The Crown, an iconic venue in Birmingham, England, is being sold to developers for a rumored £1.2 million and could be completely evacuated as of June 22! Why should you care? Well, aside from famous non-metal bands like UB40 and Led Zeppelin playing here constantly, this was the first venue that ever hosted Black Sabbath! Or Black Sabbath when they were still called Earth. Current licensee of The Crown is none to pleased with the decision to sell off the venue, according to the Birmingham Mail who published the original article.
“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.”
Black Sabbath’s first manager Jim Simpson isn't happy either, of course.
“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.”
Not to mention Black Sabbath's guitarist Tony Iommi being pissed off, of course, but twofold considering it's a piece of history lost as well as one less venue for bands to perform at.
“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 other’s 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."
So there you have it- another legendary venue closes. On one hand I get that time moves on and eventually we're going to see the closings and loss of many iconic places due to things being updated and culture moving on, but why can't they be preserved to some extent? Or at the very least commemorated in some fashion with the new building. To be fair, the original article doesn't cite exactly what the new plans are for the establishment, so I guess we'll see.