Heaven & Hell is a musical collaboration featuring Black Sabbath members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler along with former members Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice. The four members of Heaven & Hell recorded and toured together as Black Sabbath from 1980 to 1982, and again from 1991 to 1992. In 2006, while the foursome reunited to record three new songs for the compilation album, Black Sabbath: The Dio Years, they decided to embark on a 2007 - 2008 tour. Iommi (owner of the Black Sabbath name) decided to call the touring group Heaven & Hell to differentiate the project from the Ozzy Osbourne-led Black Sabbath. The moniker was taken from the first Dio-fronted Black Sabbath recording, Heaven and Hell.
In an October 2005 interview with the program "Masters of Rock", aired on BBC Radio 2, Ronnie James Dio revealed the fact that he would be writing with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi once again. Dio mentioned that two songs would be penned, and were to feature on a "project" entitled Black Sabbath - The Dio Years. Iommi, the owner of the Black Sabbath name, chose to call the collaboration "Heaven and Hell" so as to distance the group from the Osbourne-fronted Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward (who performed on the 1980 Heaven & Hell album and the first half of the tour) declined to be band's drummer before they recorded three new tracks citing musical differences between him and "a couple of the bandmembers". Ward's departure made way for a reunion of the other Dio-fronted Black Sabbath line-up which included journeyman drummer Vinny Appice. It was Appice who replaced Ward midway through the original Heaven and Hell tour in 1980 and remained the Black Sabbath drummer for two years coinciding with Dio's tenure in the band from 1980 to 1982, and again when Dio reunited with the band in 1991 and 1992. He also backed the Osbourne-led version of the group briefly in 1998. Additionally, while Black Sabbath has historically included Geoff Nicholls on "behind the scenes" keyboards, those off stage duties were performed by Scott Warren of Dio during the tour.
Even before the beginning of the tour, the members had said that the Heaven & Hell 2007 tour was a one-off and had expressed their plans to go their separate ways. Dio would return to his band (Dio), having stated his desire to produce Magica II and Magica III, sequels to Dio's 2000 album Magica. However, in a March 2007 interview, Dio and Iommi expressed that while they were both tied to separate contractual commitments in 2008, neither would discount the possibility of future collaborations. Appice had yet to disclose his definitive plans regarding his post Heaven & Hell activity - but appears he will continue working with his latest band, 3 Legged Dogg.
In October 2007, the website www.blabbermouth.net reported that the band members had decided to continue their collaboration and record and release a new album in 2008.
The idea for a new album originally came about as the band recorded new songs for the The Dio Years compilation. Iommi commented that Heaven & Hell agreed on an album whilst the band was in Japan on their 2007 tour.
In August 2008, Heaven and Hell took part in the Metal Masters Tour alongside Judas Priest, Motörhead and Testament. The band embarked on a tour in 2009, making a stop at the Sweden Rock Festival among other places, like the Wâldrock festival at Holland, Wacken Open Air and Sonisphere Festival - Knebworth, UK.
On 28 April, 2009, the band released the studio album The Devil You Know, containing the single "Bible Black". The subsequent promotional tour, the Bible Black Tour, spanned from 5 May, 2009 to 29 August, 2009 and featured supporting act Coheed and Cambria. It saw stops at the Sweden Rock Festival, the Hellfest in France, the Wâldrock Festival in Holland, the Wacken Open Air and the Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth, UK. The tour's final show in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA would prove to be Dio's final public performance.
In November 2009, Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Prognoses were initially favorable, however, and the band planned further activity following a brief period of rest for the singer.
The band was slated to tour in support of Iron Maiden in Europe from July to August 2010. However, on 4 May, the tour was canceled due to Dio's ill health. Dio died from this illness on 16 May, 2010 at 7:45 A.M. (CDT).
The three surviving members performed a tribute set to Dio as Heaven & Hell at the High Voltage Festival on 24 July, 2010 with two guest vocalists: former Black Sabbath and Deep Purple vocalist Glenn Hughes and Norwegian singer Jørn Lande of Masterplan. All of the proceeds from the event went towards the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. This concert was announced as the final performance under the Heaven & Hell moniker.
The band will release the posthumous live album Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell on November 16, 2010. It was recorded in Germany at the Wacken Open Air festival on July 30, 2009.