Ozzy Osbourne and the legend of the bat

1982 was a year of incredible events: Italy won the World Cup, Michael Jackson’s best-selling album, Thriller, was released, I was born and Ozzy Osbourne bit the head of a live bat .

It was January 20, 1982, when the Prince of Darkness, the lord of Goth, the British Ozzy Osbourne gave life to this legend that is still remembered today … and about which he is still asked in practically every single interview!

Let’s find out how it really went almost 40 years after the event.


Long before becoming a reality show character, Ozzy Osbourne terrified masses of parents already in the grip of the so-called “Satanic Panic” as the Black Sabbath frontman.

The band’s music was loud; the album covers carried equally strong images, with monsters, angels of death and so on.

Even Ozzy’s behaviors weren’t particularly positive at the time, they were actually quite destructive. In fact in 1979, due to his erratic behavior, which was generally fueled by alcohol and drugs, he was kicked out of Black Sabbath and therefore decided to become a solo artist.

Three years later, Ozzy was on tour for his second solo album, Diary of a Madman. During the shows the musician continued to exploit this “diabolical” image of himself, which culminated in the infamous Des Moines show at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

The tour poster featured Ozzy with horns and a cape. Above his head are the words: “Just when you thought it was safe to go back to a concert.” (this sentence worries me a bit considering that we haven’t been to concerts for a year because of the pandemic …) However, the poster also warns fans that “it is not advisable to eat before the concert”.

Ozzy Osbourne and the bat, what happened?

News of the insanity that the Ozzy show would hold reached two Des Moines teens, Mark Neal and Carmen Kelly.

A couple of weeks before the show, Neal’s younger brother found a dead bat outside an elementary school, which was stored in a freezer.

Mark Neil had heard of an incident in which Osbourne bit the head of two living doves – in 1981 during a meeting with CBS Records – and thought bringing a bat to Ozzy’s concert would be cool.

During the night of the show, Neil slipped the bat into his pocket, found a spot close enough to the stage and threw it. The animal landed in front of bassist Rudy Sarzo, who nodded in agreement to Ozzy.

We leave the rest of “the legend of Ozzy Osbourne and the bat” to the Prince of Darkness himself: “… my mouth was instantly filled with this hot and slimy liquid, with the worst aftertaste you can ever imagine. I could feel it staining my teeth and running down my chin. ” Here’s how Ozzy decapitated a bat with one bite.

Ozzy Osbourne’s comments

Carmen Kelly and Mark Neal always claimed that the bat was dead; Ozzy instead claimed to have felt the animal’s head contract in his mouth.

He also added, “The name of the town of Des Moines is stamped into my head!”

Ozzy made about $ 39,000 to perform that night, the Des Moines Register archives say, but apparently he had to receive rabies injections for three weeks.

“Every night for the remainder of the tour I had to find a doctor and get multiple rabies vaccines: one each buttcheak, one each thigh, one each arm,” he wrote. “Everyone hurt like a bastard.” Ozzy also added “I’m sure the treatments have improved since 1982. I got to tell Sharon if you hear me bark, let’s start again!”

Speaking of cures, apparently according to Ozzy, the ancient Egyptians treated blindness with bat blood. In his book  Trust me, I’m Dr. Ozzy, he commented on this statement: “It makes sense, I guess, as bats have fabulous night vision. However, as one of the few on this planet that has actually swallowed bat blood, I can tell you that they have no special power, otherwise I would not have needed to have eye-surgery in 2010 “.

In the end, Ozzy did not turn into a dog and neither did he regain his sight, but he gave birth to a legend in the world of heavy metal

What about today?

It was obvious that after the bat’s “beheading” in 1982, these kinds of actions had a sequel.

Again it is Ozzy himself saying it all: “We had dead cats, birds, lizards, all kinds of things. At every concert, things got more and more crazy. Eventually people started throwing things on stage with nails and built-in razor blades – but mostly joke shop stuff, like rubber snakes and plastic spiders. “

Speaking of objects like toy snakes and spiders, in 2019, to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the event (weird story, weird number!) Ozzy brought out an object that is far from gloomy. This is a plush bat, as in Ozzy’s Instagram page  and on sale in his on-line shop: https://store.ozzy.com/products/plush-bat

The Zoa Studio team does not own the plush bat, but two tickets for the Ozzy concert. Initially scheduled for 2019, then for March 2020, it was finally postponed to February 8, 2022 for the reasons we all know.

Ozzy, hold on and don’t eat other animals of unknown origin, we have an appointment!



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