The songwriters behind “Take What You Want” explain how Osbourne’s first top 10 hit in 30 years came to fruition, and tease coming music from the Black Sabbath leader.
One of the biggest hip-hop releases of the year has also resulted in the unexpected return of a hard rock legend to the pop charts: “Take What You Want,” the rollicking new Post Malone track featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott, scored a splashy No. 8 debut on the Sept. 21 Billboard Hot 100, and remains at No. 17 on this week’s chart. The appearance is Osbourne’s first top 10 hit on the Hot 100 since his Lita Ford duet “Close My Eyes Forever” reached No. 8 in 1989, marking the longest break between top 10 hits in the chart's history.
“Post has been a huge Ozzy fan since he was a kid,” says Louis Bell, who co-produced the song with Andrew Watt. “This was definitely a dream come true for him.”
Watt, who recently notched a No. 1 hit with Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s “Señorita,” helped bring the pair together after meeting the Black Sabbath leader’s daughter, Kelly Osbourne, at a friend’s party and pitching her on the idea of Post and Ozzy collaborating together. Watt tells Billboard that the interest was immediate — though the follow-through took a bit longer.
“Kelly played him the tape and he loved it, but then I didn’t hear anything for a while,” Watt remembers. “I kept texting Kelly over and over again, and all of a sudden, we got the text from her that said, ‘Dad’s going to do the song. He loves it.’”
Osbourne linked up with Watt in the latter’s Los Angeles studio over the summer to create the song, with the rock legend writing part of Post Malone’s melody and Watt handling its wailing guitar solo. Post Malone was unable to make the studio session due to his touring schedule, but he still managed to call in from afar.
“I recorded Ozzy on the track, laid the guitar solo that night and got Chad Smith from the Red Hot] Chili Peppers over to play the drums on it,” recalls Watt. “Then I was FaceTiming with Post while we were in the studio, and Ozzy’s like, ‘Who the fuck is this? Are you talking with the bloody Post Man?’ And everyone’s laughing their asses off.”
With the chart debut of “Take What You Want,” Osbourne has now scored at least one Hot 100 hit in four consecutive decades. Though his most recent visit may seem on paper like his most unlikely grouping, both Watt and Bell aren’t surprised by the track’s immediate success.
“The culture of metal music and hip-hop are very related,” says Watt. “You see kids going fucking crazy at a Travis Scott] show, moshing, losing their minds — the same thing they were doing at Ozzy shows. This record in a weird way connects the culture of a kid at a hip-hop show wearing a Metallica shirt.”
“Ozzy continues to remind the world why he’s the superstar he is,” adds Bell. “This just continues to show people how impactful he is on music and the culture.”
Although Osbourne been sidelined for much of 2019 as he recovers from a bout of pneumonia and a subsequent serious injury from falling, the 70-year-old may soon be rallying — and rejoining Watt in the studio.
The new song “is a really good taste of Ozzy in 2019,” says Watt, “and you’re going to get a lot more coming out that’s going to blow people’s faces off.”