Black Sabbath's years with Ronnie James Dio are being celebrated with a pair of expanded editions of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules, the first two albums that featured the iconic metal vocalist as lead singer.
Available as 2CD or 2LP sets on March 5, each album will be newly remastered and paired with a bonus disc featuring rare and unreleased recordings. Highlights include original B-sides and live material - some of which has never been released, like a concert recorded in Portland, Oregon in 1982 that will accompany Mob Rules.
Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules reintroduced the hard rock legends into a brand new decade. After original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne departed the group in 1979, remaining members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward were looking for a suitable replacement. Dio, who'd risen to prominence as the lead singer of Rainbow, was a stylistically different vocalist than Ozzy, but the band found his style appealing to fans old and new. "When Dio came in, it was a different attitude, a different voice and a different musical approach," Iommi later told a biographer. "Dio would sing across the riff, whereas Ozzy would follow the riff, like in 'Iron Man.' Ronnie came in and gave us another angle on writing."
Each album returned Black Sabbath to strong sales and featured fan favorites like "Neon Knights," "Die Young," "The Mob Rules" and "Turn Up the Night." Though the era was not without its share of trials - Ward quit during the band's1980 tour and was replaced by drummer Vinny Appice, and Dio eventually left the band to go solo, taking Appice with him - the Dio era helped successfully reintroduce the band to a new audience. (Dio returned to the fold twice before his passing in 2010, rejoining the group in 1992 and 2007.)