Black Sabbath – Top 10 Tracks From The Dio Era

When Ozzy Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath and replaced by Ronnie James Dio, it began and new promising era, a fresh start, and a pile of new ideas and up to date sound for the new decade. The band had been closing out the 70s on a bit of a downturn with the last few Ozzy era albums [though I admit I really like Technical Ecstasy] .  My introduction to the Dio era of Black Sabbath was borrowing a friend’s copy of Live Evil (which I’ve yet to return 38 years later).  I eventually picked up LPs of  Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules (had them on a cassette for a while).  Mob Rules being my favorite Sabbath album, with Heaven And Hell not far behind.   Dio could contribute a lot more than Ozzy, with lyrics and melodies, where as Geezer Butler is generally known for writing many of the Ozzy era lyrics. The new Dio era sounded heavier with Dio’s distinctive voice that could deliver new and darker stories clear and more aggressively, all put together by legendary producer Martin Birch.  I thought these 2 albums were/are timeless, and I can pull them out any time and they sound just as good as they did 40 years ago. With Live Evil mixing new and old Sabbath songs, I honestly was not so crazy about this one, having been a fan of the early Sabbath albums I just didn’t think Dio was as suited to those songs, perhaps because Ozzy had such a unique voice, but I did like his performance of “N.I.B.”.   After Live Evil Dio, along with Vinny Appice would go off and form Dio.  A shame then – done after 2 superb studio albums!?  Well, the Mob Rules line-up reformed again in the early ’90s released Dehumanizer [1992]. It was a bit more Dio /Appice  influenced in sound, IMO, with those slow heavy dark rock tunes.  It took me a long time to get in to this one due to the overall production / sound of the album,  but it featured some really good tracks, but overall not high on my Sabbath list.  Again, the band split, and over the next decade plus, Sabbath would return to work Tony Martin on vocals [who did a fine job on the Dio era songs live], and then do some shows with Ozzy. 

 With the release of 2007’s CD compilation release The Dio Years, Iommi, Butler, Dio  and Appice again reformed to add 3 new tracks to the album. The band went out on tour, playing only tracks from the Dio-era albums under the name Heaven & Hell, taking Scott Warren [of Dio’s band] in place of Geoff Nicholls – adding keyboards and some guitar. This tour lead to the  release of Live At Radio City Music Hall.  Rhino Records also released Live At The Hammersmith [from 81/82] in 2007.  Continuing as Heaven & Hell, the band made one more studio album – The Devil You Know in 2009. This was a strong album, and I preferred this to Dehumanizer, very heavy, up to date, great clean sounding.   Interestingly, The Devil You Know was the highest charting album of the 4 on Billboard USA.  The band toured further that year, with Ronnie James Dio  later diagnosed with stomach cancer.  Shows for 2010  were cancelled, and Dio passed away  May 16, 2010.  A posthumous live album marking 30 years of Heaven & Hell had been recorded at the band’s performance at the Wacken Open Air Festival in the summer of 2009, and released in late 2010 as Neon Nights –  Live In Europe.  The 4 Dio era studio albums remain hugely popular amongst Black Sabbath fans, with many hailing the first 2 amongst the band’s best, usually flaring up the who was better – Ozzy or Dio debate. As I said earlier, I am one who easily puts Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules at the top of my BS favorites list.  I recently got the 2021 2CD remasters of each, and though some of the ‘bonus’ material is already out there [like Live at Hammersmith] , the Live in Portland show from ’82 [added to Mob Rules] is a nice addition. Here’s hoping there’ll be more live stuff that surfaces [officially] in the future.  Here’s a look at my top 10 picks of classics from the Dio era of Black Sabbath [and That includes The Devil You Know!]

Falling Off The Edge Of The World [Mob Rules] 

Falling Off the Edge of the World (2021 Remaster) – YouTube

Heaven and Hell [Heaven & Hell] 

(6) Heaven and Hell (2021 Remaster) – YouTube 

[Dehumanizer]

Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer – I – YouTube

Bible Black  [The Devil You Know] 

Bible Black – YouTube

The Mob Rules [Mob Rules] 

The Mob Rules (2021 Remaster) – YouTube

Lonely Is The World  [Heaven & Hell] 

Lonely Is the Word (2021 Remaster) – YouTube

Sign Of The Southern Cross  [Mob Rules] 

Black Sabbath-Sign Of The Southern Cross – YouTube

Die Young [Heaven & Hell] 

Die Young (2021 Remaster) – YouTube

Ear In The Wall [The Dio Years]

Ear in the Wall – YouTube

Over And Over [Mob Rules]

Over and Over (2021 Remaster) – YouTube

KJJ, 04/21

One thought on “Black Sabbath – Top 10 Tracks From The Dio Era”

  1. I got the two reissues of H&H and Mob Rules on vinyl and man they are gold. So good so kudos on Sabbath on putting some time and effort into these reissues. That Portland show is great as who cranked up the keyboards haha…
    Great stuff from my fav era of this band,

    Like

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