Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath album)

Heaven and Hell
Studio album by Black Sabbath
Released 25 April 1980
Recorded Criteria Recording Studios, Miami, Florida & Studio Ferber, Paris, France
1 October 1979 – 1 January 1980
Genre Heavy metal
Length 40:02
Label Vertigo
Warner Bros. (US/Canada)
Producer Martin Birch
Black Sabbath chronology
Never Say Die!
Heaven and Hell
Mob Rules

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.


Album information

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.[1]

Lineup changes

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.[2] 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".[3] 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.[4]

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.[4][5] Gruber also claims that it was he who brought in the music for "Die Young", although he is not credited for it.[4]

Bill Ward says he has "no memory" of making the album, due in part to his alcoholism.[6][page needed] 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.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [7]
Drowned in Sound 8/10 stars [8]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars [9]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [10]

The album was successful, becoming their highest-charting album (#9 UK, #28 USA[11]) since 1975's Sabotage and the third highest-selling album of Black Sabbath behind Paranoid and Master of Reality, respectively.

In the U.K., it became the third Black Sabbath studio album to attain Silver certification (60,000 units sold) by the British Phonographic Industry, achieving this in November 1980. It subsequently attained Gold certification (100,000 units sold) in April 1982, the only Black Sabbath studio album to be thus certified.

Track listing

All songs are credited (writing and arrangement) to Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler. Lyrics by Ronnie James Dio.[12]

Original Album

Side one

  1. "Neon Knights" – 3:54
  2. "Children of the Sea" – 5:35
  3. "Lady Evil" – 4:26
  4. "Heaven and Hell" – 7:00

Side two

  1. "Wishing Well" – 4:08
  2. "Die Young" – 4:46
  3. "Walk Away" – 4:26
  4. "Lonely Is the Word" – 5:53

2010 Deluxe Edition

2010 Deluxe Edition Disc 1

Disc One of the 2010 Deluxe Edition is the original album.

2010 Deluxe Edition Disc 2

  1. Children of the Sea (Live, Single B-Side, SAB3) - 6:24
  2. Heaven and Hell (Live, Single B-Side, SAB4) - 7:19
  3. Lady Evil (Mono Edit, 7" Single, WBS 495549) - 3:54
  4. Neon Knights (Live, Hartford, CT, USA, 1980) - 4:49
  5. Children of the Sea (Live, Hartford, CT, USA 1980) - 5:58
  6. Heaven and Hell (Live, Hartford, CT, USA 1980 & 12" Single Version) - 12:34
  7. Die Young (Live, Hartford, CT, USA 1980) - 4:36

Track information

"Children of the Sea"

This was the first song written by the new line-up of Sabbath and resulted from an impromptu jam session with Ronnie James Dio shortly before he joined the band. Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden said on his BBC 6 Music radio show, in an interview with Ronnie James Dio that the Iron Maiden song "Children of the Damned", from The Number of the Beast album, was inspired by "Children of the Sea".[citation needed]

"Heaven and Hell"

The music was written mainly by Tony Iommi, but credit is given to the entire band. The lyrics were written entirely by Dio.[13] In Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Dio explains the song is about how every individual has "heaven and hell" inside him or herself, as well as the ability and the choice whether to choose good or evil.

In live performances by Black Sabbath or Dio, the song was usually stretched out with extended guitar solos, audience participation and new or ad libbed lyrics. When Ian Gillan was in the band, "Heaven and Hell" featured on the US Tour and was included in the RKO "Captured Live" performance. Tony Martin also sang the song live with Black Sabbath as well as with his solo band.

The song ranked #81 on VH1's list of the top 100 hard rock songs.[14]

The song is featured in the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV on the radio station Liberty Rock Radio 97.8.

Thrash metal band, Anthrax covered part of this song during their performance at the Big Four Sonisphere tour in the middle of the song "Indians".


Year Song Chart positions
US Singles Chart UK Singles Chart
"Neon Knights" - 22
"Children of the Sea" - -
"Die Young" - 41


Black Sabbath
Additional performer
  • Smoking Angels by Lynn Curlee[12]
  • Back cover illustration by Harry Carmean[12]
  • Art direction by Richard Seireeni[12]

Release history

Region Date Label
United Kingdom 1980 Vertigo Records
United States 1980 Warner Bros. Records
United Kingdom 1996 Castle Communications
United Kingdom 2004 Sanctuary Records
United States 2008 Rhino Records

Sales accomplishments

RIAA certification[15] (United States)

Date Designation Total Sales
6 January 1981 Gold 500,000
13 May 1986 Platinum 1,000,000

BPI certification[16] (United Kingdom)

Date Designation Total Sales
4 November 1980 Silver 60,000
28 April 1982 Gold 100,000

CRIA certification[17] (Canada)

Date Designation Total Sales
1 June 1982 Gold 50,000


See also


  1. ^ Welte, Jim (22 April 2008). "Legends align for Metal Masters Tour". MP3.com. Archived from the original on 24 April 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080424114144/http://www.mp3.com/news/stories/11191.html. Retrieved 23 April 2008. 
  2. ^ Hotten, John. Black Sabbath - The Dio Years. p. 4. Archived from the original on 24 January 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20090124161532/http://images.radcity.net/6340/2165303.pdf. 
  3. ^ "The Iron Man Speaks". black-sabbath.com. March 1996. http://www.black-sabbath.com/interviews/iommi_0496.html. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Cramer, Jeff (14 November 2009). "A Very Candid Conversation with Craig Gruber". Stone Cold Crazy. jeffcramer.blogspot.com. http://jeffcramer.blogspot.com/2009/11/very-candid-conversation-with-craig.html. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Craig Gruber: ‘I Played On The Heaven & Hell Album’". Classic Rock (Future Publishing). 10 January 2009. ISSN 1464-7834. http://www.classicrockmagazine.com/news/craig-gruber-i-played-on-the-heaven-hell-album. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Brien, Jeb (producer/director); Hardiman, Monica (producer/director) (1999). Black Sabbath: the Last Supper (Documentary/Concert). Automatic Productions. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0218847/. 
  7. ^ Prato, Greg. "Black Sabbath: Heaven and Hell at Allmusic. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  8. ^ Stannard, Joseph (8 April 2010). "Black Sabbath: Heaven and Hell; Mob Rules; Live Evil (remastered)". Drowned in Sound. http://drownedinsound.com/releases/15276/reviews/4139637. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  9. ^ Munro, Tyler (15 August 2006). "Black Sabbath: Heaven and Hell". Sputnikmusic. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/8744/Black-Sabbath-Heaven-and-Hell/. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Black Sabbath: Album Guide". Rollingstone.com. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/black-sabbath/albumguide. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "Heaven and Hell: Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums" at Allmusic. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Heaven and Hell (CD) album notes. Warner Bros. Records, Inc.. 1980. pp. 2-3. 
  13. ^ "Heaven and Hell" at Allmusic. Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  14. ^ "Vh1 Top 100 Hard Rock Songs". music.spreadit.org. 1 January 2009. http://music.spreadit.org/vh1-top-100-hard-rock-songs/. Retrieved 4 February 2009. 
  15. ^ "American album certifications – Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell". Recording Industry Association of America. http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?artist=%22Heaven+and+Hell%22.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  16. ^ "British album certifications – Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell". British Phonographic Industry. http://www.bpi.co.uk/certifiedawards/search.aspx.  Enter Heaven and Hell in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  17. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Black Sabbath – Heaven & Hell". Music Canada. http://www.musiccanada.com/GPSearchResult.aspx?st=Heaven+%26+Hell&sa=Black+Sabbath&smt=0. 

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