Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath song)
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|"Heaven and Hell"|
|Song by Black Sabbath|
|from the album Heaven and Hell|
|Released||25 April 1980|
"Heaven and Hell" is the title track to Black Sabbath's ninth studio album of the same name. The music was written mainly by Tony Iommi, but as with almost all Black Sabbath albums, credit is given to the entire band. The lyrics were written entirely by then newcomer Ronnie James Dio. The song has been performed by several bands of which Iommi and Dio were members including Black Sabbath, Dio, and Heaven & Hell.
In an interview for VH1's "Heavy: The Story of Metal", Dio stated that the song is about the ability of each human being to choose between doing good and doing evil, essentially that each person has "heaven and hell" inside themselves. When the song has been performed live by Black Sabbath, Dio or Heaven & Hell, it's usually stretched out with an extended guitar solo, audience participation, ad-libbed lyrics, or additional lyrics regarding angelic and demonic apparitions and personal judgment.
Many later Black Sabbath lineups included this song in live sets, during which it was sung by future Sabbath frontmen Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen, and Tony Martin. An official live recording of the song featuring Tony Martin on vocals was released on the 1995 live album Cross Purposes Live. Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford also sang the song with Black Sabbath on 14 & 15 November 1992, when he filled in on vocals for two concerts.
Keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, who was a session keyboard player during the recording of this album, is said to have been responsible for this song's famous bassline. The bassline closely resembles the bassline of "Mainline Riders" by Quartz, of which Nicholls was a former member. Geezer Butler was not available during initial recording of the song in late 1979.
"Heaven and Hell" was ranked No. 11 in Martin Popoff's book The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time. Popoff put together this book by requesting thousands of metal fans, musicians, and journalists to send in their favorite heavy metal songs. Almost 18,000 individual votes were tallied and entered into a database from which the final rankings were derived.
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- The American doom metal band Solitude Aeturnus covered the song for their album Adagio.
- The song's intro was used during The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert to introduce Tony Iommi.
- Benedictum covered the song on their debut album, Uncreation (which also featured a cover of Black Sabbath's "The Mob Rules").
- Liechtenstein-based gothic metal band Elis covered the song on their 2006 album Griefshire.
- The song was also briefly covered by Tenacious D for Dio's music video for the song "Push". At the beginning of the music video, Jack Black and Kyle Gass are shown standing on a sidewalk busking and singing "Heaven and Hell" with alternate lyrics. They stop when Dio walks up to them and tells them that he will pay them to play some Tenacious D songs.
- Thrash metal band Overkill can be heard rehearsing the song at the end of their 1994 album W.F.O., along with "The Ripper" of Judas Priest.
- Thrash metal band Death Angel covered the song as a bonus track on their 2013 album The Dream Calls For Blood.
- Progressive metal band Dream Theater covered the song and released it under their official bootleg "Uncovered 2003–2005".
- Heavy metal band Manowar covered the song at the Sonisphere Festival in Bucharest.
- Thrash metal band Anthrax covered some of the song at "The Big 4" Sonisphere concert in Sofia, Prague, Warsaw, Bucharest, Istanbul, Stockholm and Athens, and also at other Sonisphere events such as Knebworth House.
- Christian glam metal band Stryper released a cover of the song as the first single from their 2011 album, The Covering.
- Rock band Coheed and Cambria covered the song.
Appearances in other media
- A live version from Dio's A Special from the Spectrum was featured in the 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey.
- The song played during a scene in Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween.
- The song was featured in the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV.