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Lead up to the Album:
- Ozzy left the band after reportedly being frustrated with the experimental direction they were going with the last two albums.
- Osbourne was involved with early writing for the album before he left.
- Sharon Arden introduced Dio to Tony Iommi.
- Initially Dio and Iommi immediately clicked and toyed with the idea of forming a new band.
- They played briefly with Dio on bass/vocals as Geezer was going through a divorce.
- Craig Gruber also played with them on bass for a brief time. Gruber has made many claims over the years including that he co-wrote most of the songs on the album and that they reached a financial settlement.
- Iommi says in his biography that Gruber recorded all of the bass parts but they were re-recorded by Butler who hadn’t heard them.
- In 2009 Gruber admitted he only helped write “Die Young.”
- Bill Ward considered this to be the start of a new band rather than a turning point for Black Sabbath.
- The album was recorded in Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida.
- It was Dio who recommended they use Martin Birch who he’s worked with in Rainbow.
- It was the band’s first outside producer since Rodger Bain who produced “Master of Reality” in 1971. Iommi had produced the band’s albums since 1971.
- Looking back at the addition of Dio, Butler says it wasn’t really adding Dio to the band because the band as everyone knew it “Barely existed” as a band during this time.
- It seems it could have gone either way with Tony doing a solo album with Dio or Dio joining sabbath.
- Bass, Written-By [Music], Arranged By – Geezer Butler
- Drums, Written-By [Music], Arranged By – Bill Ward
- Guitar, Written-By [Music], Arranged By – Tony Iommi
- Keyboards – Geoff Nicholls
- Vocals, Written-By [Lyrics], Written-By [Music], Arranged By – Ronnie James Dio
- Crew [Equipment] – Graham Wright
- Had worked on previous Sabbath records including Sabotage, Technical Ecstacy, and Never Say Die
- Crew [Equipment] – Mickey Balla
- Only other credit is a Maynard Fergusun album from 1982.
- Engineer [Assistant] – Joe Foglia
- Worked with bands Foxy and Outlaws in the 70s and Manowar in the 80s
- Engineer, Producer – Martin Birch
Album Art & Booklet Review
- Art Direction – Richard Seireeni
- American art designer.
- Designed a number of album covers for bands including Diana Ross and Dominic Troiano who Tommy Bolin replaced in The James Gang
- Also worked on albums for the band Wet Willie and Stillwater
- Illustration [Cover] – Lynn Curlee
- From interview with Joe at Black-Sabbath.com
- “MASQUE was a series of paintings with people in costumes. the SMOKING ANGELS was specifically inspired by a photo of some people backstage at a small town Christmas pageant. The painting was cropped a little on the right for the album cover. You can see the full painting in the ARCHIVE segment of www.curleeart.com.”
- From interview with RevolverMag.com
- “They were in a jam,” recalls Curlee. “Black Sabbath were releasing the new album Heaven and Hell. The original cover-art plan was not working out, I received a call to ask if I had anything they might be able to use, since the timing was getting short.” Lynn Curlee sent them a photo of Smoking Angels; Warner Bros. sent a check!
- Illustration [Liner] – Harry Carmean
- Only credit – he drew the back cover illustration.
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All songs written by Iommi, Butler, Ward with lyrics by Dio.
- Neon Knights
- Children of the Sea
- Iommi claims he has a demo version of this with Ozzy singing a completely different melody and set of lyrics.
- Lady Evil
- Heaven and Hell
- Wishing Well
- Die Young
- Walk Away
- Lonely Is the Word
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- John Miceli
Bustin’ Out The Spreadsheet
Reception and Charts:
- The album was the band’s highest charting album since “Sabotage” reaching No. 9 in the UK and No. 28 in the US).
- Dio on the differences between working with Iommi and Blackmore from a 1982 intervew: “The difference really is that Tony is an all-around player. Ritchie is a brilliant, brilliant player. And he always will be. He has very good musical ideas. But to my way of thinking, he is not a member of a band. I’ve always been a band-oriented musician. Tony is a team player. Tony caares about me, he cares about Vinny, he cares about Billy, and we all feel the same way. Ritchie really only cares about himself. I’m trying not to make this a derogatory statement. The man hasn’t said any bad things about me and it’s not in my constitution to use the press to say anything bad about Ritchie. I had a good relationship with him; he’s a fine player and I wish him all the success in the world.
- Ozzy referred to this lineup as “Black Rainbow.”
For Further Information:
- Born Again! Black Sabbath in the Eighties and Nineties by Martin Popoff
- Comments about the show? Things you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or @ us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.