While the sexagenarian heavy metal pioneers of Black Sabbath continue on with their worldwide farewell tour, careening headlong toward their ultimate live performance on their old Birmingham, England stomping grounds on February 4, the Sheffield Auction Gallery is preparing to sell off small bits of memorabilia from the band’s earliest days.
Among the items going up on the auction block September 30 will be a piece of notebook paper upon which the lyrics to the 1971 song “Solitude” (originally titled “Changing Phases”) were originally scrawled; a promotional poster from when the band was less-spookily named “Earth,” and some postcards that a fresh-faced young maniac named John T. Osbourne (better known as Ozzy) wrote to his parents from the road. “Arrived here safely, but it is not a very nice place,” the vocalist wrote nearly five decades ago of France. “I don’t think the people like long hair.”
All of the items in the assemblage of historically significant bric-a-brac—which was “discovered by a Sheffield resident in the 1980s when the old London Dockland was demolished”—are dated from 1968 to 1973.
“It is discoveries like this that make my job so fulfilling,” specialist music valuer and auctioneer Stephen Flintoft said in a statement. “It is perhaps ironic as Black Sabbath bring their career to an end, the story goes full circle and [artifacts] from their very beginning come to light.”