Billboard Magazine has announced that during their 2009 Billboard Touring Awards, Ozzy Osbourne will be presented with the “Legend of Live” award, joining icons such as the Allman Brothers Band and Sir Elton John. Ozzy will make an appearance at the ceremony, which is taking place in New York on November 5.
“Ozzy has altered the course of rock music and live performance through his work with Black Sabbath and as a hugely popular solo artist, and his continued commitment to playing live makes him the perfect choice for the Billboard Legend Of Live award,” says Ray Waddell, Billboard’s executive director of content and programming, touring and live entertainment. “There is no doubt that Ozzy’s impact on live music, including pioneering the multi-act rock festival touring with Ozzfest, will be felt for many years to come, and his efforts continue to shape the touring landscape in this century.”
It’s great that Ozzy is being recognized, but I’m not sure of the logic. As much of an icon as he is for his involvement with both Black Sabbath and as a solo artist, live isn’t the way to experience the guy. If we’re talking performance alone, Dio’s got a few years on him and can belt out Sabbath songs like the day he wrote them. And can anyone remember the last time Ozzy played a full tour without having to cancel a few dates? If it’s for Ozzfest, that hasn’t been a touring entity since 2007, and while the “free” idea seemed pretty innovative at the time, it only lasted one year and was viewed as a failure. In short, giving Ozzy an award for live performance is kind of like giving this guy an award for public speaking.
But hey, while his best years as a vocalist may be behind him (spoiler alert, they are), an Ozzy show is always an event, if for nothing else, his backing band, who always bring it live. The combination of his band and whoever’s opening for him can turn it into a must-see event, so maybe Billboard knows what they’re talking about after all.