The 25 Most Important People in Metal: #5, Sharon Osbourne
As much as metal is a genre of music and a lifestyle, it is also a community. And like all communities, it has its leaders — men and women whose work, be it by design or circumstance, affects all lovers of extreme music on a regular basis.
Throughout November, MetalSucks will celebrate these industry leaders by counting down The 25 Most Important People in Metal one per day. To be clear, this is a list of the people we believe are most important to metal today, in 2016 — not necessarily the most important people overall in the entire history of the genre. Some of them are musicians. Many of them are not. Some of them are people you’ve heard of. Many of them work behind the scenes and do not routinely get to take a bow. But they all have one thing in common: more than just cogs in a machine, they are truly, undeniably irreplaceable.
Look. You don’t have to like Sharon Osbourne. I don’t like Sharon Osbourne. I don’t like that she charged young bands tens of thousands of dollars to get onto the second stage at Ozzfest, I don’t like that she recruited some of those same bands to throw eggs at Iron Maiden, and I don’t like that she’s apparently responsible for Bill Ward not being part of the latest Black Sabbath reunion, even if she’s apparently not responsible for Bill Ward not being part of the latest Black Sabbath reunion.
But even if you don’t like Sharon Osbourne, you have to respect her… and you have to admit she’s done a hell of a lot for metal.
For one thing, Sharon is the mastermind behind Ozzy’s impressive solo career. There’s a good chance that without Sharon, Ozzy would have gone nowhere after he was fired from Sabbath. But the guy’s career has had no real lulls. Even when he makes a creatively less-than-stellar record like Black Rain, he’s a superstar. Furthermore, he’s one metal’s greatest ambassadors to the mainstream. Your grandma knows who Ozzy Osbourne is. And that’s largely, if not entirely, because of Sharon.
And about Ozzfest: shady business dealings aside, it was THE big summer tour for a decade. For years, everyone went to Ozzfest. It wasn’t even, like, a question. Is Ozzfest happening? We’re going. Done. Shady business dealings aside, the festival served as a platform to expose dozens of bands to a much wider audience than they may have ever reached otherwise. Slipknot, System of a Down, Disturbed, Lamb of God, Mudvayne, Mastodon, Killswitch Engage, Hatebreed, Andrew W.K., Norma Jean, Every Time I Die, The Black Dahlia Murder, Between the Buried and Me, As I Lay Dying, Shadows Fall, Atreyu, God Forbid, Bleeding Through, Chimaira, and dozens of other young bands got huge boosts in their profiles from playing Ozzfest. As we’ve said many times during this countdown, regardless of whether or not you like those bands (Disturbed… yuck!), you can’t deny their impact and importance to the history of modern metal.
Heck, already-established bands that appeared on the second stage — the Melvins, Cradle of Filth, Arch Enemy, Strapping Young Lad, Darkest Hour, etc. — probably gained a good amount of new fans appearing on the second stage.
The point is, Ozzfest did a lot in terms of spreading the gospels. That’s inarguable. The fact that it was done basically out of spite against the Lollapalooza organizers who refused to book Ozzy just makes the whole thing that much more notable (and funny).
And not only did Sharon mastermind Ozzy’s solo career and create one of the definitive annual summer tours, but she also expanded the Osbourne brand well beyond her husband. She, her son, and her daughter are now all household names with varying degrees of success in their own solo careers (for lack of a better term — obviously, they don’t all make music). The Osbournes were, of course, the subjects of their own very popular reality program, but then Sharon went on to host talk shows and talent shows and who knows what other kinds of shows. People have alleged that Ozzy hasn’t retired because Sharon won’t let him, but the fact is, she and her kids have their own careers and are pretty much set for life. The Osbourne Family is probably as close to royalty as metal will ever get.
So, yeah. You don’t have to like Sharon Osbourne. But you can’t deny that she’s done a helluva lot for the music we all love.
THE LIST SO FAR
#25: Mark Riddick
#24: Robb Flynn
#23: Rob Scallon
#22: Kim Kelly
#20: Rob Halford
#19: Ash Avildsen
#18: Steve Joh
#17: Karim Peter
#16: Misha Mansoor
#15: Dan Rozenblum
#14: Joey Sturgis
#13: Randy Blythe
#12: Amy Sciarretto
#11: Dimebag Darrell
#10: Corey Taylor
#9: Jose Mangin
#8: Monica Seide-Evenson
#7: Albert Mudrian
#6: Borivoj Krgin