Today, Ozzy released his latest single,”Ordinary Man,” a duet with Elton John. The song is the title track of Ozzy’s forthcoming album, his first solo record in ten years, which is tentatively scheduled for a February release.
You might think these two men make an odd pairing, and at times in their careers they may have; still, if you spend a bit of reflective time with this song, you realize just how good of a fit they are for the tune and the subject matter.
While not exclusively, both of these men are balladeers, and this ballad fits right in each’s catalog. Plus, they’re both artists whose excesses and antics have overshadowed their careers at times and whose bigger than life personas and fame have possibly led fansto forget that they are just ordinary men.
This is an ironic bit of a song, a “Send in the Clowns” type of melancholy that plays well on both men. This fits well two men at the end of their careers and dealing with the prospect of death.
You might think it crass to say these things, but that’s what this song is all about. In one refrain, Ozzy sings, “Don’t forget me when the colors fade; when the lights go down, it’s just an empty stage,” and Elton adds, “I don’t want to say goodbye, but when I do you’ll be all right.”
Then, the chorus fades with the nuts and bolts of it: “The truth is I don’t want to die an ordinary man.”
Sad, yes, reflective and thoughtful for sure, and we realize that these men, Ozzy being 71, Elton 72, are destined to follow the same path that many of our rock icons have traveled these last three or four years.
Still, they’re here now, and they’re making good and viable music.
And not only are they here, they have some excellent friends in tow. Ozzy’s band on this album features G n R’s Duff McKagan on bass and the Peppers’ Chad Smith on drums. Main guitarist for the album is Andrew Watt, who also produces. Watt, 29, may not be known in a lot of classic rock circles, but he’s made quite a name for himself with the younger generation, playing with a number of notable acts, most notably Post Malone. What’s more, Ozzy says Watt “pulled the album out of [him]” when he “didn’t have the f–king strength” to do so himself.
Add John on piano to that strong list and a guest appearance by Slash on lead guitar, and whether it all seems like a good fit, you gotta wonder how it can’t succeed.
For me, the song speaks best for itself. Let’s have us a listen, shall we?