Black Sabbath Bridge

Birmingham, England

The Black Sabbath Bridge: honouring one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time.

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- Magnus Hagdorn

Discovering Black Sabbath Bridge

"It has genuinely become a fantastic tourist attraction for Birmingham."

Mr Olley.

Birmingham, England, is synonymous with heavy metal music, so it is no wonder that one of its most iconic landmarks, the Black Sabbath Bridge, honours this musical heritage. Positioned proudly on Broad Street, above the Canal Street bridge, the monument – a bench — now represents the city's favourite heavy metal band, Black Sabbath, and their profound impact on the world of music.

Black Sabbath Bridge
- Tim Ellis

The Birth of Black Sabbath

In 1968, Birmingham, England, bore the scars of World War II bombings, with smokestacks belching black clouds over a working-class landscape. Amid the streets of Aston against this gritty backdrop emerged a quartet of musicians who were a musical force unlike any other.

Drawing inspiration from a Boris Karloff horror film, locals Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward formed Black Sabbath and forged a path through the rising heavy metal landscape. Their departure from the peace-and-love themes of their contemporaries marked a shift toward darker, more provocative material.

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- Elliott Brown

Songs like "War Pigs" and "Black Sabbath" challenged societal norms, tackling difficult themes like war. Their unique sound, characterised by the eerie devil's tritone, set them apart from their contemporaries and defined the up-and-coming genre of heavy metal.

Despite initial apprehension from authorities and conservative groups, Black Sabbath's influence ignited a musical revolution. The emergence of heavy metal as a genre found resonance not only in the U.K. but worldwide.

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- Elliott Brown

Deciding to Honour Black Sabbath

For Black Sabbath, Birmingham holds a special place in their hearts as the birthplace of their rise to fame. The city's admiration for its homegrown heroes was evident when a monument was dedicated to them and a bridge was renamed in their honour. This coincided with the Home of Metal exhibition in 2019, a major exhibition, from 26th June to 29th September, celebrating Black Sabbath at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

The decision to dedicate a monument to the band, spearheaded by architect and superfan Mohammed Osama, culminated in the installation of the Black Sabbath Bench. Crafted from heavy metal, the bench features intricate etchings of the band members' likenesses and signatures. The bench bears the inscription "Geezer. Ozzy. Tony. Bill. Made in Birmingham 1968," emphasising the band's roots and profound influence on the city's cultural landscape.

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- Elliott Brown

“One of the greatest bands to come from Birmingham."

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, the cabinet member for Transport and the Environment at Birmingham City Council.

By dedicating a prominent city landmark to the band, Birmingham reaffirmed its status as the birthplace of heavy metal and celebrated the global legacy of its homegrown talent.

Unveiling the Black Sabbath Bench and Bridge

The unveiling of the Black Sabbath Bench was originally a private affair in February 2019. However, its public launch on 26th June was a momentous occasion, marked by the presence of band members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, who arrived in style aboard a narrowboat to unveil the newly renamed Black Sabbath Bridge signage.

"I can't wait for what's going to be such a memorable event, and one where I can once again thank the loyalty of our great fans."

Geezer Butler, the band's bassist.

The Black Sabbath Bench would now occupy a permanent space on the renamed Black Sabbath Bridge, spanning the canal on Broad Street. Tribute band Sabbra Cadabra provided the perfect soundtrack for the occasion, amplifying the heavy metal spirit that defines Birmingham's musical heritage.

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- diamond geezer

Ani Sutton, community engagement manager at the Trust, expressed excitement about the event's potential to attract tourists to the city. During the ceremony, Sutton’s desires were realised as hundreds of fans eagerly gathered at St Luke's Church on Gas Street while the band were presented with the extraordinary Black Sabbath Bench. Comedian Jasper Carrott humorously predicted that the bench would affectionately become known as the "heavy metal bench.”

"These are our fans, and some of them have come from all over the world, and it's just brilliant to see that."

Tony Iommi.

The band’s gratitude for the tribute was palpable as they engaged with fans and reminisced about the band's extraordinary journey from local heroes to global icons. Mike Olley, manager of Westside Business Improvement District, aptly summarised the commemoration as an honour for "what's arguably Birmingham's most famous band."

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- dr_zoidberg

"The bridge name and commemorative bench are both terrific and we're thrilled that everyone can now enjoy what has become a special location for Black Sabbath history."

Tony Iommi.

Tony Iommi, expressed his admiration for the bench, hailing it as "absolutely great" and a huge honour. Although Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward have yet to visit the bench in person. Beyond the bench’s unveiling, drummer Bill Ward was honoured with a star on Birmingham's Walk of Stars.

"It's so nice to see the appreciation that the bench generates."

Mr Olley.

Today, visiting the Black Sabbath Bridge and Bench acts as a musical pilgrimage for fans of Black Sabbath and heavy metal lovers.

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- Elliott Brown

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What you need to know

Black Sabbath Bridge
Black Sabbath Bench, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2DY, United Kingdom
52.477909347765305, -1.9109824785327
Tips before you visit

The bridge is above the Broad Street Tunnel on the BCN Main Line canal.