Ozzy Osbourne's "Patient Number 9" Sees the Rocker Tumbling Through a Mental Institution
What is the meaning behind Ozzy Osbourne's song "Patient Number 9"? Let's unpack what message the track actually carries.
In terms of legendary status as a rock and roll icon, few living artists could even hold a candle to Ozzy Osbourne. Since the late 1960s, Ozzy has been working tirelessly to further the genre of rock in more ways than one, and in doing so has become one of the biggest acts in the history of modern music.
The 73-year-old Prince of Darkness still knows how to churn out hits, as exemplified by his latest offering, "Patient Number 9." With that being said, what is the meaning behind the new song? Keep reading for all of the known details!
What is the meaning behind Ozzy's song "Patient Number 9"?
Ozzy is no stranger to dealing with mental health issues, and he puts the notion of going through them on full blast in "Patient Number 9." Through the song itself as well as its partially animated music video, Ozzy paints a vivid picture of what it is like to be Patient Number 9 in a mental institution.
The direct inspiration behind making a track of this nature seems to be his wife, Sharon Osbourne. Indeed, Sharon has spoken at length in the past about her mental health issues and even how she was hospitalized as a result of them. Through "Patient Number 9," Ozzy appears to be sending a message of solidarity out to his wife and anyone else who has dealt with similar circumstances.
As the music video starts off with some spastic cutscenes of bats flying, water bubbling, pills strewn about a table, and even Ozzy turning into some type of demonic creature, it's clear that the energy on "Patient Number 9" is high, to say the least.
Transitioning to an animated scene of him running down the hallway of what appears to be a hospital, Ozzy sings "Every hallway’s painted white as the light / That will guide you to your help / Making friends with strangers inside my mind / ‘Cause they seem to know me well."
Ozzy then touches on the mental health side of the track, singing lines such as "When they call your name, better run and hide / Tell you you’re insane, you believe their lies / I’m not gettin’ out, no, I’m not gettin’ out alive (Ooh) / I’m not gettin’ out ’cause I’m patient number nine (Ooh)."
It seems as though Ozzy is depicting both an external and internal struggle through this song. The external being between Patient Number 9 and doctors, and the internal being the patient versus themselves.
Naturally, as he has done throughout much of his past work, Ozzy called the idea of a higher power into question as well.
"If there’s a God, why’d he let the Devil do his work on me? Oh yeah / If there’s a God, what am I doing here?" he sings.
The video is jam-packed with images of pills, demonic creatures, and colorful melty cutscenes that further the vibe of Ozzy's lyrics perfectly. Toward the end of the track, the veteran rocker asks, "When the walls of a padded cell become reality / How many tears till I ground myself ’cause no one cries for me?" A stark point about isolation and the feeling of dealing with mental health anguish in any capacity.
Overall, Ozzy delivers a powerful message in "Patient Number 9" about the struggles that those dealing with mental health issues encounter with themselves as well as with those who are attempting to care for them. Serving as the lead track off of his recently released album of the same name, "Patient Number 9" exists as a perfect example of what Ozzy is still capable of even after all of these years making music.
If you or someone you know needs help, use SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find support for mental health and substance use disorders in your area or call 1-800-662-4357 for 24-hour assistance.