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Converse, Black Sabbath join forces

They are icons from different eras, but Converse and Black Sabbath have, once again, found a shared artistic vision of the future.

The North Andover sneaker company this week launched Chuck Taylor All Star Black Sabbath collection, three sneaker designs featuring album cover art and concert imagery from the English heavy metal band.

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“We just believe unleashing the creative spirit will change the world. Black Sabbath is such a great example of that,” said Jed Lewis, global music marketing director at Converse. “They really created a paradigm shift in rock.”

In the pre-video 1970s, album art helped bands create their visual brand, and Black Sabbath’s dark imagery was the stuff of nightmares. Its “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” cover, depicted in part on a black hi-top sneaker, features a demon with outstretched arms and ‘666’ on its chest, haunting a man’s sleep. Slightly less creepy are the hi-tops featuring a concert photo of lead singer Ozzy Osbourne wearing white fringed angel wings and making a double peace sign.

“With a band like Black Sabbath, there’s such a rich history. There’s a bank of art to pull from,” said Lewis.

Though many young Converse fans may not be familiar with Sabbath’s oeuvre, Lewis said “younger and older generations are interested in the collection.”

This All Star collection is the sneaker company’s third with the band, coming on the heels of a successful spring line out earlier this year. The first Converse X Black Sabbath collection debuted in 2008. “We knew there was more art to celebrate,” said Lewis.

Jill Radsken can be reached at
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