Rocker Osbourne denies his music prompted teen's suicide


LOS ANGELES -- British heavy metal rock star Ozzy Osbourne is a family man who would never encourage his fans to commit suicide, his attorney says, and the musician denies his music drove a troubled 19-year-old youth to kill himself.

Responding Tuesday to a lawsuit filed by the family of a youth who shot himself after brooding for several hours while listening to Osbourne albums, the singer told reporters, 'I'm very sorry, but I think the young man was obviously ill before it happened.


'I know what the lyrics mean. I wrote them,' said Osbourne, whose music and performances have often been linked to death and violence. 'You can twist anything around. You can hear what you want to hear.'

The former singer with the band Black Sabbath, whose outrageous stage antics peaked in 1982 when he bit the head off a live bat, said people could read something sinister into such old standards as 'That Old Black Magic.'

Osbourne answered questions -- against the advice of his attorney - about a suit filed against him, CBS Records and others last October by Jack McCollum, the father of the dead boy.


The suit claims the 'satanic' influence of Osbourne's music - especially a song titled 'Suicide Solution' -- drove John McCollum, 19, over the brink of depression to suicide in October 1984.

McCollum killed himself with one shot from his father's .22-caliber pistol after listening to several of Osbourne's albums. He was still wearing stereo headphones when his body was found.

The family's attorney, Thomas Anderson, said he wanted to 'teach record companies a lesson' that they must take responsibility for the content of the songs they publish.

Osbourne said McCollum's father had misunderstood the lyrics to 'Suicide Solution.' The suit says the song contains the line,'I tell you to end your life ...' Osbourne said the lyric actually reads, 'I tell you to enjoy life ...'

Osbourne said he wrote the song as a lament for a friend who had killed himself with drugs and alcohol, and that he meant it as a message that suicide is not the answer.

'I'm confused by this whole thing,' Osbourne said, 'I'm just a rock 'n' roll singer.'

Osbourne's lawyer, Howard Weitzman, called the McCollum family's claims 'slanderous, ludicrous and preposterous.'

'Is this lawsuit being put forward by the McCollum family, or is there financial and moral support being given from segments of our society who think they can control the moral and philosophical attitudes of what is published?' he asked.


'The logical extension of this suit is censorship,' Weitzman said.

He said Osbourne is a family man with three children who had no intention of encouraging suicide with his songs.

'Anyone who knows Ozzy knows that the furthest thing from his mind was a deliberate attempt to encourage an act of suicide,'

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