Friday was the 30th anniversary of the mistake that came to define one of the weirdest men in rock and roll history. On January 20, 1982 a fan in Des Moines, Iowa, threw a live bat onstage. Osbourne, claiming he thought the bat was a rubber toy, bit off the little critter’s head.
Now, Ozzy Osbourne was already famous in 1982, thanks to spending the 70s with Black Sabbath. But the bat-biting? That made him an icon.
The stunt has largely been written off as a wild myth. Did Ozzy think it was real? Did the fan throw a dead bat? Is Iowa chock-full of weirdos?
The myth birthed little baby myths, not the least of which was Ozzy biting the head off a dove in the office of his record label. Obsourne has spent the last 30 years vascillating between ignoring the myth (implictly giving it cred) and amping it up. He even claimed in his memoirs that he required a series of rabies shots from the bat biting back. The rest of his general Ozzy-ness has helped fuel the idea that this is a man capable of chewing on little furry creatures: tats, drugs, literally pissing on The Alamo mere weeks after Bat Day, calling himself “The Prince of Darkness.”