When the folks at Eagle Rock Entertainment released the documentary “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne” on DVD and Blu-Ray in November, the holiday season had to be on their minds, and not just for the obvious reasons. Sure, they were probably banking on the fact that it would sell like hotcakes before Christmas. But given Ozzy’s hard-partying reputation, they probably also thought he’d make the perfect companion for those staying indoors on New Year’s Eve.
“God Bless” is a fairly comprehensive look at his life and career, starting with his less-than-affluent upbringing in gritty Birmingham, England, and continuing with his years as Black Sabbath’s frontman, subsequent solo career and brief stint as a reality-television star on MTV’s “The Osbournes.” Much of the history is well known – his addictions to drugs and alcohol; the time he ripped the head off a live dove [and a bat too!– ed]; the tragic death of his guitarist and friend Randy Rhoads – but he spent so much time in the fast lane that his story remains jaw-dropping. It is utterly stunning that Ozzy is still alive.
A number of famous fans – including Henry Rollins, Tommy Lee and Ozzy’s own idol Sir Paul McCartney – share their insights, as do his friends and family members. The candid interviews with his five children are particularly jarring, and daughter Kelly’s heartfelt tribute to his current sobriety (he’s been clean for about five years) is so genuine that it might be worth the price of the disc. A trip to his childhood home with wife/manager Sharon is similarly poignant.
Shot over a period of more than two years, the documentary is a tale of redemption about a man who overcame his demons and found inner peace. Ozzy might no longer be the life of the party, but you come away with the feeling that he has indeed been blessed.