Birmingham Wetherspoons pub apologises for ‘worst ever’ Ozzy Osbourne tribute & replaces it

Music fans weren’t too impressed by a tribute to Ozzy Osbourne which appeared in one Birmingham Wetherspoons pub earlier this summer - and now Wetherspoons has apologised

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A tribute to one of Birmingham’s most famous faces caused quite a stir when it appeared inside the Wetherspoon pub at New Street station earlier this year.

A artwork panel featuring Ozzy Osbourne which was displayed on the wall of the bar - named after railway operators London and Northwestern - was labelled ‘arguably the most disastrous tribute to Ozzy ever’.

BirminghamWorld told Wetherspoon that Music experts at Guitar World magazine weren’t impressed with the tribute to the Prince of Darkness. We also reported how Westside BID manager Mike Olley, who oversees Broad Street - the home of the Black Sabbath Bridge and Bench - also commented on the image of Ozzy calling it a “well meant mess up”.

Now spokesman for Wetherspoons has apologised for the ‘factually incorrect artwork’ and has apologised for any upset it caused. The tribute in question was based on an iconic image, taken by Paul Natkin, which shows Ozzy Osbourne and American guitarist Randy Rhoads together. In the original picture Ozzy can be seen lifting up the Quiet Riot musician as he plays his polka dot guitar while on stage in Illinois in 1982.

Wetherspoons pub in Birmingham New Street Rail StationWetherspoons pub in Birmingham New Street Rail Station
Wetherspoons pub in Birmingham New Street Rail Station

The famous rock photo was also used as the artwork for Ozzy’s 1987 live album Tribute. But the photo which was on display in Birmingham’s New Street Station Wetherspoons - called The London and North Western - was an altered version of the famous shot.

Instead, it showed Ozzy photoshopped over Randy so you can see Ozzy playing the guitar instead, despite the fact the Sabbath frontman couldn’t actually play the instrument. Guitar World called the image an ‘butchered manipulation’ of the iconic shot.

Classic Rock called the image the ‘world’s most grotesque tribute’ to Ozzy and one of the ‘Great Photoshop Disasters of the modern era’. Ozzy previously revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone that not knowing how to play guitar was one of his ‘biggest regrests’. “I can play a little bit of harmonica, and that’s about it. But I have an ear for melody,” he told Rolling Stone.

The new Ozzy panel at the London and North Western Wetherspoon in New Street The new Ozzy panel at the London and North Western Wetherspoon in New Street
The new Ozzy panel at the London and North Western Wetherspoon in New Street

But now, the pub has replaced the controversial tribute with a new panel of Ozzy (which you can see above). It shows a more recent image of the Sabbath frontman with a microphone in his hand, with a comment that he helped to form the band in 1968.

The updated artwork also pays tribute to the city’s history and culture, featuring a timeline of historic figures and events from the city and region, including images of Lenny Henry and Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to Birmingham.

Wetherspoon apologises for ‘factually incorrect’ Ozzy tribute after BirminghamWorld story

Wetherspoon Spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “The story written by BirminghamWorld brought to our attention the fact that the Ozzy Osbourne picture on display initially wasn’t suitable and was factually incorrect.

“We took that onboard and took the necessary action by taking that one down which was incorrect and replacing it with the new one. Hopefully people will be happy with the new tribute in place.”

He added: “The original painting was put up in good faith, but when it was pointed out to us that it was incorrect we took the appropriate action. If you’re going to pay tribute to someone from the city you have to get it absolutely right which wasn’t the case at the time, so we do apologise if we have upset anyone. Hopefully that’s been rectified now.”