Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell (1980)

Heaven and Hell is an album by Black Sabbath, released in May 1980. This was the first album after the removal of singer Ozzy Osbourne from the band and was the first album featuring Ronnie James Dio , formally of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow , who brought his own unique style of song writing and vocalisation to the band. With the changing of singers, a change in songwriting approaches, and the sound crafting skills of famous heavy metal producer Martin Birch, the band altered their trademark drudge rock to a more faster, slicker and melodic sound.
The addition of Dio to the Sabbath lineup was not the only change made at this point however. Geoff Nicholls of Quartz was scheduled to join the band, because Geezer Butler had been threatening to quit the band and had not been around through most of the writing sessions. Initially, Geoff Nicholls was brought in to play bass and co-write, but when Geezer decided to stay with the group, Nicholls switched to keyboards as a session musician, and remained as Black Sabbath's keyboard player for over twenty years (although he was only credited as an "official" band member from 1986-1990 and 1993-1995, often hidden off-stage for live shows). In fact, the bass line for the title track was written by Geoff, which Geezer once said is a line so simple that he himself never would have come up with it. When Geezer returned to the recording studio, all but one track ("Neon Knights") had already been written for the album. Former Elf and Rainbow bassist Craig Gruber was said to have been brought in temporarily for these sessions, and rumours were circulated (although recently dispelled by Iommi) that it was Gruber who actually played on the album. Drummer Bill Ward says he has "no memory" of making the album, due in part to his alcoholism and hospitalization (when Tony Iommi set his beard on fire). Drinking and other personal factors would eventually lead him to drop out of the subsequent tour.
The exact origins of much of this album's material is still a topic of debate. Ozzy 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 Dio before Ozzy was formally fired. The song "Children of the Sea" was written by Dio and Iommi during their very first session. It is unclear how much of the album - if any - was actually written by bassist Geezer Butler or drummer Bill Ward.
The title track is - by some interpretations - about contradictions and hypocrisy in the way good versus evil is typically portrayed. Dio himself was quoted in VH1's documentary series Heavy: The Story of Metal saying that the album's eponymous song is about how every individual has "Heaven and Hell" inside themself, as well the ability and the choice whether to choose good or evil. Other notable tracks are "Neon Knights", "Children of the Sea" and "Die Young". Heaven and Hell remains one of Black Sabbath's best-selling albums, and was their highest charting album (#9 UK, #28 USA) since 1975's Sabotage. The album revitalised Sabbath's fortunes after what many saw as the death of the group following Ozzy's departure.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's strange. I'm a die hard Sabbath fan (the Ozzy years) and a fan of DIO, but I've never been interested in buying these two albums, thinking they were crap compared with gems like Master of reality. But after downloading them I realise that I've been a fool. These two ROCKS!! (Should not be that surprised since Live evil is so good, and lets face it; Live at last is rubbish.) I think Ozzy, Sabbath and Dio all should be happy things turned out the way it did! Ozzys solo albums have been great too (until MTV destroyed him)
I went to a DIO consert last year, and that man still kicks ass!! Was fun to see that Rudy and Simon were still alive and rockin' with the old wizzard. I remember Simon from the days he was playing in ACDC and I was too young to go to their shows.

Thanx for sharing! And for the interesting info