This legendary rock group are cited as the leading pioneers of heavy metal, and formed in Birmingham in 1968. The original line-up featured lead guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and of course singer Ozzy Osbourne. They have since sold over 70 million records worldwide and won numerous awards, not bad for a few Brummies.
Trivia: Drummer Bill Ward was subject to a variety of life threatening pranks whilst part of Black Sabbath, including having his beard set alight giving him 3rd degree burns, and being fully spray painted in gold after passing out following heavy drinking. Must have been down Fab.
Dexys Midnight Runners:
Very popular during the 1980’s, Dexys Midnight Runners are most well-known today for their hit ‘Come On Eileen’, but they had 7 other top-20 hits, including another UK number 1 in ‘Geno’. The band are still recording today under the simplified name Dexys, and released the album ‘Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul’ in 2016.
Trivia: The band’s name is partly derived from the recreational drug Dexedrine, a popular stimulant which gave music lovers the energy to dance all night.
Selling over 100 million records worldwide Duran Duran formed in Birmingham in 1978, and are still making music today nearly 40 years on, with their latest release ‘Paper Gods’ out in 2015. The original group was formed by keyboardist Nick Rhodes and bassist John Taylor, and eventually included Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor and Simon Le Bon.
Trivia: For a time, Duran Duran were the resident band at the Rum Runner nightclub which was to be found on our very own Broad Street, until it was demolished in 1987.
A more recent addition to the Birmingham hall of fame, Editors formed in 2002. Their album ‘An End Has A Start’ went to number 1 in the UK Album Chart in 2007, and earned the band a Brit Awards nomination for best British Band.
Trivia: The indie-rock band initially began life being called Pilot, then The Pride, then Snowfield, and then finally settled on Editors. Rumour has it they stumbled across the name while editing their band name for the 3rd time.
Two years after the formation of Editors, another indie-rock group sprung up in Birmingham: The Twang. They have gone on to release four studio album, their most successful being their first in 2007, ‘Love It When I Feel Like This’, which reached number 3 in the UK album chart.
Trivia: Their original name NEONTWANG became the name of their most recent album in 2014.
Legendary in the British reggae – and indeed mainstream – scene, UB40 have had over 50 singles in the UK singles chart, as well as their two most successful albums, ‘Labour of Love’ (1983) and ‘Promises and Lies’ (1993), reaching no. 1 in the UK albums chart.
Trivia: The original line-up remained unchanged for nearly 29 years, and represented a diverse range of ethnicities, with musicians of English, Irish, Jamaican, Scottish and Yemeni parentage.
Wizzard are essentially a one-hit-wonder, but what a hit it is in ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’! The hit has re-entered the UK top 50 chart every year from 2007 (and always around December for some reason).
Trivia: Wizzard ran into financial difficulties partly due to singer Bill Hunt’s fondness for smashing up piano’s while playing gigs.