Newly released are two classic Ronnie James Dio-fronted Black Sabbath albums — 1980’s Heaven And Hell and 1982’s Mob Rules. Each record was issued digitally, as a double-CD and two-LP set. Due to space constraints, both vinyl editions include a selection of bonus material from the CD’s.
Tony Iommi told us that the band’s legion of fans embraced the great Ronnie James Dio and the group’s turn-of-the-decade rebirth: [“The fans stuck with us — I mean, obviously, you’re going to get some that didn’t agree with it. When we first went out with Ronnie, we believed in what we did and we loved what we were doing, and so, we weren’t trying to cover anything up. We just went out and done it (sic), and we got the odd one or two, who’d shout ‘Ozzy,’ and stuff — but that soon went off once they got used to Ronnie and accepted him into the band. I mean it is so difficult to change a lead singer in a band. And a lot of bands have really fallen by the wayside by trying to do things like that. But we really believed in what we were doing — and loved what we were doing and (it was) just nice to see the crowd with us, really.”] SOUNDCUE (:34 OC: . . . with us really)
Iommi admitted he still has a soft spot for both the Dio-fronted albums: [“Those two albums, I really do love. I mean, Heaven And Hell was the initial one and that was a groundbreaking thing for us, because it was so different to what we’ve done before. And I knew that those songs were really good. They just felt — y’know when you get that feeling that this is it, this is great. And I’ve always worked — I have to like it first. If I don’t like it, it’s not worth trying to record it and put it out.”] SOUNDCUE (:22 OC: . . . put it out)
- Tony Iommi told us Black Sabbath appreciated how their fans embraced second frontman, Ronnie James Dio: “We really believed in what we were doing — and loved what we were doing and (it was) just nice to see the crowd with us, really.”
- Ronnie James Dio replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath in 1979, with Heaven And Hell earning the band rave reviews with such instant classics as “Neon Knights” and the title track.
- The album hit Number Nine in Britain and topped out at Number 28 in the U.S., where it was also certified platinum.
- 1981’s Mob Rules included drummer Vinny Appice joining the band, with the album soon certified gold on the strength of such favorites as “The Sign Of The Southern Cross,” “Turn Up The Night,” and the title track.
- The Ronnie James Dio-fronted lineup of Black Sabbath disbanded in 1982 but reunited a decade later to record Dehumanizer and tour before going on hiatus again.
- The group came together again in 2006 to record three new songs for Rhino’s era-spanning collection, Black Sabbath: The Dio Years. The collaboration led to a highly anticipated world tour in 2007 where the group was billed as Heaven And Hell.
- The band’s final album of new material was 2009’s The Devil You Know.