"Ordinary Man" is a rock ballad where Ozzy Osbourne is joined by another English rock legend: Elton John. The former Black Sabbath frontman sings the first verse backed by John on piano, in which he rages against the dying of the light. The Rocketman comes in on vocals during the second verse.
Said Osbourne: "When I was writing 'Ordinary Man,' it reminded me of an old Elton song and I said to Sharon, 'I wonder if he would sing on it?' We asked and lo and behold, he agreed and sings and plays piano on the song."
Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, his bandmate bassist Duff McKagan, producer Andrew Watt and Red Hot Chill Peppers drummer Chad Smith also played on the track.
Speaking to Lyndsey Parker on their SiriusXM's Volume West show, Chad Smith explained how Ozzy wears his Beatles influences on his sleeve during this track:
"Ozzy loves The Beatles - it's his favorite band. He's going on about The Beatles - The Beatles, Beatles, Beatles, Beatles. And you would think, the Prince Of Darkness - The Beatles, really? So he's, like, 'We need something midtempo, not so heavy.' So Andrew [Watt] had this little piano idea thing, and we made it into this song, and it's epic."
According to Smith, Elton's singing on the song was an afterthought. "We decided, 'Well, [the song] has a piano. Who is a really good piano player? I don't know… Let's get the Rocket Man,'" Smith recalled. "And so Andrew and I went down to Atlanta, where Elton John lives when he's on the East Coast. I think he kind of lives all over the place. And we recorded him. And he played the piano on the song, and he plays it beautifully, of course. And then we're, like, 'Why don't we have him sing a verse?'"
The song debuted #34 on the Mainstream Rock National Airplay chart dated February 29, 2020. It marked Elton John's first appearance on the tally since his 1992 collaboration with Eric Clapton, "Runaway Train
." The 27-year gap is the longest in Mainstream Rock chart history, breaking the record previously held by Queen guitarist Brian May, who experienced a 26-year break between his 1993 solo song "Driven By You" and his 2019 guest spot on Five Finger Death Punch's version of Kenny Wayne Shepherd's "Blue On Black
The video, directed by Stephen Lee Carr, uses loads of archive footage of Ozzy throughout his career. Osbourne is seen in an empty theater, getting emotional as he watches the images go by.