BLACK SABBATH’s GEEZER BUTLER Says RONNIE JAMES DIO Negotiated A Solo Deal During The Success Of Mob Rules - “He Didn’t Need The Rest Of Us”

March 4, 2021, 6 months ago

news heavy metal rarities black sabbath

BLACK SABBATH’s GEEZER BUTLER Says RONNIE JAMES DIO Negotiated A Solo Deal During The Success Of Mob Rules - “He Didn’t Need The Rest Of Us”

BraveWords spoke with legendary Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler for a major feature on the release of the Deluxe Editions of the band’s first two albums following Ozzy Osbourne’s departure, Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules. Ronnie James Dio would join in 1979 and leave in November of 1982 to pursue his successful solo career. So after two monumental albums, the honeymoon was over so to speak. 

“One of the reasons why it started to go sour was that Ronnie negotiated a solo deal with Warner Brothers while the success of Mob Rules was happening,” Butler told BraveWords in an excerpt from our upcoming feature story. “So that sort of soured the whole thing. Then we just plowed on with (Deep Purple’s) Ian Gillan after that. 

BraveWords: After two successful albums, why do you think Ronnie would spoil the band’s next level of success?

Butler: “If you are going to get offered a good record contract, you aren’t going to turn it down are you? I think Ronnie started believing because of him, Sabbath were viable again. So towards the end of the Mob Rules period, Ronnie thought because of him, Sabbath was doing well again. He thought he was important enough to go solo. He didn’t need the rest of us.” 

BraveWords: The old tale is that you, Ian and Tony Iommi got pissed up at the pub and woke up in the morning with a new incarnation of Sabbath! What were you drinking?! 

Butler: “We all went to a pub in Oxford and got smashed out of our heads! I suppose sometime during the night, we talked about working together and the next day we had found out that Ian Gillan had joined Sabbath.”

BraveWords: Were you happy with that realization? Artwork debate aside, the album is a Sabbath classic!

Butler: “I was until we went on tour. I didn’t think it worked live. I thought the album was good, but somehow the mix was badly done. I thought the songs were good, but the mix wasn’t very good on the album. And on tour, I didn’t think Ian Gillan really fitted Sabbath.”  

Watch for the entire BraveWords feature next week!



Singer Ronnie James Dio joined Black Sabbath in 1979 which resulted in two back-to-back classic albums: Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules. On those memorable albums, Dio’s soaring tenor and gothic songwriting were the perfect foil for the band’s bone-crushing mix of razor-sharp riffs, intense grooves, and dark imagery.

Rhino salutes the long shadow cast by this short-lived lineup with newly remastered versions of both albums expanded with rare and unreleased music. Heaven And Hell: Deluxe Edition and Mob Rules: Deluxe Edition will be released separately on March 5. Each album will be available on 2-CDs ($19.98), or a 2-LPs ($31.98). Due to space constraints, both vinyl editions include a selection of bonus material from the CDs. The music will also be available via digital download and streaming services the same day. Pre-orders can be placed here.

Dio joined Black Sabbath for the first time in 1979 and quickly found kindred spirits in guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward. When Heaven And Hell was released in April 1980, the album was met with effusive reviews for the band’s return to form on metal masterpieces like “Neon Knights” and the title track. The album reached #9 in the U.K. and #28 in the U.S., where it was also certified platinum.

Heaven And Hell: Deluxe Edition adds several bonus tracks that have never been released in North America, including versions of “Children Of The Sea” and “Die Young” recorded live in 1980 in Hartford, CT. The set concludes with live rarities like “E5150” and “Neon Knights” that originally appeared in 2007 on the Rhino Handmade’s limited edition collection, Black Sabbath: Live At Hammersmith Odeon.

To follow-up Heaven And Hell, the group returned to the studio in 1981 to begin recording Mob Rules, with drummer Vinny Appice joining the band for the first time. Released in October 1981 and certified gold, the album was another Sabbath classic, including standouts like “The Sign Of The Southern Cross,” “Turn Up The Night” and the title track.

Mob Rules: Deluxe Edition boasts an expansive selection of rare and unreleased recordings. Along with additional tracks from Live At Hammersmith Odeon, the collection also includes a newly mixed version of “The Mob Rules.” The cherry on top is an entire concert recorded in 1982 in Portland, OR. Highlights include stellar performances of “Neon Knights” “Heaven And Hell” and “Voodoo.”

The Dio-fronted lineup disbanded in 1982 but reunited a decade later to record Dehumanizer and tour before going on hiatus again. The group came together again in 2006 to record three new songs for Rhino’s era-spanning collection, Black Sabbath: The Dio Years. The collaboration led to a highly anticipated world tour in 2007 where the group was billed as Heaven And Hell. Their final album of new material, 2009’s The Devil You Know, again demonstrated the musical bond between the band members was unparalleled.

Heaven And Hell: Deluxe Edition

2CD Tracklisting:

Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster)
“Neon Knights”
“Children Of The Sea”
“Lady Evil”
“Heaven And Hell”
“Wishing Well”
“Die Young”
“Walk Away”
“Lonely Is The Word”

Disc Two: Bonus Tracks
“Children Of The Sea” – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” *
“Heaven And Hell” – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” *
“Lady Evil” – 7” Mono Edit (unreleased on CD)

Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT (August 10, 1980)
“Neon Knights” *
“Children Of The Sea” *
“Heaven And Hell” *
“Die Young” *

Hammersmith Odeon, London (Dec 31, 1981- Jan 2, 1982)
“E5150”
“Neon Knights”
“Children Of The Sea”
“Heaven And Hell”

2LP Tracklisting:

Side One
“Neon Knights”
“Children Of The Sea”
“Lady Evil”
“Heaven And Hell”

Side Two
“Wishing Well”
“Die Young”
“Walk Away”
“Lonely Is The Word”

Side Thee
“Children Of The Sea” – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” *
“Heaven And Hell” – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” *
“Lady Evil” – 7” Mono Edit (unreleased on CD)
“Neon Knights” – Live 1980 *

Side Four
“Children Of The Sea” – Live 1980 *
“Heaven And Hell” – Live 1980 *
“Die Young” – Live 1980 *


 

 

Mob Rules: Deluxe Edition

2CD Tracklisting:

Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster)
“Turn Up The Night”
“Voodoo”
“The Sign Of The Southern Cross”
“E5150”
“The Mob Rules”
“Country Girl”
“Slipping Away”
“Falling Off The Edge Of The World”
 “Over And Over”

Bonus Tracks
“The Mob Rules” – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version
“Die Young” – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7” *
“The Mob Rules” – New 2021 Mix **

Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 - 2/1/82)
“Country Girl”
“Slipping Away”
“The Mob Rules”
“Voodoo”

Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982
Intro **
“Neon Knights” **

Disc Two: Bonus Tracks
Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982
“N.I.B.” **
“Children Of The Sea” **
“Voodoo” **
“Black Sabbath” **
“War Pigs” **
Drum Solo **
“Iron Man” **
“The Mob Rules” **
 “Heaven And Hell” **
Guitar Solo **
“Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell” – Reprise **
“Paranoid” **
“Children Of The Grave” **

2LP Tracklisting:

Side One
“Turn Up The Night”
“Voodoo”
“The Sign Of The Southern Cross”
“E5150”
“The Mob Rules”

Side Two
“Country Girl”
“Slipping Away”
“Falling Off The Edge Of The World”
“Over And Over”

Side Three
“The Mob Rules” – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version
“Die Young” – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7” *
“The Mob Rules” – New 2021 Mix **
“Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell” – Reprise **

Side Four
Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 - 2/1/82)
“Country Girl”
“Slipping Away”
“The Mob Rules”
“Voodoo”

* previously unreleased in North America
** previously unreleased




(Black Sabbath band photo above by Mark Weiss)



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