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British MPs ask Queen Elizabeth II to honour Black Sabbath for their services to music

Black Sabbath
(Image credit: Chris Walter/WireImage)

Seven MPs representing Birmingham have written to Queen Elizabeth II to request that Black Sabbath be honoured for their services to music.

This unusual request follows in the wake of Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and guitarist Tony Iommi reuniting onstage in their hometown on August 8 for a
surprise appearance at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games: the pair were joined by bassist Adam Wakeman (formerly Ozzy's touring keyboardist) and Tommy Clufetos (formerly Sabbath's live drummer) to perform Paranoid at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium.

The petition to the Queen was made by Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, and is backed by MPs from across the political spectrum, including Labour's Jess Phillips, and Conservative Gary Sambrook.

The letter reads:

"Your Royal Highness, 

Please forgive the direct nature of this letter. We, the undersigned humble subjects, humbly ask you to bestow an honour on the Black Sabbath rock group, who were formed in Birmingham in 1968 by guitarist Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist Geezer Butler and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. 

"They are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970) and Master Of Reality (1971).

"Following the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, which took place in my Birmingham Perry Barr constituency, I have been inundated with requests that Black Sabbath be recognised for its services to music and to the City of Birmingham. For all their global fame, they have kept strong links with Birmingham, demonstrated by their barnstorming surprise performance at the closing ceremony of Commonwealth Games."

"I appreciate this request is not within the normal procedures of seeking royal honours," the letter continues. "However, we feel that this extraordinary occasion deserves extraordinary recognition of this extraordinary group of musicians. The band's services to music seem to have been overlooked by the usual process.

"We therefore seek direct intervention and support from Your Majesty to recognise the great contribution made by these fine and ground-breaking musicians, who were made in Birmingham and who have once again not just entertained Birmingham, the United Kingdom and the whole of the Commonwealth but perhaps the world."

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Queen Elizabeth II has yet to publicly respond to the petition. 

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.