Ozzy Osbourne's band Black Sabbath has been crowned the most influential British hard rock act of all time in a major new poll by the British Phonographic Industry (Bpi).

The Birmingham-born hitmakers saw off competition from Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin to take 45 per cent of the votes in a survey of more than 3,600 British rock fans.

Both Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin gained a respectable 20 per cent of the vote, conducted in collaboration with heavy metal magazines Kerrang! and Metal Hammer.

In a statement, 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."