The band Ozzy Osbourne called “heavy metal meets The Beatles”

As well as being a metal pioneer as the frontman of Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne is a lifelong music lover. In his time, he has effused about a range of musicians, from his early heroes, The Beatles, to genre peers such as Motörhead.

A specialist regarding the metal genre, Osbourne has provided many comments on the heavier side of music’s development. One band that he has a particular love for is grunge stalwarts Nirvana. The Birmingham native has such passion for Kurt Cobain’s band that he even once likened them to The Beatles, the group they credited with influencing the more melodic aspects of their sound.

When speaking to VH1 for a documentary about the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ trio, Osbourne noted the inherent juxtaposition of their sound and the way they bridged metal and heavier elements with pop. He said: “I love Nirvana, it was like heavy metal meets The Beatles, you know, to a point”.

This wouldn’t be the last time Osbourne would reflect on the brilliance of Nirvana. In his 2009 memoir, I Am Ozzy, he revealed that Nirvana’s most famous song had a “huge” impact on him and said he was “very proud” to hear that Cobain was a fan of his. He wrote: “It had a huge impact on me, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. I was very proud when I found out that Kurt Cobain was a fan of mine. I thought he was awesome.”

Despite Cobain and Nirvana being fans of Ozzy Osbourne, they once turned down the opportunity to support him. When Nirvana were at the peak of their powers, they were met with numerous offers to support prominent acts, including Guns N’ Roses and Rush. However, in true form, they declined, maintaining that they didn’t want to pilfer anyone else’s success, and if they were to play large arenas, it would only be as headliners.

Cobain told Gilbert Blecken in 1991: “I can understand Ozzy liking us because we have at least some similarities with his former band. Sure, I respect the man, I have always loved his music except for his last five albums or whatever.”

Recalling an encounter they had with Osbourne, Cobain said: “Ozzy was also in the same mixing studio that we were in for our last record, and we met each other in the hall sometimes”.

Reflecting on the state of Osbourne at the time, he continued: “We didn’t speak, but there were a few times where we were coming towards each other and I had to move up against the wall and wait for him to stumble past me ’cause he was so fucked up. He (Ozzy) also asked us to go on tour with him, but we turned it down. It would have been fun and kind of exciting to be part of his last shows, but we don’t really wanna play in huge arenas supporting someone.”

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