From poverty to rock stardom: Inside Ozzy Osbourne’s rough-and-tumble youth

When talking about rock and roll history, few names loom as large as that of Ozzy Osbourne. The iconic Black Sabbath frontman has left an indelible mark on the music industry – but his story could have taken a much different turn.

Ozzy actually contemplated suicide several times when he was a young teenager, because of some terrible things that happened to him when he was a child.

Iconic, resilient, and a legendary rockstar.

Ozzy Osbourne is known for many things, and there are probably few people on the planet who don’t recognize his name, his round glasses, or his striking appearance. But few may have as good idea of what shaped the wild rock star, and the tough circumstances from which he emerged.

Osbourne’s journey to superstardom began in the gritty streets of Birmingham, England, where he was born into poverty in 1948. Raised in a working-class family, young Ozzy faced numerous challenges from an early age.

Ozzy Osbourne signs copies of his album “Patient Number 9” at Fingerprints Music on September 10, 2022 in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Both of Ozzy’s parents worked in factories, with his mother on day shifts and his father on night shifts. His dad was “one of those guys who’d go to work if he’d been in a car accident, if his house had been blown up.”

While the Osbournes maintained a quiet, honest lifestyle, they struggled financially. The Black Sabbath star grew up with three older sisters and two younger brothers, in a small two-bedroom home. According to Ozzy, the atmosphere at home was tough. There was a lack of warmth both physically and emotionally.

When asked if he was able to tell his parents that he loved them, Ozzy replied: “No, never. My parents never told me they loved me. That wasn’t a thing you did in our house. If I’d told my sister I loved her I’d have had the piss taken out of me.”

Facebook / Ozzy Osbourne

Despite their hard work, the family found it difficult to make ends meet. Ozzy’s parents couldn’t afford a car, and meals were often a challenge. Once, the charismatic s singer revealed that his family had to use coats as sheets and lacked indoor plumbing.

“The bedroom I had back then was no bigger than two single beds side by side. There was no inside toilet. There was a bucket to pee in at the end of the bed. We had an outside toilet where you’d go to go for a dump. We didn’t have toilet paper, we had newspaper. We didn’t have soap and water. I had a lot of shame as a kid because I always felt dirty, I always felt unclean, I felt like a peasant,” Ozzy recalled.

Ozzy and his siblings didn’t have a holiday until he was 14.



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”And that was to Sunderland to stay with an aunt. I saw the ocean and I thought, f*** that,” he recalled in an interview with Evening Standard.

Sadly, Ozzy suffered at school as well. In an interview with The Daily Mirror, he said that he was sexually molested repeatedly as a child and suffered emotional effects from the abuse long into adulthood. According to the singer, it two older youths that began abusing him and it started when Ozzy was 11. Tragically, it continued on a regular basis and he didn’t dare to tell his parents about it.

”Everything when you  are a kid affects you later in life. If you build a wall with rocky foundations you are going to have pretty unstable wall when it’s finished,” Ozzy told The Daily Mirror in 2003.

Osbourne left school at the age of 15, the abuse made it hard to continue. Also, his dyslexia made academic pursuits difficult.

“I am terribly dyslexic and have attention-deficit disorder, so I have to carry a tape recorder everywhere I go. Also, if I get a melody in my head, I have to record it straightaway,” Osbourne has said.

Back in the 1960s, the only path available for a working-class boy with poor grades was either to secure a job at the factory or to become a craftsman of some sort. However, Ozzy didn’t find much success in the conventional job market – and God knows he tried. As a young man, he worked as a construction site laborer, a trainee plumber, an apprentice toolmaker, a car factory horn-tuner, and even at a slaughterhouse.

Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath. (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)

Working at the slaughterhouse was the only job that seemed to suit Ozzy, at least according to him. There, he was tasked with euthanizing cows using a bolt gun.

”I was a natural at killing animals,” he once joked.

Unfortunately, Ozzy eventually found himself involved in criminal activities and was arrested for burglary. Since his father refused to pay any fines on his behalf, Ozzy ended up in prison, serving a six-week-sentence at Winston Green Prison.

Despite these obstacles, Osbourne found solace in music.

“When you’re in a place full of bad people, it’s a bit of an education,” said the rock ‘n roll singer. “They don’t want to kill you, they want to have sex with a young boy with long auburn hair. One month in jail was long enough. My father didn’t pay the fines because he wanted to teach me a lesson. It taught me a lesson in the respect that after six weeks in prison, I knew I didn’t want to go back. And I just didn’t want to work in a factory. The only thing I had a passion for was music.”

Even behind bars, his love for music never wavered. Following his time in jail, Osbourne committed himself to pursuing music full-time.

Young Ozzy Osbourne.
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Drawn to the raw energy and rebellious spirit of rock and roll, he immersed himself in the burgeoning music scene of the 1960s. In late 1967, Osbourne joined forces with guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward to form the pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath. The band’s dark, ominous sound struck a chord with audiences worldwide, propelling them to international fame and cementing their place in rock history.

Despite achieving unparalleled success with Black Sabbath, Osbourne’s journey was far from over. In the 1980s, he embarked on a solo career that would further solidify his status as a rock legend. Hits like “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley” showcased his distinctive vocal style and charismatic stage presence, earning him legions of devoted fans around the globe.

Beyond his musical accomplishments, Osbourne has also found fulfillment in his personal life. Despite the ups and downs, he has remained a devoted husband to his wife Sharon and a loving father to their children. In recent years, he has embraced his role as a doting grandfather, cherishing precious moments with his growing family.



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In 2023, Ozzy Osbourne made headlines after canceling his comeback tour, months after his ongoing health issues forced him to announce his retirement from touring.

Over the past several years Ozzy, 75, has dealt with numerous health issues –Parkinson’s diagnosis, neck surgery, a fall in the bathroom, two staph infections, blood clots, and more.

Since his last tour in 2018, Ozzy has only performed twice at live events. Health issues have led to a series of tour cancellations since 2019, including the recent Power Trip Festival withdrawal.


Despite facing adversity, including a difficult childhood, struggles with addiction, and brushes with the law, Ozzy has continued to persevere and thrive as a legendary figure in the world of rock and heavy metal.

We hope that Ozzy gets his health issues sorted out and that we might see him on stage in the future!

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