Heaven and Hell (6:58)

Cover of Heaven and Hell

From Heaven and Hell and 45 other releases

“Heaven and Hell” is the title track to Black Sabbath’s ninth studio album, Heaven and Hell. It was written mainly by Tony Iommi, but as with almost all Black Sabbath albums, credit is given to the entire band. The lyrics were written entirely by then-newcomer Ronnie James Dio. The song has been performed by several bands of which Iommi and Dio are members including Black Sabbath, Dio, and Heaven and Hell

Ronnie James Dio himself cites it as his over-all personal favorite song of his career, the one that he feels most proud of.

In an interview for VH1’s “Heavy: The Story of Metal,” Dio stated that the song is about the ability of each human being to choose between doing good and doing evil, essentially that each person has “heaven and hell” inside themselves. When the song has been performed live by Black Sabbath, Dio or Heaven and Hell, it’s usually stretched out with an extended guitar solo, audience participation, ad libbed lyrics and/or additional lyrics regarding angelic and demonic apparitions and personal judgment. There is also a bootleg version sung by Ian Gillan. Tony Martin also sang it many times live with Black Sabbath as well as with his solo band.

Keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, who was a session keyboard player during the recording of this album, is said to have been responsible for this song’s famous bass line. The bassline closely resembles the bassline of “Mainline Riders” by Quartz, of which Nicholls was a former member.


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