Elvis Presley had millions of fans during his life and even after his death. They would flock to his Graceland mansion and estates. Just don’t count the Prince of Darkness among them.
Ozzy Osbourne once went and saw Elvis perform live during the 1970s at the LA Forum. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a pleasant experience for Osbourne. In his memoir “I Am Ozzy,” the singer recounted his bad concert experience and how that affected his view of Presley.
For one, Osbourne had horrible seats at the concert. And for two, Osbourne said Presley barely performed at his own concert.
“It was at the Forum in LA. We were so far up in the nose-bleeds, it seemed to take longer to get to our seats than it did for the King to do his set,” Osbourne wrote in the book. “[Presley] looked like an ant from where we were sitting. And I couldn’t get over the fact that his band played for ages before he came on. Then he did only a few numbers before he buggered off again. We were sitting there thinking, ‘Is that it?’ Then this voice came booming out over the Tannoy: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.’”
Osbourne didn’t get to see Presley in his prime. By the 1970s, a lifetime of fame and substance abuse problems began to take its toll on the singer. Osbourne, of course, is well acquainted with substance abuse and fame himself. But Presley experienced dramatic weight gain during this period and also poor health as well. Additionally, the singer faced public scrutiny as people began commenting on his appearance.
‘Lazy fat bas—d,’ I said, before remembering where I was,” Osbourne continued.
Ozzy Osbourne Also Learned From Elvis Presley
But Ozzy Osbourne didn’t have all bad things to say about Elvis Presley. While the concert may have been lacking musically, he realized that Presley’s team were expert marketers. Osbourne was at a venue surrounded by merchandising and money-making opportunities.
“It was an education, that gig. It was the first time I’d seen merchandising sold so professionally at a venue,” Osbourne wrote. “You could buy Elvis drinks coasters, Elvis bog-seat warmers, Elvis mug, and spoon sets, Elvis dolls, Elvis watches, Elvis jumpsuits. Anything you could think of, they’d put the name ‘Elvis’ on it and wanted to sell it to you with an Elvis Coke and an Elvis hot dog. And the fans seemed only too happy to buy itHe must have been the richest bloke on the planet.”
Osbourne adapted some of Presley’s marketing strategies into his own career.