Not just an icon in the metal realm, Ozzy Osbourne is also a fervent music aficionado. Throughout the years, he has expressed admiration for a variety of artists, from timeless legends like The Beatles to contemporaries such as Motörhead.
Osbourne, an expert in the heavy metal domain, has shared numerous insights about the evolution of intense music styles. Among the bands he holds in high regard is the grunge powerhouse, Nirvana. The British rocker is so fond of Kurt Cobain’s ensemble that he once drew a parallel between them and The Beatles, a band that inspired the harmonic elements in Nirvana’s tracks.
During a VH1 documentary centered on the creators of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, Osbourne highlighted the unique fusion of their music, blending heavy metal’s intensity with pop’s catchiness. He remarked, “Nirvana captured my heart. They felt like the offspring of heavy metal and The Beatles.”
Osbourne’s admiration for Nirvana didn’t wane over time. In his 2009 autobiography, “I Am Ozzy,” he spoke of the profound influence Nirvana’s signature track had on him, expressing pride in learning that Cobain admired his work. He penned, “The song ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ resonated deeply with me. Discovering Kurt Cobain’s appreciation for my music was a heartwarming revelation. He was truly remarkable.”
While Cobain and his band had respect for Osbourne, they declined an offer to tour with him. At the height of Nirvana’s fame, the band was swamped with opportunities to open for major artists, including rock titans like Guns N’ Roses and Rush. Yet, in their characteristic fashion, they chose to decline, asserting their desire to stand independently and headline their own massive shows.
In a 1991 conversation with Gilbert Blecken, Cobain mentioned, “Seeing Ozzy’s affinity for our music makes sense, given the echoes of his earlier band in our work. While I hold him in high regard and cherish most of his music, his recent albums haven’t struck a chord with me.”
Recounting a brief overlap with Osbourne, Cobain added, “While working on our latest album, we often crossed paths with Ozzy in the studio corridor. Our interactions were brief, punctuated by moments where I’d sidestep to let an inebriated Ozzy pass. He did extend an invitation to tour with him, but we had to decline. While tempting, we felt our path was different.”