Ozzy Osbourne has explained that his 1980 song ‘Suicide Solution’ was misunderstood, after it sparked a lawsuit from the parents of a teenager who shot himself to death.
The parents of 19-year-old John McCollum opened the case in 1986, after alleging that the song from Osbourne’s debut solo album, ‘Blizzard Of Ozz’, was responsible for their son’s death.
A lyric in the track reads: “Where to hide, suicide is the way out/Don’t you know what it’s really about?”
Now, as the 40th anniversary of Osbourne’s album this month nears, the Prince of Darkness has cleared up what he says is a common misunderstanding. The song is in fact an anti-suicide composition written about AC/DC singer Bon Scott, who died of acute alcohol poisoning in 1980.
Addressing the lawsuit’s allegations, Osbourne told SiriusXM‘s Billy Morrison in a clip previewing the forthcoming anniversary special that the lyric was wrongly read into. “Well, that was all taken out of perspective,” he explained.
“So we wrote this song about…We were all doing some serious pounding of the booze back then. I’d been drinking heavily for a long, long time. And it’s, like, ‘Suicide Solution’ means solution being liquid — not a way out. People get the fucking thing wrong.”
Osbourne went on to recall how he first found out about the lawsuit. “Sharon [Ozzy’s wife and manager] phoned me up in England. She said, ‘Get on a plane. You’ve gotta come out.’ I said, ‘Tell me what I’ve got to come out for.’ She said, ‘I’ll tell you when you get here.’ I said, ‘Is it problems?’ She said, ‘Just get on a fucking plane.'”
He continued: “I get to LAX, come to the terminal, and there must’ve been 200 cameras. I’m looking over my shoulder [while] I’m standing, and [there are] about 15 microphones in front of me: ‘What do you think of this lawsuit?’ And I’m going, ‘What lawsuit? I’m gonna go back to the hotel. I’ll find out what it’s all about.”
Asked by Morrison if he was surprised to find out about the lawsuit, Osbourne replied: “More than shocked.”
A California court dismissed the McCollums’ lawsuit in 1988, ruling that their son’s suicide was not a foreseeable result of ‘Suicide Solution’.
40 Years Of Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Blizzard Of Ozz’ premieres this Friday, September 18 at 5pm ET and 11pm ET on SiriusXF in the US, and will be rebroadcast throughout the weekend.
In related news, an expanded edition of the album is being released to celebrate its landmark birthday. It lands on streaming platforms this Friday (September 18), boasting bonus tracks ‘You Looking At Me, Looking At You’ (originally the B-side to ‘Crazy Train’), ‘Goodbye to Romance’ (2010 Guitar & Vocal Mix) and album outtake ‘RR’.