The Birmingham pub where Black Sabbath began has been sold to developers – and the landlady has been ordered to get out by next Monday.
The Crown played host to the fledgling outfit when they were still known as Earth, and long before they became one of the biggest bands on the planet.
Plans to turn it into a permanent museum while still operating as a cafe, pub and club had been discussed for some time. But now owners Admiral Taverns have sold the premises to a Japanese firm – and licensee Collen Andrews, who took over nine months ago, has been given her marching orders.
She tells the Birmingham Mail: “This pub is the city’s equivalent of the Cavern in Liverpool. It could have become a great venue again and a wonderful museum.”
Jim Simpson, Sabbath’s first manager, says: “The Crown was the birthplace of the band, where Ozzy Osbourne faced a crowd for the first time.
“We started to cater for a band called Bakerloo, whose guitarist Clem Clempson went on to Humble Pie. Robert Plant used to come in and jam with anybody who was playing. We put on the likes of Rory Gallagher and Taste, and Status Quo. John Peel adopted us.
“I had been talking to the council a year ago about turning the Crown into a museum. It could have opened for breakfast and closed at 2am. The city planner liked the idea – but left about four months later.”
Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has spoken of his regret at the sale, saying: “We had some great times there, and made many good friends. The Crown 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.
“It is a matter of concern, too, that music pubs are getting thin on the ground. Back in the 60s and 70s these were the places where today’s big groups started out. Where are the opportunities for new bands to get their act together?”
Admiral Taverns confirmed the sale had gone through, saying the new owner had the “required funds to invest in the future of this property” and that “the current licensee is aware of the situation.”