- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 25 January 2022, 11:31AM
One of the most infamous days of Ozzy Osbourne's career came on March 27, 1981, when he bit the heads off of two white doves during a business meeting with his record label.
Ozzy and his then-manager and future wife Sharon Arden dropped by Epic Records' annual sales meeting to "make nice" after some rocky months with the label.
The Prince of Darkness was supposed to deliver a brief speech and punctuate it by releasing the three doves in a grand gesture of peace. Unfortunately, Ozzy was extremely drunk at the time (even by his standards) and not very interested in the business being discussed.
He later recalled pulling the stunt with the two doves just to shut up a publicist who was boring him. After spitting the head of the second dove onto the table, Ozzy was thrown out of the building.
Bassist Rudy Sarzo had just recently joined Ozzy's live band around this time and was staying with Sharon's family. He encountered Ozzy later that same day on the Arden property.
"I was hanging out and waiting to do the rehearsals, and I bump into Ozzy and he tells me the whole dove story that had just happened," Sarzo recalled to Yahoo! "And as we were talking, I see that his jacket is flapping. I go, 'What's that?' And he puts his hand in his pocket, pulls out another bird, looks at it and he just goes and bites the head off again — right in front of me! I gross-out, and he just laughs and keeps walking."
While the bird-biting fiasco went on to ignite Ozzy's solo career, at the time the former Black Sabbath frontman had every reason to believe he had sabotaged his career for the last time.
Sarzo, who doesn't believe Ozzy could have gotten away with the same stunt today, admits he had no idea how to react to the private display.
"Randy [Rhoads] had been there for about a year and a half, so he mentored me and said, 'Listen, don't take it personal. This is the way they do things.' And so I rolled with it because I had never experienced anything like it before. I thought, 'OK, all the bands at this level must have this, um, unusual behavior,'" Sarzo says he reasoned.
He later found out that, "No, no — it just happens to be Ozzy."
And that wasn't even the last time Sarzo watched Ozzy dismember an animal with his teeth. Sarzo was onstage with Ozzy the following year in Des Moines, Iowa, when Ozzy bit the head off a dead bat that had been thrown onto the stage.
Ozzy, who became a spokesman for PETA in 2020, isn't proud of the bird-biting today. He maintains that he only sunk his teeth into the bat in '82 because he thought it was fake. He regretted it instantly, and was quickly treated for rabies afterwards.