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21 Years Ago: Ozzy Osbourne ‘Retires’

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Ozzy Osbourne’s lofty career achievements and shocking controversial episodes were known to almost anyone who loved and kept up on music throughout the ’80s, so when the notorious singer announced he intended to retire from rock and roll on November 15, 1992, people listened!

On the occasion, Osbourne wrapped up his purposefully named “No More Tours” retirement jaunt (a pun based on the title of his most recent solo album, ‘No More Tears’) by performing the second of two shows that featured him both solo and alongside his long estranged Black Sabbath band mates, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward, to massive media hype and mega-thrills for thousands of fans who packed the Pacific Amphitheater, in Costa Mesa, California.

But it wasn’t very long before Osbourne had changed his mind, pronouncing he was “already bored with retirement” just days later. This paved the way for an eventual return to both the studio and concert stage — not to mention a surprise move into TV, via ‘The Osbournes,’ a reality show that made him a household name far outside of the rock world.

So what the heck happened? Did Ozzy really change his mind that fast, or was the entire retirement announcement and tour just a publicity stunt meant to sell more albums and concert tickets?

And what of the havoc it wreaked upon Black Sabbath, which had been on the comeback trail in ’92, after reuniting with Osbourne’s first replacement, Ronnie James Dio, for the ‘Dehumanizer’ album and tour — until Iommi and Butler’s decision to perform on Ozzy’s farewell dates drove an enraged Dio out of the picture, once again?

(As fans will recall, Judas Priest legend, Rob Halford, stepped in at the last second to sing a set with Black Sabbath prior to Ozzy’s performance on those two farewell concerts.)

If you wanted to get ‘Paranoid’ — see what we did there? — you might even start to wonder if the idea to reunite Osbourne, Iommi, Butler and Ward for Ozzy’s final shows was a ploy to utterly derail the Black Sabbath brand, just as it was returning to respectability, and ensure it would not threaten the supremacy of Ozzy’s solo career. Nahh…. that’s crazy, right?

In any case, we’re still waiting for Osbourne’s retirement, and hopefully will be for a very long time.

Next: Hilariously Bad First Concerts

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