Black Sabbath sits alongside the Balti Triangle and the Bullring as the first things we associate with Birmingham. The Brummie-born pioneers of heavy metal are among the city’s greatest exports. But long before they conquered the world with hits like Paranoid and Iron Man, Black Sabbath were playing local pubs and clubs in the city centre.
In fact, the first gig the influential rock band ever played was at The Crown in the city centre. The pub was built in 1881, but later became a popular music venue. It hosted early gigs by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Status Quo and UB40. The pub shut down in 2014, however, and has remained abandoned since.
This Birmingham pub has been given a second shot at life however. And is preparing to make a triumphant return as a music venue, after almost a decade out in the cold. Not only will the birthplace of metal celebrate its history with a restoration of the pub, but it will also invest in a young, up-and-coming Birmingham talent.
On top of this, The Crown will also create a ‘centre for digital inclusion’ in the pub’s car park, which will aim to support disadvantaged communities. While the redevelopment will also add several boutique bedrooms to the venue too.
The project is led by the arts organisation Birmingham Open Media (BOM), which previously worked with the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games to design the Queen’s Baton. There is currently no timeline on opening, but BOM expects the project to help 500-plus families from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Commonwealth Games’ Closing Ceremony notably also saw a performance from Black Sabbath’s singer Ozzy Osbourne. So it’s clear how important music is, and how crucial venues like The Crown are, to the city. You never know, the next Black Sabbath might be appearing in the Birmingham pub someday soon. Rock on!