Ozzy Osbourne Guitarists: Ranked
What would Ozzy Osbourne‘s amazing solo career be without the many guitar heroes who have stood beside him for the past 30-plus years? Not much, unless he had his sights on playing music other than hard rock and metal, which is why we decided to pay some respect to the 10 six-string gods who exerted the greatest impact on Ozzy’s career.
Though his superlative guitar skills never actually made it onto an Osbourne album, at one point, Steve Vai was virtually confirmed to succeed Zakk Wylde for 1995’s ‘Ozzmosis,’ LP. So while none of this came to pass and Vai’s involvement became limited to co-writing one song, ‘My Little Man,’ we are talking about Steve friggin’ Vai here!
Another fleet-fingered guitar hero who almost landed the coveted Ozzy Osbourne band guitar slot in 1995 was former Testament phenom Alex Skolnick. But after auditioning and being told he “got the gig,” Skolnick played just one single U.K. concert with Ozzy in June of that year, before being told his services would, in fact, not be needed.
By 2005, Ozzy’s off-and-on relationship with Wylde was in the “off” position once again, as the latter focused on his Black Label Society. So when a multi-talented six stringer was required to help Osbourne record his star-studded covers album, ‘Under Cover,’ it was the Alice in Chains stalwart who helpfully stepped into the breach and got the job done.
Confusion and trauma ruled the Ozzy Osbourne camp in the immediate aftermath of Randy Rhoads’ tragic death, but such was the fledgling state of the singer’s solo career that the show simply had to go on, as they say. So in their rush to find a suitable replacement, Sharon and Ozzy quickly tapped Bernie Torme (who had worked with Ian Gillan) to fill the void on tour, even if only for a month.
Jake E. Lee
And of course the most beloved Ozzy Osbourne guitarist is also the most pivotal musician he ever crossed paths with, Randy Rhoads. It’s no exaggeration to assert that Ozzy owes much of his career rebirth and subsequent success to the personal and creative relationship he established with Rhoads, after leaving Black Sabbath in the late-‘70s. That’s why each and every one of the very fine guitarists name-checked above can’t help but be compared to Randy’s groundbreaking talents and lingering legend. Such is the price of playing guitar in the Ozzy Osbourne band, but rarely is it not paid back in full, in one way or another, to those who have accepted the challenge.