The iconic Birmingham, England venue The Crown is being sold to Japanese developers for a rumored £1.2 million. Although it may look like any ordinary small venue, The Crown was a stepping stone for such bands like early Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. By stepping stone, I mean that this was where the first ever Black Sabbath show was booked, so far back that they were still called Earth. It was the first time Ozzy faces a crowd fronting a band, and music history was changed forever.
In an interview with the Birmingham Mail licensee Colleen Andrews said that she was told she had to leave by June 22nd and that she fears the history of the venue of the venue is going to be lost forever.
“I can’t understand why Birmingham City Council is allowing this to happen to our heritage,” she says. “This pub is the city’s equivalent of The Cavern in Liverpool, where The Beatles started out. It could have become a great live music venue again, and a wonderful rock museum. Everyone from The Who to Duran Duran, Thin Lizzy and The Move have played here. On the wall are the words Jim, The Doors. I thought that once John Lewis and New Street opened it was going to be fantastic. People were going to come down the new steps right opposite the pub. It was going to be the first place they would see.”
Sabbath’s first manager Jim Simpson had this to say about the sale about plans he wanted to go through with.
“I had been talking with the [Birmingham] council a year ago about turning The Crown into a rock and roll museum. The museum could have opened for an 8am breakfast and closed at 2am after becoming a rock and roll nightclub. The city council planner I spoke to liked the idea but left about four months later.”
Tony Iommi himself was definitely not pleased with the news either and had this to say about The Crown and its place in Black Sabbath’s history.
“The Crown was hugely important to the Black Sabbath story. It was where we cut our musical teeth as a blues band. We’d be playing 12-bar blues along with the many other groups who played there, and starting to develop our own identity. We had some great times there, and made many good friends. The groups would swap ideas and sit in on each others’ sets. It was where the sound of the Brum Beat scene was honed, and the start of Black Sabbath’s career. The Crown is also one of the grand old buildings of Birmingham. It may have seen better days, but I would have thought it was important for the city to preserve the heritage that is all too quickly disappearing from our streets.”
This is just another case of music history that’s going to be lost to the highest bidder.