Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath song)

"Heaven and Hell" is the title track to Black Sabbath's ninth studio album, Heaven and Hell. It 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 are members including Black Sabbath, Dio, and Heaven and Hell


Ronnie James Dio himself cites it as his over-all personal favorite song of his career, the one that he feels most proud of.

In an interview for VH1's "Heavy: The Story of Metal," Dio stated that the song is about the ability of each human being's ability 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 and Hell (band), it's usually stretched out with an extended guitar solo, audience participation, ad libbed lyrics and/or additional lyrics regarding angelic and demonic apparitions and personal judgment. There is also a bootleg version sung by Ian Gillan. Tony Martin also sang it many times live with Black Sabbath as well as with his solo band.

Keyboardist Geoff Nicholls, who was a session keyboard player the recording of this album, is said to have been responsible for this song's famous bass line. The bassline closely resembles some of the basslines used by the band Quartz, of which Nicholls was a former member.

"Heaven and Hell" was ranked #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.


  • The American doom metal band Solitude Aeturnus covered the song for their album Adagio
  • Benedictum covered the song on their debut album, Uncreation (which also featured a cover of Black Sabbath's "The Mob Rules").
  • It was also covered by Liechtenstein based gothic metal band Elis.
  • 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.

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