Heaven and Hell is the ninth studio album by British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in April 1980. This is their first album featuring Ronnie James Dio, and first with producer Martin Birch.
Heaven and Hell became one of Black Sabbath's best-selling albums, revitalising Sabbath's fortunes after what many saw as the death of the group following original lead singer Ozzy Osbourne's departure. The album was re-released in the Black Sabbath box set The Rules of Hell
This was the first album after singer Ozzy Osbourne was fired from the band and replaced with Ronnie James Dio. Geoff Nicholls of Quartz also joined the band as a possible replacement for Geezer Butler who had not been around through most of the writing sessions and was going through a divorce at the time. When Butler decided to stay with the group, Nicholls switched to keyboards. Nicholls remained as Black Sabbath's keyboard player for over twenty years, usually playing live shows from off-stage.
Former Elf and Rainbow bassist Craig Gruber also rehearsed with the band. Gruber's involvement appears to be a point of debate. In a 1996 interview, Tony Iommi mentions that Gruber played with the band for "a bit". Gruber has stated that his time with the band was much more substantial and that he only left the group once Butler decided to return.
Drummer Bill Ward completed this album and toured with the band through August, but drinking and other personal factors would eventually prevent him from completing the Black and Blue Tour which featured Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult. Ward's mid-tour replacement Vinny Appice would become an official member.
Writing and composition
The exact origins of much of this album's material is still a topic of debate. Osbourne apparently attempted to record some of what would become "Heaven and Hell" before being fired; all of this material was scrapped. Sabbath had in fact begun demoing material with singer Ronnie James Dio before Osbourne was formally fired.
The song "Children of the Sea" was written by Dio and Iommi during their very first session. When Butler returned to the recording studio, all but one track ("Neon Knights") had already been written for the album. Craig Gruber claims that it is his bass playing that appears on the album.Gruber also claims that it was he who brought in the music for "Die Young", although he is not credited for it.
Bill Ward says he has "no memory" of making the album, due in part to his alcoholism. It is unclear how much of the album, if any, was actually written by bassist Geezer Butler or drummer Bill Ward.
The album's cover art was taken from a painting by artist Lynn Curlee, entitled "Smoking Angels". Curlee was also commissioned to do an album cover for Blue Öyster Cult by Sandy Pearlman who was at the time manager of both Black Sabbath and Blue Öyster Cult. The same idea of this artwork is seen four years later in Van Halen's album 1984. This artwork features an angel with a cigarette in his hand, and two packs of cigarettes beside him.
Ronnie James Dio – vocals
Tony Iommi – guitar
Geezer Butler – bass
Bill Ward – drums
Geoff Nicholls – keyboards
Produced and engineered by Martin Birch
Assistant engineer – Joe "C" Foglia
Equipment: Graham Wright and Mickey Balla
Remastered by Dan Hersch (2008 reissue)
Smoking Angels by Lynn Curlee
Back cover illustration by Harry Carmean
Art direction by Richard Seireeni
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