Black Sabbath have been named the most important British hard rock act of all time in a major poll unveiled over the weekend by record industry trade body the BPI (British Phonographic Industry).
The Birmingham-born pioneers of heavy metal, who have sold more than 70 million records worldwide - including the 1970 classic “Paranoid” - bagged almost half of the votes (45%) in a poll of more than 3,600 hard rock / metal fans. Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin completed the trio of the most respected British hard rock legends, each taking one fifth of the votes.
“We are honoured and flattered to be acknowledged in a poll like this which is voted for by the fans,” said Black Sabbath. “We thank you.”
Metallers confirmed Britain’s reputation as the home of Metal (75%), with two thirds (67.3%) praising Britain as a “world force” in the genre. Three out of four fans believe that Britain is still producing great artists, with Sheffield’s While She Sleeps the act most hotly tipped for future success.
The survey – carried out partly in conjunction with leading publications Kerrang! and Metal Hammer – found that aficionados of hard rock and metal get bitten by the bug early, with over 40% discovering it before their teenage years.
Fans were also keen to showcase the positive aspects of the genre, with 79% stating they felt energized after listening to their favourite bands and almost three quarters (71%) saying it had helped them get through tough times. Two thirds (65%) said that they had made friends through their shared love of Metal but only 12% of respondents said that Rock and Metal were the only genres of music they listened to, with Indie, Blues and Electronic/Dance all surprise hits.
Of all the great albums in the metal canon, Metallica’s self-titled smash was revealed to be the album metal fans would recommend as the ideal introduction to the genre. Released in 1991, it has sold some 30 million copies globally and produced the Top 10 UK hits “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters.”
The ongoing, partial Black Sabbath reunion continues as Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler continue work on a new album with producer Rick Rubin while drummer Bill Ward sits things out over a contract dispute. The band’s first studio album since 1978’s “Never Say Die” is due next April.
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