Why Is Ozzy Osbourne Called ‘The Prince of Darkness’?
Ozzy Osbourne is known for a lot of things, but he's affectionately known by most of the world as The Prince of Darkness. But where did this name come from, and how did it end up becoming his nickname?
Osbourne launched his career as the frontman of Black Sabbath, the band who have generally been regarded as the true innovators of heavy metal ever since their 1970 self-titled debut came out. After another seven albums, Osbourne was fired from the group, but kickstarted an extremely successful solo career a year later. He's put out 13 study records as a solo artist since then, and one more with Black Sabbath in 2013.
However, Osbourne isn't just famous for being a musician — he's a pop culture icon, having also appeared on television and in movies.
Throughout much of his life, Osbourne has been referred to as The Prince of Darkness, so we're gonna explore the origin of the nickname and how it came to be his.
What Is the Origin of the Name 'The Prince of Darkness'?
"The Prince of Darkness" is the English translation of the Latin phrase "princeps tenebrarum," which was written in various works between the 4th and 12 centuries. Renowned English poet John Milton translated the phrase for his 1667 poem "Paradise Lost," referring to Satan as the Prince of Darkness. It's featured in Book 10.
Whom thus the Prince of darkness answered glad.
Fair Daughter, and thou Son and Grandchild both;
High proof ye now have given to be the race
Of Satan (for I glory in the name,
Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King,)
Amply have merited of me, of all
The infernal empire, that so near Heaven's door
Thus, The Prince of Darkness has been a nickname for Satan and the embodiment of evil for hundreds of years.
How Did Ozzy Osbourne Get the Name "The Prince of Darkness"?
During a 2016 interview with NME, Osbourne named Black Sabbath's 1970 song "Black Sabbath" the "scariest song ever written,” and recalled that the opening chords — known as "Diabolus in musica" or "The Devil's Interval" — made a lot of young women freak out in the crowds at their shows.
“They thought we were Satan’s fucking friends or something," Osbourne said. "That’s when the whole Prince of Darkness shit started. When people get excited about Halloween coming around each year, all I think is, ‘Well, we used to have Halloween every fucking night.'”
Since Black Sabbath's music was seen by many as sinister, associating the frontman with Satan and evil just must have made sense to people.
How Does Ozzy Osbourne Feel About the Nickname 'Prince of Darkness'?
Osbourne also discussed the name three years prior in another interview with the Broward New Times, revealing how he really feels about it.
"It's a name. I didn't wake up one morning and go, 'You know what, I'm going to call myself...' It started as a joke name really," he reasoned. "I'm okay with it, you know? You know, it's better than being called an asshole."
True or False: Which of These 18 Legendary Rock + Metal Stories Actually Happened?
Gallery Credit: Philip Trapp