Black Sabbath super fan’s living room rebuilt in museum

Stephen Knowles in his living room devoted to Black Sabbath Image copyright Katja Ogrin
Image caption Stephen Knowles’ living room has been described as a “mini-museum” to Black Sabbath

A Black Sabbath super fan has had his living room rebuilt at a museum as part of an exhibition celebrating 50 years of the band.

Stephen Knowles said his room was his own mini museum to Sabbath.

It is part of a number of pieces at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in the first of a series of shows celebrating the history of Heavy Metal.

The exhibition, opening on Wednesday, also features a fan’s motorcycle adapted in tribute to the band.

Black Sabbath was founded by Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward in Aston, Birmingham, in 1968.

They are credited with inventing the distinctive riffs that characterised the Heavy Metal sound.

Image copyright Home of Metal
Image caption Stephen Knowles has also donated a portion of his Sabbath T-shirt collection to the exhibition

Mr Knowles, 53, from Dudley, first became a fan of the band in the early 70s.

His collection began small, he said, buying his first T-shirt in Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre in 1975.

But he now has more than 1,000 Sabbath T-shirts, and has travelled all over the world to watch the band play.

His living room is covered in pictures of him and the band, tour posters, T-shirts, backstage passes, badges, programmes and a framed record.

Image copyright Home of Metal
Image caption The exhibition will feature historical photos and memorabilia sourced directly from all of the original Black Sabbath members
Image copyright Home of Metal
Image caption Ozzy Osbourne’s Gucci Leather Waistcoat has been donated to the exhibition by Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne…
Image copyright Home of Metal
Image caption …as have his glasses

In total 250 items have been taken from his collection, though he said this represented only a “tiny part” of his full collection, which he estimated had cost him tens of thousands of pounds.

“They had lots of changes to their management in the early 70s and lots of their albums were reissued,” Mr Knowles said.

“It started off trying to collect the original Vertigo ones, then it got slightly out of hand.”

The museum said the exhibition “celebrates Black Sabbath from the perspective of their fans” and would include key costumes loaned by the band members themselves, including an outfit worn by Geezer Butler at a concert at Birmingham’s Town Hall and featured in the gatefold of the 1972 Vol 4 album; Ozzy Osborne’s glasses; Tony Iommi’s home studio and a part of Bill Ward’s drum kit used in the 1974 Cal Jam, in which Black Sabbath performed in front of 250,000 people.

Image copyright Home of Metal
Image caption Ric Lovett’s motorcycle has been adapted in tribute to the band

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Ric Lovett, 52, from Winchester in Hampshire, said it had taken about four years to get his custom motorbike in its current form.

From custom airbrush work, engraving, a plectrum embedded in the master cylinder and moulded hands to hold up the back mudguard, every element of the bike has been adapted to honour Sabbath.

He said: “I first got into Sabbath when I was about 11, a friend owed me something and he gave me his brother’s Black Sabbath album to repay the debt.

“I listened to it and it sounded so different to everything I had ever heard, as a child I thought ‘I don’t know if I am supposed to be listening to this’.

“And it has always stayed like that, it is never out of style because it was never in style.”

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