As far as Iowa history goes, most people from the state aren't really proud to claim this one. But 41 years ago tonight, one of the strangest occurrences in music history happened at a show in Des Moines, Iowa.

January 20th, 1982. If you're a die-hard rock and roll fan may already recognize the date. The story would go on to be called many things, including 'The Chomp Heard 'Round The World.' Yes, 41 years ago tonight rock legend Ozzy Osborne bit the head off of a bat during a show in Iowa. As the Des Moines Register points out there were plenty of witnesses to the bloody event too. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it as the number two wildest myth in the history of rock and roll. And it happened in Des Moines, Iowa! But is the story fact, fiction, or a combination of both?

Ozzy Osbourne Tortures Woman With Swinging Blade, c. 1982.
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To say that Ozzy had a flair for strange stage antics would be a bit of an understatement. There is the picture above of him 'torturing' a woman during his show. And the Register reports that Ozzy had even bitten the head off of a live dove in 1981 in front of a group of horrified record executives. But the secret that no one wants to tell you about the bat at the show in Des Moines 41 years ago tonight, is that it was already dead.

The Register reports that 17-year-old Mark Neal brought the dead bat with him to the show 41 years ago tonight. Why did he have it with him? He and his brother had caught the bat two weeks ago and tried to keep it alive as a pet. It didn't work. The Register reports that when Mark's friends heard about Ozzy's pension for biting things, they bagged the bat and took it to the show. During the concert, they tossed it on stage, and the rest is rock and roll history!

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After the show, the Register reports that Ozzy was rushed to Broadlawns Medical Center for a series of rabies shots. His bite also changed arena rules forever banning live animals as part of a musical act. Osborne has lamented in interviews that the incident will follow him until the day he dies. But that is what happens when you bite the head off a bat, even if it was already dead.

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