Lack of honours for Black Sabbath highlighted in BBC interview

Lack of honours for Black Sabbath highlighted in BBC interview
Arise Sir Ozzy! We’ve had knighthoods for surviving Beatles members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Welsh star Tom Jones, and even the ultimate accolade of Sir Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones.

But sadly, as highlighted in a BBC interview this week, the gongs have not been forthcoming for any members of Birmingham rock legends Black Sabbath, despite half a century of performing to millions of fans around the world.

This has been a major disappointment to Mike Olley, the general manager of Westside BID, who is constantly reminded of the band’s enduring popularity and legacy by the hundreds of thousands of fans who have visited the Black Sabbath Bench on Broad Street since it opened in 2019.

Mike aired his frustration on BBC WM this week when he was interviewed about an exclusive video sent to him by Sharon Osbourne, in which Ozzy talks about his determination to visit the Black Sabbath Bench.

Speaking on the Rakeem Omar show, Mike said: “There is not a single gong for Black Sabbath. The nation itself does not appreciate what they’ve given the world.

“If you look at musicians across the land, many of them get acknowledgement from Her Majesty or from His Majesty. Why not a knighthood for Tony Iommi or Ozzy Osbourne? Why not an MBE? I just do not understand.”

Mike said the country did not seem to appreciate what Black Sabbath had given the world, despite the heavy metal band performing to global audiences of 100,000 and more for decades, during which they achieved two chart-topping albums more than 40 years apart.
Rakeem asked Mike why he thought Black Sabbath had been ignored when it comes to official recognition.

Mike replied: “I think because it’s a culture that’s perhaps working class. I don’t think it fits into the right critical pathways that people get gongs. So, I think they just get pushed to one side because they’re not the right sort of people.

“They’ve been famous for 50 years on a global level, and other governments have given them awards and accolades. But not our government, not our monarch, unfortunately.”

Mike also explained how back in August 2022 he had helped to organise a petition signed by Birmingham MPs and the city’s council leaders asking the then Queen Elizabeth II to “have a word with her civil servants” for overlooking the band. A polite reply was received, but nothing else has happened.

However, Mike said he was “delighted” at Ozzy expressing his desire to visit the bench, and said: “Ozzy epitomises Black Sabbath, and to have him down at the bench would be stupendous, something we’re really looking forward to. We’ve got to put on something special, and a red carpet is the very least.”

You can listen to Mike’s interview on BBC WM here, just after one hour interview on the Rakeen Omar show on 23 April. The recording is available on this link until 22 May.

Helen Maidiotis, who has been campaigning for Ozzy Osbourne to be Knighted, has issued the following update.

"Our campaign for Ozzy’s Knighthood is still going strong and we are determined to make it happen for him. His contribution to the music industry should not be ignored and it’s time that we make some noise to show the UK Cabinet that we’re not backing down.

Ozzy is the face and voice of Black Sabbath. THE most important band in music history. Many bands have been inspired & owe their success to them and especially to Ozzy who established Ozzfest.

Please sign the petition here:

Sign the Petition
Knight Mr John Michael ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne.

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