Sharon Osbourne, wife of Brummie rocker Ozzy, may have been usurped on the X Factor jury by Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole, but that shows no sign of putting a dent in the Osbourne coffers.
Equally Ozzy – despite pushing 60 – is not about to leave the rock and roll lifestyle behind, continuing to tour and sell records – though he does admit to enjoying a cup of Yorkshire tea first thing in the morning. Ozzy has proved that he can still do it musically. His first new studio album for six years – Black Rain – was an immediate success and stormed to No 3 in US album charts.
He did his annual Ozzfest tour in the summer – linking up with rock legends Metallica in Dallas. In fact he’s been taking the States by storm with both Black Sabbath and his own backing band. He’s just been awarded “Living Legend” status at the Marshall Classic Rock Roll of Honour awards. He’s also been wowing audiences in Australia and New Zealand.And he was host to the Monsters of Rock festival in Calgary. Some of the dates on his tour were used to raise money for colon cancer treatment via the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer charity. She won her own battle against the disease a few years ago. Ozzy’s company, Monowise, has a turnover of more than £4 million and is doing nicely, boosted by his touring and his new album. Sharon continues to boost the Osbourne fortune with TV advertising deals and appearances, including her stint on the US X Factor jury.
It’s all a long way from Ozzy’s childhood in Lodge Road, Aston, born into a poverty stricken family with six children. Bullied at school and suffering learning difficulties, he found refuge in music, and Black Sabbath was born.
His big leap from rock star to celebrity came in 2002 when he became the unlikely star of an MTV reality TV series The Osbournes.
The series, based on the unconventional domestic life of Ozzy and his family, ran for three years and became one of MTV’s greatest hits. Son Jack – once a fabled wild child with an admitted taste for chemical substances – has put all that behind him and now enjoys a very active lifestyle of extreme sports and pastimes, as well as becoming an accomplished TV presenter.
He may live on a huge Buckinghamshire estate and have homes in Beverly Hills and Malibu, but Ozzy is still Birmingham’s favourite rocker.