Black Sabbath To Be Honoured By Birmingham

Geezer. Ozzy. Tony. Bill. Made in Birmingham 1968.

Eight words set to immortalise ‘Iron Man’ rock legends Black Sabbath in trendy stainless steel.

And all complete with images of the band members as you’ve never seen them before.

Plans are afoot to give the chart-topping ‘Paranoid’ stars a ‘Metal Bench’ that would be handmade in the Jewellery Quarter by one of the few craftsmen left in the country able to do the work.

A bridge on Broad Street could also be renamed in the group’s honour, too – and potentially bring all four members back into town together for one last time.

Black Sabbath Bridge

Proposed plan for a heavy metal bench and Black Sabbath Bridge in Birmingham

Once officially announced by the city council, the scheme would coincide with plans to make Bill Ward the band’s fourth and final recipient of a Walk of Stars award.

At the same time, Black Sabbath the group would also be awarded one collectively.

The two-year transition from a blues band called Earth to the fully-fledged demonic heavy metal band Black Sabbath sparked a global music revolution which has spawned multiple strands of ‘metal’ music from ‘death metal’ to ‘thrash metal’.

Originally managed by city music stalwart Jim Simpson, it is 50 years since the godfathers of heavy metal played their first gig at The Crown pub on Station Street.

And it’s almost two years since they brought their final world tour The End to a thunderous climax with two stunning shows at the Genting Arena in February, 2017.

The Black Sabbath Bridge

The Black Sabbath cross superimposed on to Broad Street

Meanwhile, the pub has stood empty for more than four years despite local campaigners calling for it to be turned into a rock and roll museum equivalent of Liverpool’s The Cavern.

Now BirminghamLive has learned of a Westside BID proposal for the stretch of Broad Street over the canal next to Symphony Hall and the ICC to be called the Black Sabbath Bridge.

The special bench would be against the railings overlooking the New Main Line canal with rock venue Arena Birmingham in the distance.

Plans to give the band and drummer Bill Ward their own Walk of Stars awards would enable pavement ‘stars’ for all members and the band to be realigned in the shape of a cross in front of the bench.

The idea is one of a number of local initiatives to ‘create new significant visitor attractions for both locals and tourists from around the globe’.

The scheme has been developed from an idea by Egyptian-born Black Sabbath superfan Mohammed Osama, now based in Dubai, who approached Westside BID on Broad Street.

Artwork has been done by Egyptian artist Tarek Abdelkawi – an illustrator, graphic designer and musician with an architectural background.

It is being supported by Home of Metal, which will stage a major exhibition at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in the summer of 2019.

Jim Simpson is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of Big Bear Records in Edgbaston.

And he is still running the Birmingham International Jazz Festival which will return for its 35th year from July 19-28 in 2019.

What do the backers say?

Mohammed Osama says: “If we get approval, all of the stars will be rearranged and the bridge itself will also be named after the band – the band members and their managements have been in the loop as well.”

Mohammed is a 35-year-old Egyptian consultant architect now living in Dubai.

A fan of the band since the age of seven, he now counts Geezer Butler and wife Gloria as personal friends even though they are based in LA.

Mohammed was at Villa Park in February this year and accompanied Geezer to the pitch where the famously shy bass player was presented with his Broad Street Walk of Stars award.

“My vision is to reunite the four original members for the unveiling of the stars and ‘Metal Bench’ (the crowning jewel of the whole project),” says Mohammed.

“I mean just reunite them together at their hometown, no gigs or anything.

“Just the four of them being celebrated together at their home town would be the best ending and closure I could possibly think of.

Black Sabbath

The first picture of Black Sabbath taken by original manager Jim Simpson in 1968 of Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, on a bank of grass close to Portland Road, Edgbaston (Image: Jim Simpson)

“For them on a personal level and for their fans all around the globe.

“The ‘Metal Bench’ aims to be a major tribute to the band and at the same time, create a major tourist landmark on Broad Street!

“The Bull statue at the Bullring is one of the most photographed sculptures in England.

“We hope this new bench would rival that.”

via Birmingham Live

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