“Welcome to Ozzy Osbourne International Airport.”
It sounds like something out of a parody (or a nightmare, depending on who you are), but you might be hearing that exact sentence in the future if you touch down in Birmingham, England, where Ozzy and his Black Sabbath bandmates hail from and where they formed the legendary heavy metal group.
According to local newspaper The Birmingham Mail, Jim Simpson — the man who first discovered the band — is leading a charge to rename Birmingham Airport after Ozzy.
The paper quoted Simpson as saying, “The message that would carry is instantly international, confident, powerful, unforgettable and says ‘Hey World, we are proud of our own.'” He also noted that “Ozzy might not always have been a paragon of virtue, but he is a genuine flesh and blood Brummie.” (“Brummie” is a term that residents of Birmingham use to identify themselves; Sabbath’s Geezer Butler and Bill Ward and Judas Priest’s Rob Halford once recorded as “The Bullring Brummies.”)
Birmingham Councillor Philip Parkin was behind a effort to establish a “Black Sabbath Day” in Birmingham, but those plans were delayed — possibly shelved — a few weeks ago. The working class city is apparently trying to use their musical heritage as a way to attract tourism; other than Sabbath and Priest, the Electric Light Orchestra, Duran Duran and UB40 all hail from there.
Parkin tells the Birmingham Mail that he’s optimistic about the idea of renaming the airport: “It’s an interesting idea and I’ve got an open mind but I think something like that would need to be consulted on fairly widely because it’s a significant part of our infrastructure. I would be interested to know what people thought about that as an idea.”
— Brian Ives, CBS Local