Blizzard of Duets: 24 Times Ozzy Osbourne Sang With Somebody Else
Ozzy Osbourne has left an indelible mark on music -- from helping introduce heavy metal to the world with Black Sabbath through a multi-platinum solo career that has spanned four decades.
But in addition to churning out his own string of hits, the Prince of Darkness has often taken up the role of guest star on other artists' work. We've collected these guest appearances below for Blizzard of Duets: 23 Times Ozzy Osbourne Sang With Somebody Else.
Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne - "Close My Eyes Forever" (1988)
Taken from Ford's 1988 album Lita, "Close My Eyes Forever" spent 25 weeks on the Billboard chart, peaking at No. 8 in June 1989. In a 2014 interview with Esquire, Osbourne recalled the song coming together almost accidentally. "[Lita] was being managed by my wife," he explained. "I went to the studio and [the song] kinda half got written. So I went back to England the following week, and my wife phones me and says, 'You know that song you were writing?' And I go, 'What song?' She said, 'That song, Lita wants to come down and work it out with you.' So I fly back to L.A. and I do the song. ... I get on a plane, I go back to England, and then I get another phone call. It's my wife and she said, 'Can you come back out? She wants to do it with you.' I go, 'Do what?' And she goes, 'That fuckin' song!' I go, 'Okay,' and I record the song, go back to England again, and a couple weeks later, they want to do a video."
Gary Moore featuring Ozzy Osbourne - "Led Clones" (1989)
Osbourne lends his vocal talent to this not-so-subtle take-down of so-called Led Zeppelin wannabes from the late '80's. But the history between the two legends ran much deeper. In a 2018 interview with The Metal Voice, former Osbourne bassist Bob Daisley said Moore was actually Osbourne's first choice of guitarist when he was looking to put his solo band together. "When Ozzy was in Los Angeles after he got fired from Black Sabbath and he was thinking of putting a band together, his first choice was Gary Moore," he recalled. "Gary Moore didn't want to work with Ozzy because of Ozzy's reputation with drugs and booze, being unreliable and unprofessional. Gary said, 'I will help you find a guitarist, or if you find a guitarist that you want my opinion on, I will help you that way.'"
Ozzy Osbourne, Frank Bruno and Billy Connolly with Mike Batt and the London Philharmonic Orchestra - "The War Song of the Urpneys" (1990)
Definitely one of the most eclectic songs Osbourne's name is stamped on, "The War Song of the Urpneys" was originally found on the soundtrack to the animated British TV show The Dreamstone. While other versions of the song would later be released with different singers, the only time this specific version of the track played was in one particular episode of the program.
Bill Ward - "Bombers (Can Open Bomb Bays)" and "Jack's Land" (1990)
At the outset of 1990, Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward released his debut solo album, Ward One: Along the Way, on which Osbourne contributed two vocal tracks. The album featured a bevy of other guest stars, including late Cream bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Eric Singer.
Alice Cooper - "Hey Stoopid" (1991)
Alice Cooper was riding high as the '80s faded into the '90s, when his 1989 album, Trash, returned him to commercial success. No surprise that Cooper hoped to keep the hot streak burning with the follow-up LP, Hey Stoopid. Osbourne can be heard singing backing vocals on the album's title track, while Guns N' Roses' Slash and Joe Satriani duke it out for six-string supremacy.
Infectious Grooves - "Therapy" (1991)
Between his appearance on Alice Cooper's Hey Stoopid and preparing for the release of No More Tears in the latter part of 1991, Osbourne somehow found the time to sing on this Infectious Grooves single. The band's singer, Mike Muir, told SongFacts how an off-the-cuff remark resulted in Osbourne's appearance in the studio. "When we were doing the record and first started recording it, the producer said, 'What do you want to do on the chorus?' I said, 'I actually think it would be really cool if Ozzy sang on it.'" Muir said he was too shy to ask Osbourne to perform on the song, but he returned to the studio one day to find the legend there. "[Osbourne] goes, 'You have a song you want me to do?' I'm like, 'Uhhhhddduuuhhh.'"
Motorhead - "I Ain't No Nice Guy" (1992)
Throughout their careers, Motorhead singer and bassist Lemmy Kilmister and the Prince of Darkness were more than musical brothers in arms. "I Ain't No Nice Guy," which features Osbourne on backing vocals, is an uncharacteristically reflective song for the self-proclaimed loudest band in the world. The track might have caught loyal Motorhead fans off guard, but seeing how it followed Kilmister's writing contributions to Osbourne's No More Tears album, "I Ain't No Nice Guy" makes more sense.
Was (Not Was) - "Shake Your Head" (1992)
The original version of "Shake Your Head" was included on Was (Not Was)'s 1983 album Born to Laugh at Tornadoes; Osbourne later re-recorded his vocals for a 1992 remix featuring actress Kim Basinger. A pre-fame Madonna was initially tested for the original version, but she didn't make the cut. “[Madonna] sang really well, but l’ve always imagined the vocalist as extensions of ourselves and l couldn’t relate to female vocals being our voice," Don Was explained. The remixed version appeared on Was (Not Was)'s compilation LP Hello Dad ... I'm in Jail.
Therapy? with Ozzy Osbourne - "Iron Man" (1994)
Osbourne's pairing with Irish trio Therapy? was one of three appearances the singer made over the course of two Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath albums. Osbourne handles the lead vocals on this version of the classic "Iron Man," making it more of a collaboration than a mere guest-spot appearance.
Miss Piggy featuring Ozzy Osbourne - "Born to Be Wild" (1995)
Despite the near universal love for the Muppets, Osbourne not so flatteringly referred to this Steppenwolf cover, sung with Miss Piggy, as one of the worst collaborations he was a part of. "Sometimes [collaborations] work out okay, but I only do these things for a goof," he said. "I mean, believe me, I'm not a big Miss F--king Piggy fan! You know, you gotta be careful about what you do."
Crystal Method with DMX, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Ozzy Osbourne - "Nowhere to Run" (1998)
Only a TV show like South Park could bring the likes of Osbourne, electronic duo the Crystal Method and rappers DMX and Ol' Dirty Bastard together. Osbourne's appearance on the show, and the subsequent beheading of Kenny while onstage performing "Nowhere to Run," ranks as one of the long-running show's best musical moments.
Ringo Starr - "Vertical Man" (1998)
The former Beatle enlisted Osbourne to sing backing vocals on the title track of his 1998 album, Vertical Man. The song is almost a musical cousin to George Harrison's 1987 hit "When We Was Fab." Starr's LP was a star-studded affair that also boasted appearances by many heavyweights, including Joe Walsh and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.
Rick Wakeman featuring Ozzy Osbourne - "Buried Alive" (1999)
Just before the turn of the century, Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman recruited Osbourne to sing on the song "Buried Alive" for his 1999 album Return to the Centre of the Earth. Even though they may seem like strange bedfellows, the roots of their friendship actually run rather deep, dating back to when Yes supported Black Sabbath on tour in the early '70s. "Socially, Sabbath were much more my cup of tea than Yes were -- drinkers and hell-raisers who really loved their rock 'n' roll," Wakeman said. "I used to travel with Sabbath on their plane because we got on so well."
Coal Chamber - "Shock the Monkey" (1999)
Amid the hype of the nu-metal movement that dominated 20th century's final moments, Coal Chamber enlisted Osbourne to accompany them on this Peter Gabriel cover. In 1999, the band's frontman, Dez Fafara, told MTV, "We kept hearing Peter Gabriel and it sounded like Ozzy, or Ozzy sounded like Peter in it. And we said, 'Man, let's ask him,' and ... we found out that he was into it because he liked Peter Gabriel."
Wu-Tang Clan, Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi - "For Heaven's Sake 2000" (2000)
Featured on Loud Rocks, a compilation that teamed hip-hop artists with heavy rock acts, "For Heaven's Sake 2000" takes Wu-Tang Clan's original 1997 song and adds the muscle of Osbourne and Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi to the chorus. The song and album weren't received too enthusiastically; the Village Voice called the track one of the 50 worst songs of the '00s. Yikes.
Iommi featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward - "Who's Fooling Who" (2000)
It took Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi the better part of five years in the studio to finish his debut solo album. For "Who's Fooling Who," he recruited his old Sabbath bandmates Osbourne and drummer Bill Ward. The song recalls the band's ominous namesake track that heralded their arrival in 1970. Coincidence? As monumental as this reunion was, Osbourne later stated he wasn't necessarily all that fond of working with the guitarist, but his love for Iommi as a person was unwavering.
Busta Rhymes featuring Ozzy Osbourne - "This Means War" (2000)
Included on 2000's Nativity in Black II: A Tribute to Black Sabbath, "This Means War" first appeared on Busta Rhymes' 1998 album E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event) and found the rapper rhyming original lyrics over Sabbath's "Iron Man." The rapper told MTV he found inspiration in "Iron Man"'s words: "The intensity, the drive, the dominance, just the whole energy in the music is the effect that I always want to have when I'm making my records or when I'm performing." While Rhymes has a firm grip on the song's verses, it's Osbourne's performance on the bridge that lends an air of familiarity to the track.
Rob Zombie - "Iron Head" (2001)
Not long after the release of his second solo album, The Sinister Urge, Rob Zombie told KNAC that he didn't write "Iron Head" with Osbourne in mind. "Actually, it was the exact opposite," he said. "I sang the parts myself and hadn’t thought about it. I thought that somehow the song didn’t seem special enough. Somehow I thought that the song wasn’t as good as it should be, and I had been talking to Ozzy a lot and working on stuff for the tour, and someone was like, 'Why don’t you just get Ozzy to fucking do it?' It was like duh. Sometimes you don’t think of the obvious ideas."
Black Label Society - "Stillborn" (2003)
Even though Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wylde bowed out of Osbourne's solo band in the mid '90s, they remained close, which no doubt played a part in the legendary singer's contribution to this single from The Blessed Hellride. It's clear Wylde picked up some vocal tips from his boss over the years they worked together, especially in "Stillborn"'s chorus, which features Osbourne. In a 2018 interview with Guitar World, Osbourne had nothing but praise for Wylde and his abilities with the six-string. "I know that I can be anywhere in the world at any time, and if my guitar player disappears, I can phone Zakk and he’ll be on the next plane," he said.
Mountain - "Masters of War" (2007)
Leslie West and Corky Laing revived the Mountain band name for 2007's Masters of War, an album comprised exclusively of Bob Dylan covers. Osbourne was one of just two guests on the record (the other was Gov't Mule's Warren Haynes). Incidentally, a 2014 poll by the BBC ranked both Osbourne's and Dylan's lyrics as being among the most difficult to decipher.
Alice Cooper - "Wake the Dead" (2008)
Almost 20 years after they first teamed up on Cooper's song "Hey Stoopid," Osbourne returned to the studio to lend his talent to this song from Cooper's 2008 conceptual album Along Came a Spider. He provides backing vocals on the track and also reportedly plays harmonica.
Slash featuring Ozzy Osbourne - "Crucify the Dead" (2010)
Slash's self-titled 2010 album, the first to be released under just his name, included a guest list that outnumbered the amount of songs. The guitarist told Revolver that working with Osbourne on "Crucify the Dead" was a huge thrill from both fan and peer perspectives. "I've obviously been a fan since I was a kid, so it was great," he said. "And even though I've known him for a while and I've jammed with him at gigs and stuff, it was a whole different experience sitting next to him while he was working out his lyrics and singing into the microphone at the control board. It's that voice that you've been hearing for most of your life, you know?"
Post Malone featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott - "Take What You Want" (2019)
Rapper Post Malone said during a 2019 interview that Osbourne told him his contribution to "Take What You Want" was his “favorite” since his original run with Black Sabbath. Malone thought the track was “a big deal" too. “I think he crushed it,” he said of Osbourne's performance. Still, some of Post Malone's fans were baffled at who exactly Osbourne was and commended the rapper for helping shine a light on "unknown artists."
Ozzy Osbourne featuring Elton John - "Ordinary Man" (2020)
The title track to Osbourne's 2020 Ordinary Man album is a duet with Elton John, who had originally been hired to play piano on the mid-tempo, Beatlesesque track. But after John had laid down his part, producer Andrew Watt came up with the idea of having him sing on it, too. John agreed. A string section was later added at London's Abbey Road Studios.