Behind the Meaning of Ozzy Osbourne’s Power Ballad “Mama, I’m Coming Home”

When Ozzy Osbourne was working on his sixth solo album No More Tears, he co-wrote several tracks on the album with late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister, including the Grammy-winning “I Don’t Want to Change the World,” along with “Desire,” “Hellraiser,” “Road to Nowhere,” and the hit ballad “Mama, I’m Coming Home.”

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Somber Meaning

More somber in tone, “Mama, I’m Coming Home” revealed a more enlightened state for Osbourne, who had been struggling with sobriety and quit drugs and alcohol prior to working on the track. No More Tears, and specifically “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” showed a more reflective and surprisingly softer side of Osbourne, who was coming to terms with his addictions.

Times have changed and times are strange
Here I come, but I ain’t the same
Mama, I’m coming home
Time’s gone by, it seems to be
You could have been a better friend to me
Mama, I’m coming home

[RELATED: Top 5 Wildest Ozzy Osbourne Touring Moments]

Life or Death

Co-written with Kilmister as well as Osbourne’s longtime guitarist, Zakk Wylde, the lyrics are inspired by the realization that he would be dead if he didn’t get sober and is dedicated to his wife Sharon, who stuck by him through all his crazier days.

You took me in and you drove me out
Yeah, you had me hypnotized, yeah
Lost and found and turned around
By the fire in your eyes

“Mama” Meaning

For years, Osbourne had the melody for the song stuck in his head but didn’t finish writing it until he started fleshing it out with Wylde and used his pet name for his wife Sharon, “Mama” in the title.

“I had been walking around with the melody in my head for a couple of years but never got a chance to finish it until I was working with Zakk on the No More Tears album,” said Osbourne in the liner notes for his 1997 compilation, The Ozzman Cometh. “At that time Zakk and I were doing a lot of writing on the piano. ‘Mama, I’m Coming Home’ was always something I’d say on the phone to my wife near the end of a tour.”

I’ve seen your face a hundred times
Every day we’ve been apart
I don’t care about the sunshine, yeah
‘Cause Mama, Mama, I’m coming home
I’m coming home

Osbourne also references “Mama” (Sharon) in his 1981 song “Flying High Again” and in his 2001 release “Running Out of Time.”

Ozzy and Sharon

Sharon first met Ozzy in 1970 when her father, Don Arden, was managing his then-former band, Black Sabbath. By 1979, when Osbourne was embarking on his solo career, Sharon became his manager and the two started dating. Sharon and Ozzy married in 1982 and had three children together.

Lemmy

Outside of No More Tears, Osbourne and Lemmy, who died in 2015, collaborated on a number of songs together throughout the 1990s, from “See You on the Other Side,” off Osbourne’s seventh album, Ozzmosis, in 1995, to “I Ain’t No Nice Guy,” and “My Little Man.”

”He wrote me a lot of good lyrics,” said Osbourne in 2017. “I was doing one of my albums, and I went to his house and said, ‘Would you care to do some lyrics? He said, ‘Yeah, come back in a couple of hours.’ And I went back, and he says, ‘Do you like them?’ I read them and he had given me five different sets of lyrics, and they were all great!”

[RELATED: Top 10 Ozzy Osbourne Songs (1980-1995)]

Osbourne’s other Lemmy co-write on No More Tears, “I Don’t Want to Change the World,” picked up a Grammy for Best Metal Performance when it was released on his 1993 live album, Live & Loud.

Another Hit

Though his 1988 duet with Lita Ford, “Close My Eyes Forever,” and his 2019 feature on Post Malone’s “Take What You Want” both reached No. 8 on the charts, “Mama, I’m Coming Home” was Osbourne’s only solo top 40 single, peaking at No. 28 the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Mainstream Rock charts.

Carrie Underwood

In 2022, Carrie Underwood covered “Mama, I’m Coming Home” on her Apple Music Sessions EP, which was recorded exclusively for the streaming service.

“I have always been an Ozzy Osbourne fan and ‘Mama, I’m Coming Home’ is one of my all-time favorite songs,” said Underwood. “I’ve always thought it felt a lot like a country song, and I’ve wanted to cover it for a long time.”

Photo by Gus Stewart/Redferns

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