Some of the earliest classic Black Sabbath albums have been re-released on vinyl in the past year. Do you like vinyl?
Oh yes. I have a son from a previous marriage, and he buys vinyl. And my business manager in London has a million pounds worth of vinyl! It's a big investment. He's got every No. 1 since the charts began, and they're all pristine. I'm like, "How are you going to have the time to play all this shit?" I remember we used to have "car boot" sales — these car trunk sales where somebody would want to get rid of their record collection and you'd go buy the lot for $25.
When you first got this [S+V gives Ozzy the self-titled Black Sabbath LP to hold], how did you feel?
[Ozzy opens it and looks at the gatefold.] Back then, when you got an album in your hands, it was f---ing awesome. Even to be allowed to do a gatefold cover was an amaz- ing thing. We were blown away. I remember taking a copy home to my mom and saying, "Look, mom, I've made a record!" My father thought we'd be a bit more "musical," of course [grins]. When we first heard the playback with the bells, the thunder, and all the effects, we were like, "F---ing hell!"
It must be nice to see how people still respond to it. It's a very intense record.
I know! When people come up to me to talk about the first Black Sabbath album, I have to pinch myself. It was 40 years ago. We thought we'd only be around a couple of weeks! We were four guys from Birmingham who had an idea that worked better than anything we could have imagined. You could say I've survived a lot of fads and fashions.
You never went trendy. You've been on pretty much the same path.
There's a lot of luck, you know. When I describe my success to people, the answer is, "I don't know." Well, okay, I am honest. I am honest about my mistakes, I own up to them.
One thing that has stood out to me as a consistent thread through all of your material is your sense of melody as a songwriter, and that comes through thanks to your love of the Beatles.
They had great harmonies, great melodies. I've met McCartney a few times, and he's a f---ing great guy. I have such great respect.
Do you feel conscious of their influence on you as a songwriter?
I always got a great feeling listening to their melodies. People ask me if I listen to new music, and the thing is, new music for me is not new music unless it does something I haven't heard or played before. My other thing is: If it still sounds as good now as it did when you first heard it, it?s gotta be good.
When Sabbath recorded the song "Paranoid? in 1970, you did it rather quickly to have a single. And you improvised along with Tony's guitar line while writing it. The other day, when I heard "Get Back," which has a similar gallop, I thought, "Wow, there's a lineage between those two songs."
That?s a very interesting thing to hear! The Beatles did give me the gift of melody, you know. I mean, I didn't want to be like ELO [laughs], though that's certainly quite good stuff. You'll hear the Beatles in a lot of other things of mine.
I can remember walking around the streets of Birmingham, proud, with a Beatles record sleeve under my arm. I bought those Beatles boots, and one of those cheap wigs [laughs]. It wasn?t even hair — it was a plastic f---ing cap. I had it all, man.
Now there’s a photo I'd like to see: Ozzy wearing a Beatles wig in 1965 or 1966.
I would, too, man! I would, too.
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