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Iowa History Daily: January 20 - Ozzy & the Bat

Iowa History Daily: On January 20, 1982, Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a live bat while performing at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines. One of the most memorable moments in the career of the legendary heavy metal artist, over 5,000 people witnessed the iconic rock ‘n roll moment.

Already famous as the frontman of legendary band “Black Sabbath,” Osbourne arrived in Des Moines on the “Diary of a Madman Tour” riding the wave of solo success following his release of the smash hit “Crazy Train” in 1980. For $8.50 thousands of Iowans packed into Vets Auditorium in downtown Des Moines for what promised to be a memorable show.

Allegedly, two Des Moines teenagers (Mark Neal and Carmen Kelly) brought a dead bat to the concert and tossed it on stage in front of bassist Rudy Sarzo. Osbourne walked over, picked up the bat, and bit off the head. With blood trickling down his chin, the famous British rocker continued the show.

In the aftermath, three weeks of rabies shots and protests from various animal rights groups awaited Osbourne. For those in attendance the memories of one of the most iconic on stage rock and roll moments of all-time still linger. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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