When Eddie Van Halen Invited Ozzy Osbourne to Sing in Van Halen
“He phoned me up one time, asked me if I wanted to sing in his band,” Osbourne explained during a conversation on SiriusXM’s Ozzy Speaks.
Though he didn’t give a specific timeline about when this conversation happened, Osbourne noted it was “way after Sammy [Hagar's]” tenure in the band. He also acknowledged that Van Halen may not have fully thought his offer through. “I think he was a bit drunk,” Osbourne admitted. “We’ve all done one of them calls at four o’clock in the morning. 'I’ve got a great idea!'"
According to Osbourne keyboardist Don Airey, Ozzy wanted an opener who wouldn't upstage his band. “Sabbath had done a tour for a year with Kiss as his foreband and it nearly killed him because Kiss had been so good,” Airey told the Highway Star in 2004. “And he said, ‘We're never doing that again. Next tour, we just want a bar band from LA. That's all we want.’"
To Osbourne's shock, Van Halen were more than just a bar band. "He got to the first gig. Ozzy said they walked in as ‘Eruption’ was going on," Airey remembered. "Ozzy said, ‘We just went into the dressing room. We sat there going, 'That was incredible.' And we sat there like this, and then it finished, and we were just too stunned to speak.'"
During his recent SiriusXM appearance, Osbourne’s reverence for Eddie Van Halen was obvious: “You think you’ve seen it all, then out of the blue, somebody comes out with such a revolutionized way of playing. To watch Eddie play, his hands would turn into a spider. He always made it look so easy.”
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