This article is from the The Osbourne FAQ, by Mike L. with numerous contributions by others.
"For the first part of their career they were managed by two of the
biggest crooks in the business. They made nothing, I mean nothing."
...Sharon on Sabbath's early management
The year is now 1974. The band is living a good life of drugs, sex, cars,
etc. If they wanted a car or a house they would ask for it and receive it
almost the next day. Ozzy even owned a Jaguar which he smashed while
backing out of his driveway, the same day he was to sell it. What the band
never saw though, was money. They became very successful especially in the
UK charts. Their material possessions were provided by their new management
of Patrick Meehan and Wilf Pine. What happened was this: During the same
year that Paranoid was soaring up the charts, Pat and Wilf left their
management company (which was Don Arden's, more on him later). The duo
offered the band a chauffeured limo, champagne dinner at the Speakeasy, and
filled the Sab's heads with ideas that Jim was mismanaging them and they
could do a hell of a lot better with them instead. The Sabs agreed and on
Sept.4, 1970 Jim Simpson found out he was history. The man who had turned
the four nobodies into a juggernaut was dismissed. The Sabs were also not
happy that with Jim they were being paid a lot less than what they should
have been getting. The reason was that Jim insisted they perform at the
shows they had already been booked for, even six months prior. These older
bookings were for a lot less money than the usual fee, now around 2000
pounds per show. Simpson launched lawsuits against them for of breach of
contract. Some concerts later, Ozzy was handed a subpoena on stage for
Simpson's lawsuits. The resulting court case would last years.
California saw the Cal Jam concert take place in Ontario on April 6th. This
was a televised concert to millions of viewers as well as over 450,000
audience members. It featured bands such as Electric Light Orchestra. In
the middle of the night, their management threatened the band with a
lawsuit if they did not play the Cal Jam concert. The band had not
practiced for months and was not ready for a show, especially one with over
450,000 people in attendance. It has been said that the band did not even
know they were to play the show. This would be one of the final straws for
the band and they soon began the process of getting rid of their second
management. Ozzy talks a bit about this in the documentary, "The Decline of
Western Civilization II" where the band questions how much money they are
really making if their managers could afford houses and cars.
[[ The California Jam is available on audio as well as hard to find video. I
sent a VHS of the show but it's poor wobbily quality. I forget the name of
person who sent it to me long ago but he told me his room mate had the
copy. While others have made claims to having the entire set, it's always
lip talk. ]]
Once again the band gets rid of their management and decides to form their
own management. This allowed them to have more control and say into what
decisions were made for the band. It would be a learning experience as well
since they had never dabbled in the management aspects before. They decided
a rest was in order since they were exhausted. Their next US tour would be
in three short installments rather than one big tour to further save them
exhaustion and nervous breakdowns. Oh yes, remember all the flashy cars and
houses they were given? They were never really theirs, and when they dumped
the management duo they lost everything. They still had the Warner Bros.
label in America though, and stayed with WB during the management change.
In September of 1975, the band released their "Sabotage" album.
The last song on the album, "The Writ", would reveal their feelings towards
their previous management and all the problems they'd encountered:
The way I feel is the way I am
I wish I'd walked before I started to run to you, just to you
What kind of people do you think we are?
Another joker who's a rock and roll star for you, just for you
The faithful image of another man
The endless ocean of emotion I swam for you, yeah for you
The shot troopers laying down on the floor
I wish they'd put an end to my running war with you, yeah with you
Are you metal, are you man?
You've changed in life since you began, yeah began
Ladies digging gold from you
Will they still dig now you're through, yeah you're through
You bought and sold me with your lying words
The voices in the deck that you never heard came through, yeah came through
Your folly finally got to spend with a gun
A poisoned father who has poisoned his son, that's you, yeah that's you
I beg you please don't let it get any worse
The anger I once had has turned to a curse on you, Yeah curse you
All of the promises that never came true
You're gonna get what is coming to you, that's true, ah, that's true
Are you Satan, are you man?
You've changed the life since it began, it began
Vultures sucking gold from you
Will they still suck now you're through
The search is on, so you just better run
And find yourself another way
Probably dead, they don't feel a thing
To keep you living for another day
You are nonentity, you have no destiny
You are a victims of a thing unknown
A mantle picture of a stolen soul
A fornication of your golden throne
A smiling face, it means the world to me
So tired of sadness and of misery
My life it started some time ago
Where it will end, I don't know
I thought I was so good I thought I was fine
I feel my world is out of time
But everything is gonna work out fine
If it don't I think I'll lose my mind
I know, I know, I know, yeah yeah I know
Listen to me while I sing this song
You might just think the words are wrong
Too many people advising me [managers, lawyers]
But they don't know what my eyes see
But everything is gonna work out fine
If it don't I feel I'm lose my mind
The anger is very strong in both the lyrics and the tone of Ozzy's voice.
After hearing the song one cannot help but feel sympathy for what the band
had been enduring. Some album labels (Warner Bros. for example) have a
hidden tune following the song, you need to really turn up the volume to
hear it. It features the band playing piano and singing an old 'Nitty
Gritty Dirt Band' song called "Blow on the Jug". A sound engineer caught
this during a recording session and it was put on the album. Sadly, there
are a lot of other Sab cover songs which we will never get to hear. You can
hear the 'Blow on the Jug' song by clicking right here!
Reporter: "Do you have a drinking problem?"
Ozzy: "Yes, I can't find a bar."