Steve Marriott: The singer so good Ozzy Osbourne thought he was lip-syncing

Ozzy Osbourne‘s vocal prowess isn’t defined by conventional standards of sweetness; it’s a complex tapestry woven with raw emotion and unparalleled stage presence. While his singing style may not have adhered to traditional norms of melodiousness, there was an undeniable intensity in his voice that resonated deeply, particularly amidst the thunderous soundscapes crafted by Black Sabbath.

Paired with his electrifying on-stage antics, Osbourne’s unique vocal delivery captivated audiences far and wide. Yet, beneath the surface of his rock ‘n’ roll persona, lay a deep appreciation for the artistry of fellow musicians.

Having traversed the highways of the music industry for the better part of his life, Osbourne has had the privilege of sharing the stage with an array of rock legends. Whether they crossed paths as supporting acts, festival co-headliners, or collaborators on musical endeavors, Osbourne’s journey has been enriched by memorable encounters with musical luminaries.

Among the myriad fond recollections, one particular artist stands out in Osbourne’s memory.

In the annals of 1972, during Black Sabbath’s tour, Humble Pie served as the opening act. Fronted by the illustrious ex-Small Faces singer and guitarist, Steve Marriott, the band infused the stage with a palpable energy despite facing internal tumult. With hits like “Rock On” and “Smokin’,” Humble Pie’s live performances garnered widespread acclaim, even amidst the backdrop of band discord.

Reflecting on the tour in a candid interview, Osbourne reminisced about the Akron Rubberbowl show, held in the open air of an ancient amphitheater. The memory remains etched in his mind, resonating with an almost mythical aura.

However, it wasn’t merely their onstage prowess that left an indelible impression on Osbourne. Backstage, he witnessed a scene that belied the chaos and excess of rock ‘n’ roll excess, as members of Humble Pie indulged in copious amounts of cocaine. Yet, amidst the haze of substance, Steve Marriott emerged as a beacon of musical brilliance.

“Humble Pie were shoveling coke up their noses like it was going out of style. They must have done 20 grams before they went on stage. But Marriott was incredible. Somehow, he was better than ever. I remember looking for the fucking Revox. Marriott was so good I thought he was lip-synching.”

Osbourne’s admiration for Marriott’s talent isn’t solitary. Following Marriott’s tragic demise in 1991, tributes poured in from across the musical spectrum, with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards among those hailing him as one of the greatest voices in rock.

“I’m a big Steve Marriott fan,” Ozzy affirmed, his voice tinged with nostalgia for the vibrant era they shared. “When he died, a part of me died, too.”

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