Tony Iommi shares his favorite riffs from the band’s Dio-era, before the remastered editions of 1980’s Heaven and Hell and 1981’s Mob Rules are released.
Fanbases of a rock band usually do not embrace changes in their bands, especially if a long-time artist is being replaced. This was thought to be the case for a then-lately unsuccessful Black Sabbath as well when Ronnie James Dio replaced beloved Ozzy Ozbourne who left the band in 1979. Although it would be thought that Black Sabbath was going to fade out, Ronnie James Dio proved unexpectedly successful.
With him, the band released the albums Heaven and Hell in 1980, and Mob Rules in 1981. Dio‘s addition to the squad was successful, and fans had a hell of new music.
Tony Iommi Names His Favourite Dio-era Riffs
Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are going to be published on March 5 this year as remastered and expanded editions. Black Sabbath’s guitarist Tony Iommi thus named his favorite riffs from Black Sabbath‘s Dio-era in an interview with Guitar World.
1 – Neon Knights
“That was done I think in Jersey. We had gone to the Jersey Isles – on the way back from America. I came back to England too early, and I had to get out, quick. Because my accountant said, ‘Get out! You’re back too early – just go somewhere.’
I said, ‘Well, where am I going to go?’ He said, ‘Just go anywhere. Just get out of the country!’ So, I got the first flight out to wherever, and it happened to be the Jersey Islands. I went there for two or three weeks or so, and stayed in a hotel.”
Coming up with the ideas for Neon Knights in Jersey, Iommi stated that they recorded it with the band in Paris.
He also said the idea for this song was before Ronnie James Dio replaced Ozzy Osbourne.
“We’d demoed this idea with Oz – and he put a melody line on Children of the Sea. But we never ended up using it, because we’d parted company with Ozzy at that point.”
3 – Heaven and Hell
The riff for Heaven and Hell was written spontaneously, Iommi explained.
“It was Ronnie, myself, and Bill. Ronnie was just plodding along, so I could put a riff to it.
“And then I got Geoff Nicholls over, and he carried on playing the riff – while we put the song together. It was just basically played to Bill’s drums. And I just came up with this riff.”
4 – The Sign of the Southern Cross
The band was in the LA at a rehearsal studio, ending up “jamming and coming up with these ideas – which most of them would come up as a jam”, Iommi says. He then goes on to explain how they built the song up, piece by piece.
5 – The Mob Rules
Tony Iommi explains they wrote the song in John Lennon‘s house. Actually, this song was written in the room where John Lennon did the “Imagine” video.
“We wrote the song in the room where John Lennon did the “Imagine” video – that white room with a piano in it. That’s where it was written, and then we ended up recording it there, as well – in different rooms. “