first person in a very conversational tone, as if Osbourne was sitting there puffing on a "fag" (British for cigarette) and telling you a good story. Osbourne's tales are very entertaining, and he tells them in a way that keeps you laughing throughout the book. He is truly a brilliant comedian - a self-professed clown who enjoys making people laugh.
In this book Osbourne shares several tasty facts with his audience, including why he hates the term heavy metal, which of Black Sabbath's hits was actually written in 20 minutes as a filler, what "NIB" really means, his favorite thing about America, his biggest regret, and which artist is his "rock-n-roll hero." He also shares stories that include classic rock heavyweights such as Led Zeppelin, Yes, Frank Zappa, Deep Purple and Motorhead. As icing on the literary cake, 72 glossy photos are included in the book, ranging from his youth to present day.
Co-author Chris Ayres did an excellent job organizing Osbourne's stories into this autobiographical page turner. Included in the accounts are first person re-creations of conversations with key characters, replete with words spelled to reflect the British, European and American accents of the players, making it a highly enjoyable read. It is also a great contextual dictionary of British vernacular, as Osbourne uses words like "pissed" to mean drunk, "bog" to mean toilet, "dodgy" to mean strange, and "bloke" to mean dude. It's hard not to speak like a Brit after reading a few chapters of this book.
Though Osbourne's life was filled with his share of trials and sadness, he keeps the tone light and positive in this book. He has managed to keep a very genuine and caring view on life, and has learned a lot over the years about the importance of being good to your fellow human beings. He never owns up to the "prince of darkness" persona given to him by the press and by record companies, except in the tongue in cheek manner of being a playful, funny man, on stage and off. What you see is what you get with Osbourne - even in his reality show "The Osbournes" on MTV he claims to have been himself at all times, good times and bad. Perhaps his frank, comical attitude toward life has contributed to the longevity of his life and of his career, and according to Osbourne, he has no plans to abandon his rock-n-roll endeavors anytime soon.
Osbourne plans to publish another book later this year titled "Ask Dr. Ozzy." The book will once again be co-written by Chris Ayres, and will be a spin-off of the singer's ongoing column in England's Sunday Times in which he offers medical advice. According to the publisher, the book will "tell incredible survival stories not found in his memoir, offer advice that no human should follow, and shed light on his seemingly superhuman ability to keep breathing." An October 2011 release is expected.