More than 300 fans braved the torrential rain in New York today, perhaps fittingly, to meet the Prince of Darkness. Ozzy Osbourne signed copies of his hilarious new memoir, I Am Ozzy, at the Fifth Avenue Barnes and Noble in midtown Manhattan (Rolling Stone spoke to Osbourne about the memoir in our current issue; read bonus stories on Black Sabbath and his new LP).
The downpour weeded out fair-weather fans, but the line still extended outside the store and down the entire 46th street block — and the first die-hard arrived at 3:30 a.m. for the 12:30 p.m signing. Ozzy showed up on time, exiting a side elevator and ambling past the store's graphic arts section wearing a long-sleeve black shirt and gold leaf pendant.
The first fan Ozzy met was Chris Engborg, a 17-year-old from Wilton, Connecticut, who was born with learning disabilities and gave Ozzy a handwritten letter, telling him his music — particularly his song "I Don't Want to Change the World" — helped him through deep depression. Ozzy peered up from his circular John Lennon-style glasses and thanked him for coming.
For most of the event, Ozzy stayed quiet, but his silence didn't dampen his fans' enthusiasm; many walked away shaking, some crying joyful tears. "I can die happy now!" one woman shouted as she took a large leap at the exit.
When he met five-year old Corrado Mazzuca Jr., Ozzy lit up. The boy brought Ozzy an endearing portrait he drew of the singer, with title "Ozzy Rules!" Ozzy stared intently at the picture. "Who drew this?" he asked the boy. "You drew this?" before putting the boy on his lap for a photo. Later, the boy was ecstatic. "Iron Man' is my favorite song," he said, standing next to his father. "I have it on my radio box."