Flashback: Black Sabbath Rise Yet Again as Heaven and Hell

Rolling Stone

The band that went on tour in 2007 was named Heaven and Hell, but fans knew the truth. This was Black Sabbath. All four members from the Mob Rules and Dehumanizer periods of the band – Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice – participated, but they opted to call it Heaven and Hell because the Ozzy Osbourne-fronted version of the band still toured occasionally and nobody wanted to kill that golden goose.

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Unlike previous tours by the Dio-fronted Sabbath, they didn't perform a single song from the Ozzy era in 2007. They entire set list drew from Dio's brief periods in the band in early 1980s and early Nineties, along with a couple of new songs they'd cut for a compilation album shortly before the tour. Promoters were uncertain whether or not there was an audience for Heaven and Hell, but shows started selling out very quickly. 

The first tour climaxed in a sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall in March of 2007 that the band filmed for a DVD. Dio was 64 at the time, but his voice was flawless and the band was on fire. (Check out their killer performance of "Heaven and Hell" here.) 

This was supposed to be a brief reunion tour, but the reaction was so strong that they kept booking shows into the new year and even released a new album in 2009. They were supporting the disc, The Devil You Know, when Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer in November of 2009. He passed away the following May, but he spent the final years of his life fronting his greatest band and reminding everybody that Ozzy wasn't the only legend to sing with Black Sabbath. 

This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone: Flashback: Black Sabbath Rise Yet Again as Heaven and Hell
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