Ozzy Osbourne says that he will always be remembered for his infamous bat-biting incident.
On January 20, 1982, Ozzy bit the head off a live bat during a concert at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa. He later claimed he thought it was a toy thrown to him by an audience member.
Asked by the Los Angeles Daily News how he wants to be remembered, Ozzy said: "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. 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."
Osbourne in 2008 gave a definitive account of the bat-biting experience to Classic Rock magazine. "It must have been stunned by the lights or something because it just froze and I thought it was a toy," he said. "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."
The verdict? "It tasted all crunchy and warm . . . like a Ronald McDonald's."
After the show, Osbourne reportedly went to Mercy Hospital Medical Center, and was referred to Broadlawns Medical Center because rabies vaccine was available there. He was given a tetanus shot and a rabies shot and took enough rabies vaccine with him to complete the series, according to the Des Moines Register.
Des Moines's then-mayor Pete Crivaro said he wanted to find out if Ozzy "violated an agreement on the use of animals in his act. We had been assured he wasn't going to, and I want to find out who is lying," Crivaro said.
Dave Palmitier, the manager of the auditorium, told the Des Moines Register that Osbourne "did let some doves loose, which he wasn't supposed to do. We found one dead that apparently had been killed in the audience," he said.
Des Moines's then-police lieutenant Derald Leaming said he had warned Osbourne's manager before the show that if an animal was harmed, he and Osbourne "were going to jail because it's against Iowa law.
"We had heard about Osbourne sticking birds in his mouth and warned them he would be arrested on the spot if he bit them," he said.
Ozzy's bat-biting incident was the focus of an episode of "Myths And Legends", a TV Land original television series in which celebrity and expert panelists discuss popular myths surrounding American television, music, and motion pictures, promise answers to these and other great and not-so-great Hollywood stories.
Nearly four decades later, the story of Osbourne's historic chomp still has teeth.
"Ozzy biting the head off a bat in Des Moines is pretty much a badge of honor," Corey Taylor, the Des Moines rock/metal singer who fronts the bands SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR, told the Des Moines Register. "It's still, to me, my favorite [rock incident]."