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The Story of Ozzy Osbourne’s Retirement, and His Un-Retirement

As Ozzy Osbourne piled up career achievements and more shockingly controversial episodes throughout the ’80s, the last thing anyone thought he’d do was quit. But that’s just what the notorious former Black Sabbath singer did on Nov. 15, 1992.

On that night, Osbourne wrapped up his purposefully named “No More Tours” retirement jaunt — a pun based on the title of his most recent solo album, No More Tears — by performing the second of two shows that featured him both solo and alongside long-estranged band mates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. There was massive media hype and plenty of thrills for thousands of fans who packed the Pacific Amphitheater, in Costa Mesa, Calif.

It wasn’t very long, however, before Osbourne had changed his mind, pronouncing he was “already bored with retirement” just days later. This paved the way for an eventual return to both the studio and concert stage – not to mention a surprise move into TV via The Osbournes, a reality show that made him a household name far outside of the rock world.

So, what the heck happened? Was the entire retirement announcement and tour just a publicity stunt meant to sell more albums and concert tickets? Turns out, it was something far more simple: “Retirement sucked,” Osbourne said back then. “It wasn’t too long before I started getting antsy and writing songs again.”

This back and forth ended up wreaking total havoc on Black Sabbath, which had been on the comeback trail in ’92 after reuniting with Ronnie James Dio, Osbourne’s initial successor. All of the momentum surrounding the Dehumanizer album and tour evaporated when Iommi and Butler decided to perform on Ozzy’s farewell dates, driving an enraged Dio out of the picture. Judas Priest legend Rob Halford ended up stepping in at the last second as a replacement.

Meanwhile, Ozzy Osbourne is still going strong. His next two albums, 1995’s Ozzmosis and 2001’s Down to Earth, both boasted platinum sales. By 2011, the original lineup of Black Sabbath had reunited once more for an album and tour.

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