(Credits: Far Out / Sony Music Entertainment)
Former Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne might be the king of heavy metal, but his music taste is eclectic and goes well beyond the realms of the genre he calls home. For many years, he’s appreciated the work of Elton John and once revealed his favourite song by the legendary musician.
The Beatles were responsible for making Osbourne fall in love with music, transforming his life and providing him with a blueprint. Upon first hearing the Fab Four, his mind expanded, and the discovery put him on the path he followed with Black Sabbath. Although Osbourne went on to make a significantly different brand of music, Ozzy can appreciate powerful art of all kinds.
Once Elton John established himself as a leading talent in the 1970s, Osbourne was already a famous name in his own right. Despite being two of the most recognisable figures in British music for several decades, it took until 2020 for the duo to finally bring their unique talents to combine on Ozzy’s solo track ‘Ordinary Man’.
The ballad, which appears on Osbourne’s album of the same name, features an all-star cast. Besides a contribution from John, Guns N’ Roses members Slash and Duff McKagan, along with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, played parts on the track.
Osbourne said of the song: “It all just came together. When I was writing ‘Ordinary Man,’ it reminded me of an old Elton song, and I said to Sharon, ‘I wonder if he would sing on it?’ We asked, and lo and behold, he agreed and sings and plays piano on the song.”
Years earlier, Osbourne had confessed his love for John when he included ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ among his list of ten favourite songs of all time for Rolling Stone in 2004. Keeping his analysis of the track short and sweet, he noted: “Great melody, lyrics. Great song. I love Elton John!”
The track in question is the titular effort from John’s most famous album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. At this stage in his career, Elton and his longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin had cultivated a hit machine which had successfully taken their songs from tiny clubs to Madison Square Garden. John had become an unlikely superstar, with the LP selling more than 30 million copies worldwide.
Exploring the personal lyrical message of the song, Taupin said in 2014: “The lyrics to the title track do say that I want to leave Oz and get back to the farm. I think that’s still my M.O. these days. I don’t mind getting out there and doing what everybody else was doing, but I always had to have an escape hatch”.
‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ encapsulates the magnificence of John’s partnership with Taupin and captures the duo at the peak of their powers. Furthermore, the pop masterpiece continues to connect with millions and will retain a special place in Osbourne’s heart until he draws his final breath.