Ozzy Osbourne recently marked the 39th anniversary of when he beheaded a bat, and he did it in a very unexpected way. In a post on Twitter, the iconic heavy metal singer revealed that his online store had begun selling plush bats, complete with detachable heads, to commemorate the infamous moment. The stuffed creature also bears Osbournes' iconic yellow and red logo. The collector's items go for $40 and are still available.
Osbourne's bat story is one of the most notorious true stories from the rock 'n' roll community, right up there with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards confessing to snorting his father's ashes and Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx literally dying of a heroin overdose and then being brought back to life by two doses of adrenaline. According to legend, Osbourne was playing a show in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 20, 1982, when someone from the audience threw a bat onto the stage. Believing it to be a rubber bat, Osbourne picked it up and bit its head off. He soon discovered that it was not a toy and rushed to the hospital for a rabies shot after the concert, per the Des Moines Register.
Iowa native Mark Neal, who was 17 at the time, confessed to bringing the bat in a plastic bag with him to the concert and throwing it on the stage. "It really freaked me out," Neal told a reporter afterward. "I won’t get in any trouble for admitting this, will I?"
Osbourne has spoken about the incident in interviews throughout the years but gave a fairly detailed account of the events from his perspective to Classic Rock magazine in 2008. "It must have been stunned by the lights or something because it just froze and I thought it was a toy," he said, via Blabbermouth. "I just put it in my mouth. Then its wings started flapping and I got such a shock. I tried to pull it out too quickly and its head came off." He then quipped, "It tasted all crunchy and warm . . . like a Ronald McDonald's."
In 2020, Osbourne brought up the bat story again and seemed to jokingly lament that it's become such a big part of his career. "It's not the way I want to be remembered [but] I know I'll be the man that bit the head off the bat," he told the Los Angeles Daily News. "That will be my epitaph. It won't be, 'Here lies Ozzy Osbourne … he did a bit of good …' It's going to be 'The bat-biting lunatic,' which … I don't care."