Sharon Osbourne Reveals Black Sabbath Member She Thought Wasn’t a Good Fit

by Caitlin Berard

For 11 years, Ozzy Osbourne served as the frontman and vocalist for the legendary heavy metal band Black Sabbath. In 1979, however, the iconic singer’s substance abuse issues became too much for the band to handle and he was replaced by Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio.

Though Dio was, and will always be, an icon of heavy metal in his own right, Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne were synonymous to the band’s devoted fans. Not to mention, Ozzy’s vocal style is far different from Dio’s, leading to a completely different sound for the already well-established metal band.

And in Sharon Osbourne‘s opinion, the shift in style wasn’t a positive one. “They had two hit albums,” Sharon explained in an interview on the Wild Ride! with Steve-O podcast. “They did, they had two good hit albums, they had two good tours together. Then it was, the band were fighting. There was a lot of fighting in the band with Ronnie.”

“Ronnie had a great voice,” she continued. “But to change a band that had a kind of bluesy type vocal, real gritty bluesy vocal to a rock opera vocal, it was so different. I always looked at Ronnie as a Rock opera-type singer. Ozzy had such a bluesy voice, I never got it.”

Hearing someone as entrenched in heavy metal as Sharon Osbourne say they “never got” Ronnie James Dio is a bit blasphemous. But for Sharon Osbourne, it wasn’t that Dio was bad, it was just that the shift in tone was too jarring.

Outside of Black Sabbath, she had a higher opinion of the beloved musician. “He’s good,” Sharon amended. “On his own, Dio’s great.”

Ronnie James Dio’s Wife Reveals Black Sabbath Fans Rejected Him

Ronnie James Dio is an irreplaceable piece of heavy metal history. He’s single-handedly responsible for creating metal horns, the hand signal metal fans and musicians around the world use to this day. The amount of respect he commands in the metal community is immeasurable.

But two things can be true at once. And even though Ronnie James Dio will forever be hailed as a titan and founder of heavy metal, fans had a hard time accepting him as the leading man of Black Sabbath.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with holding a negative opinion about Dio’s run with Black Sabbath. Some fans, however, took it too far. In an interview with Danny Stoakes, Dio’s wife and longtime manager, Wendy, recalled just how difficult it was for the legend of heavy metal.

“I’ve always said: there’s Black Sabbath [with Ozzy] and there’s Black Sabbath [with Ronnie],” Wendy said. “And they’re both as good. One is not better than the other; it’s just they’re different – they’re totally different.”

“I mean, Ozzy was an innovator,” she explained. “And that’s music that was the innovations of the start of heavy metal, and I would never put that down. But Ronnie made a difference; he was different. He was more melodic, his songs were different, his stage performance was different.”

“But it was very hard,” Wendy recalled. “He got spat on and he got booed and a lot of things in the beginning. But Ronnie, he carried on and did his thing. And then I think the kids started to really accept him. And, in fact, some kids I talk to don’t even know about Black Sabbath before Heaven and Hell, but that’s the younger generation.”