Not much was expected from Ozzy Osbourne after he was fired from Black Sabbath in 1979, ostensibly because of his substance abuse. His comeback is one of most remarkable rebirths in music history. With the help of manager and future wife Sharon Arden, Ozzy got back on his feet, putting the Ozzy Osbourne Band back together as The Blizzard of Ozz. The key to it all was Randy Rhoads, a young guitarist who flashed considerable technical ability and was full of fresh ideas. Together with drummer Lee Kerslake, bassist/lyricist Bob Daisley, and keyboardist Don Airey, the group recorded Blizzard of Ozz, credited as Osbourne’s debut solo album, according to record company wishes. It became the first multi-platinum album of the ‘80s to achieve that status without the benefit of a Top 40 single, although “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley” would become metal classics. Diary of a Madman followed in 1981, and it was another smash hit. Then, tragedy struck, as Rhoads died in a plane crash. Despite his depression over Rhoads’s death, Osbourne continued to tour, settling on future Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis as Rhoads’s replacement. In 1983, Osbourne found a new guitarist, Jake E. Lee, and released Bark at the Moon, an album which has sold three million copies in the U.S. Through various lineup changes and bouts of chemical dependency, Osbourne’s experienced sustained commercial success through the ‘90s with LPs such as No Rest for the Wicked, No More Tears, and Ozzmosis. With help from wife Sharon, Ozzy also created Ozzfest in the ‘90s. The touring heavy-metal festival was a massive money-maker, and in the early 2000s, Ozzy reinvented himself as a reality-television star with the MTV show “The Osbournes.” In recent years, he has reunited with Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler in Black Sabbath, and new album is due out in 2013. Items featuring authentic Ozzy Osbourne or Randy Rhoads signatures, including guitars, vinyl records, posters and photos, can go for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Memorabilia from the Randy Rhoads era – such as concert tickets, tour programs, t-shirts and other items – is highly sought-after by collectors. Vintage pins, Ozzy magazine covers, toys and other merchandise, decals, and many posters can be inexpensive choices, depending on condition and rarity.
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