Music07 Oct 2009 07:17 pm
Self-proclaimed “Prince of Darkness” Ozzy Osbourne, former lead singer of the Heavy Metal Band Black Sabbath, came under intense fire from Christian activist groups for his dark music and stage antics, which they believed portrayed images of devil worship. Osbourne denied these accusations, claiming that his stage acts were “done in good fun” and performed for shock value only. In fact, Osbourne claims to be a faithful Anglican and has been quoted as saying that he prays before all of his performances.
On October 26, 1984, nineteen-year-old California teenager John McCollum fatally shot himself while listening to the Ozzy Osbourne album, Blizzard of Oz, which contained the song, “Suicide Solution” on it. McCollum’s parents subsequently sued Osbourne, alleging that the lyrics of the song had convinced their son to commit suicide, despite the fact that their son had suffered from clinical depression. The attorney for the McCollum’s even went so far as to assert that Osbourne should be charged criminally for enticing a teenager into committing suicide.
Osbourne defended himself by testifying that the song “Suicide Solution” was actually written about the horrors of alcohol abuse; he wanted to urge caution to his listeners, after he witnessed a close friend drink himself into an early grave. This explanation is borne out by the lyrics:
Wine is fine but whiskeys quicker
Suicide is slow with liquor
Take a bottle and drown your sorrows
Then it floods away tomorrows
Evil thoughts and evil doings
Cold, alone you hang in ruins
Thought that you’d escape the reaper
You cant escape the master keeper
cause you feel like you’re living a lie
Such a shame who’s to blame and you’re wondering why
Then you ask from your cask us there life after birth
What you sow can mean hell on this earth
Now you live inside a bottle
The reapers traveling at full throttle
Its catching you but you don’t see
The reaper is you and the reaper is me
Breaking laws, knocking doors
But there’s no one at home
Made your bed, rest your head
But you lie there and moan
Where to hide, suicide is the only way out
Don’t you know what its really about
Despite the heightened emotionality and media frenzy surrounding the case, the Court ultimately ruled in Osbourne’s favor, on the grounds that the McCollum’s death was not a foreseeable result of Osbourne’s song. Amazingly, Osbourne was sued AGAIN in 1991, by the parents of Michael Waller, for encouraging their son’s suicide. Luckily for Osbourne and champions of freedom of speech, the court again ruled in his favor and the case against him was dismissed.
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