Why Ozzy Osbourne Landed A Bad Reputation In The Music World

To address the elephant in the room, the controversy discussed here was a result of the panic over heavy metal lyrics that was prevalent in the 1980s. As such, Ozzy Osbourne’s reputation may have been damaged momentarily, though that time, it was through no fault of his own.

Per Ultimate Guitar, Osbourne was sued in 1985 by the parents of John McCollum, a teenager who allegedly died by suicide after listening to the song “Suicide Solution,” a track from Ozzy’s 1980 solo debut album, “Blizzard of Ozz.” McCollum’s parents claimed that the song contained the lines “Why try? Get the gun and shoot!,” though  Osbourne and the song’s co-writer, bassist Bob Daisley, maintained that the second line was actually “get the flaps out,” with “flaps” being British slang for a woman’s reproductive organ (via Songfacts). Osbourne would later clarify that the tune was about the dangers of the self-destructive lifestyle he and his bandmates were living.

Ultimately, the court ruled in Ozzy’s favor, and his father-in-law and former manager, Don Arden, probably had the best reaction to the controversy: “To be perfectly honest, I would be doubtful as to whether Mr. Osbourne knew the meaning of the lyrics — if there was any meaning — because his command of the English language is minimal.”

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

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