Take a walk down the Sabbath trail in the land of Oz-zy

To many they are simply houses, schools and pubs – relatively few know of their importance in the story of one of the world’s biggest rock bands.

Take a walk down the Sabbath trail in the land of Oz-zy

The legendary Black Sabbath

But 43-year-old Rob Horrocks, of Handsworth, is working to change all that by allowing fans to walk in the footsteps of the legendary Black Sabbath.

Mr Horrocks runs Crossroads of Sabbath, a walking tour taking in sites of importance to band members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.

Alongside sharing information on the different venues and their links to the band, he also places the group in its economic and historical context looking at the industrial and social heritage of the area.

And the 90-minute tour is not the only way Mr Horrocks is celebrating the importance of the band. He has organised an event at Newtown Community Centre, one of the stops on the tour, called Ozzy Zig, The Witch and The Warpig, which will be staged on September 20.

The tour:

It will be a three-act performance where the band’s first two LPs, Black Sabbath and Paranoid, will be played. Act one will focus on the band’s formative years looking at musical styles of the era, the second will see the first album played, the band’s second LP Paranoid played.

The event will include sets and re-enactments. It will run from 3.30pm to 6pm.

Mr Horrocks said: “With the 45th anniversary of Paranoid coming up I decided to do an event to raise the profile of the location as a site of relevance in the Black Sabbath story. 

“I love the idea that all those years ago the lads booked the room and what they did there ended up being relevant for years to come.” 

It was the impact Black Sabbath had which first inspired Mr Horrocks to create the Crossroads of Sabbath walk in the first place.

“I have lived near the Aston area for around 20 years and I am deeply interested in its history,” he said.

sabbath
Fans can walk in the footsteps of heavy metal heroes Black Sabbath on a tour of their old stomping grounds. Left, Bill Ward, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler

“Around nine years ago I managed a band in Birmingham called Einstellung. They were influenced by Black Sabbath and said I should listen to the music. I was also involved with a project called the Home of Metal.

“I am fascinated by the history of the band combined with the economic and social history which created such a force. For me the band are one of the most interesting things to come out of Birmingham.”

Mr Horrocks said it had taken him around two years to research the walk. It takes in a number of key sites – including the schools of vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler.

The £6 tour also includes the community centre where the band rehearsed. Tours are held on an ad hoc basis with the next one scheduled for September 12. Booking is available on the website www.crossroadsofsabbath.com

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