Ozzy Osbourne: Ordinary Man review – A star-studded and emotionally charged rock extravaganza
The Godfather of Heavy Metal isn’t covering Christy Moore’s 1985 hit Ordinary Man, and he certainly hasn’t gone folk on his first album in 10 years. However, the title of the track of his 10th solo album does feature Elton John on piano and vocals – taking a little break from his seemingly endless farewell tour – Slash and Duff McKagan from Guns N’ Roses, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith.
Of course, recent headlines about Ozzy have been all about Parkinson’s rather than his music, a condition he reportedly has been living with since 2003. The 71-year old singer has been at pains to stress that he is currently living with a strain of the disease (called Parkin) rather than dying of it, but the temptation remains to view this album as some sort of valedictory statement.
His voice still sounds remarkably good, that same familiar idiosyncratic quaver that made Black Sabbath one of the biggest and most influential bands on the planet, and who released and toured their final album, 13, in 2013.
Osbourne has been forced to cancel getting back in the ring to honour postponed touring commitments, but insists that he intends to play live again after receiving medical treatment for his condition.
While the songs are not premium Osbourne or Sabbath material, this star-studded and emotionally charged rock extravaganza, pristinely produced by his co-writer and guitarist Andrew Watt, still sounds urgent.