Is Ozzy Osbourne’s Music Heavy Metal?

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the metal music pioneer’s work and how it has influenced the genre over the years.


Ozzy Osbourne is a British musician, songwriter, and television personality. He rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, during which he adopted the nickname “Prince of Darkness”. After leaving Black Sabbath in 1979, Osbourne embarked on a successful solo career, releasing 11 studio albums, the first seven of which were awarded multi-platinum certifications in the United States. Osbourne has since reunited with Black Sabbath on several occasions. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Black Sabbath in 2006 and as a solo artist in 2020.

Ozzy Osbourne’s music has been described as heavy metal, hard rock, and rock and roll. While there is no one definitive answer to this question, we can explore some of the factors that may contribute to why his music is classified as heavy metal.

What is heavy metal?

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre’s lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

In 1968, three British bands—Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple— debuted with a heavy blues-rock sound that would be come to be defined as “metal”. Though they drew equally from American blues and rock music, these bands added a heavier sound characterized by amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, and emphatic beats. Sabbath’s Tony Iommi made use of palm-muted power chords and downtuned his guitars to give them a “denser” sound. Deep Purple producer Derek Lawrence innovative use of reverberation gave their debut album Shade a “live” quality. Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones used effects pedals to create textural sounds.

Ozzy Osbourne’s music

Ozzy Osbourne’s music is often classified as heavy metal, but this classification is not strictly accurate. While Osbourne’s music does have some elements of heavy metal, it also incorporates elements of other genres, such as hard rock and punk rock. As a result, classifying Osbourne’s music as heavy metal is somewhat misleading.

Other artists often classified as heavy metal

Other artists often classified as heavy metal include Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. These bands have all influenced Ozzy’s musical style.


After careful consideration of the evidence, it seems clear that Ozzy Osbourne’s music is not, in fact, heavy metal. While some of his early work with Black Sabbath may be classified as such, his solo career has strayed significantly from that sound. Instead, Osbourne’s music can best be described as hard rock with elements of heavy metal.

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