Diary Of A Well-Dressed Madman: Designer Ray Brown's Collaboration with OZZY OSBOURNE
For the second installment on heavy metal fashion designer Ray Brown, we're going to take a look at the clothing he made for a native of the musical hotbed of Birmingham, England, Ozzy Osbourne.
After making a big splash in the early part of the 80s styling Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw in a tight red leather jumpsuit, Brown would meet guitar god Randy Rhoads while preparing to create stage clothes for Osbourne's first solo tour in the fall of 1980. Brown got a little medieval on Ozzy and pieced together a leather and chainmail number complete with the heavy metal staple; a studded codpiece. Then, perhaps inspired by his success dressing the petite Shaw in head-to-toe red leather, Brown would create a sleeveless red leather ensemble for Rhoads who, like Brown, was small-boned with a tiny 24-inch waist. Brown dressed all of the members of Ozzy's OG-solo band and the slightly newer configuration of the group which emerged during the subsequent Diary of a Madman Tour. Like so many of us, Brown recalls the moment he heard the news of Rhoads' fatal airplane crash; he was driving around Los Angeles with several new outfits for the gifted guitarist in the back seat. According to Brown, he ended up giving the clothing to his wife as she and Rhoads just so happened to be the same size.
Then in 1985, at the behest of Live Aid founder Bob Geldof, it was confirmed the original lineup of Black Sabbath–Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward with Ozzy at the helm, had agreed to play the charity show. Once again Brown would step in and dress Ozzy and his Birmingham brothers for their short but historic set. Brown would continue to dress Ozzy and his ever-changing band members such as Jake E. Lee through 1986 including some of the colorful stage clothing worn during The Ultimate Sin Tour–Ozzy's first after spending some quality time getting sober at the Betty Ford Center in 1984.
So let's take another stroll down Brown's heavy metal catwalk and check out his instantly recognizable work on Ozzy and his many musical mates through the years. The next installment of this very metal series will focus on Brown's various old-school hair band clients – stay tuned!
Read our write up on Ray Brown's influence on and collaboration with Judas Priest