Black Sabbath Crowned Most Important British Metal Act of All Time

  • Britain hailed as the spiritual home of metal, with the UK still regarded as a world force in the genre.
  • Metallica’s smash self-titled album revealed as the perfect introduction to metal. 
  • Iconic heavy metal band Black Sabbath were crowned the most important British hard rock act of all time in a major poll unveiled today by record industry trade body the BPI. 

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.

Commenting on the poll-topping news, Black Sabbath said,

“We are honoured and flattered to be acknowledged in a poll like this which is voted for by the fans. 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 energised 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 30m copies globally and produced the Top 10 UK hits Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters.


For more information, contact:

• Adam Liversage on 020 7803 1326 / 0780 1179032 or email
• Lynne McDowell on 020 7803 1395 / 07763 619709 or email

Notes to Editors
The results were drawn from an online survey of more than 3,600 visitors to the websites of participating record labels, metal publications, and music sites including Roadrunner Records, Spinefarm Records, Metal Hammer, Kerrang!, Peaceville Records, the Official Charts Company, and Music Matters.

About BPI
The BPI is the representative voice of the UK recorded music business. The BPI is a trade organisation funded by its members - which include hundreds of independent music companies and the UK’s four major record labels. The BPI’s members account for approximately 90% of all recorded music sold in the UK, and globally the UK's recorded music market is the fourth biggest.

The BPI also organises the annual BRIT Awards show as well as the Classic BRIT Awards show. The organising company, BRIT Awards Limited, is a fully owned subsidiary of the BPI. Substantial proceeds from both shows go to the BRIT Trust, the charitable arm of the BPI that has donated almost £15m to charitable causes nationwide since its foundation in 1989.

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