Pub Where BLACK SABBATH Played Its First-Ever Show Secures Grade II Listing

March 15, 2024

The Birmingham, United Kingdom pub where BLACK SABBATH performed its first-ever gig has just secured a Grade II listing.

A Grade II-listed building is defined as a U.K. building or structure that is "of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it". Grade II is a classification that can be applied to a wide variety of buildings and other structures, in a range of ages, styles and locations.

Guitarist Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist Geezer Butler and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne — known as EARTH at the time — played their first show together in 1968 at Henry's Blueshouse, which was situated upstairs inside The Crown Inn.

The Crown Inn has also hosted the likes of JUDAS PRIEST, STATUS QUO, THIN LIZZY and THE WHO throughout the years.

The establishment was built in 1881 and shut in 2014 after it was bought by a Japanese development company. It has remained derelict ever since.

Iommi said: "Cities all over the U.K. are protecting their musical heritage. Birmingham shouldn't be left behind. The Crown has huge significance to us and many other successful acts. It was one of very few venues that supported the emerging rock scene with a blues club and was home to our first-ever gig."

Louise Brennan, Historic England regional director (Midlands),said: "The Crown is a one-of-a-kind building with history written in its walls. It's a Birmingham cultural landmark that fittingly is almost within sight of Ozzy the bull in New Street Station, and I'm really pleased it's being recognized with Grade II Listed status. Heavy metal is a gift Birmingham gave to the world and The Crown is an integral part of that story."

Music historian and founder of the Birmingham Music Archive, Jez Collins, said: "The Crown holds a special place internationally for the music industry. It is the venue that BLACK SABBATH, then called EARTH, first played the songs that would appear on their classic first two albums. In fact, the stage Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill first stood on is still there!

"This is a venue that deserves its place on Historic England's listings. But we need more. We need to ensure The Crown re-opens, we need to bring it back to life as a cultural venue, a music venue and a place people will want to visit. This brilliant news is just the beginning in the renaissance of The Crown!"

Last month, arts organization Birmingham Open Media (BOM) said it had invested more than £100,000 in a bid to bring the pub back. BMO also said it secured the £300,000 levelling up fund and raised £4.5 million of the £5 million needed to secure the building. But BOM explained the pub's current owner would only sell alongside an adjacent car park and apartments, making it a high-value transaction requiring public sector funding.

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