Ronnie James Dio

Written by Michael Oshust

A true legend...

Photo: Robert Cianflone, Getty Images

Ronnie James Dio helped pioneer hard rock in the '80s and was also known for popularizing the sign of the horns. Ronnie James Dio's career spanned more than 50 years.  Ronnie James Dio was born in New Hampshire, to an Italian-American heritage.

 

In 1975 Ronnie James Dio's vocals caught the ear of Richie Blackmore. Rainbow was originally established with members of Dio's rock band Elf. After releasing "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow" Rainbow recorded two more studio albums with Ronnie James Dio.

Following his departure from Rainbow in 1979, Ronnie James Dio met Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi by chance at The Rainbow on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in 1979. Ronnie James Dio said of the encounter, "It must have been fate because we connected so instantly." They kept in touch, and Dio had a jam session at Tony Iommi's house. On that first day, the duo wrote the song, "Children of the Sea" which appears on Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell". Ronnie James Dio joined Black Sabbath who was looking for a singer after Ozzy Osbourne was fired. In 1980, Black Sabbath released "Heaven and Hell" followed by "Mob Rules" in 1981. "Mob Rules"  featured new drummer Vinny Appice. Both Dio and Appice rejoined Black Sabbath for "Dehumanizer" which was released in 1992.

 

 

 

 

Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice formed Dio in 1982 with Jimmy Bain on bass guitar and Vivian Campbell on guitar. 

In 1985, Ronnie James Dio contributed to the famine in Africa with Hear 'n Aid, an all-star ensemble which was the brainchild of Ronnie James Dio and his bandmates Vivian Campbell and Jimmy Bain. The project raised $1 million within a year.

Dio continued touring and recording as a band, releasing ten albums, with their last album recorded in 2004.

In October 2006, Ronnie James Dio joined Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice to tour under the moniker Heaven & Hell, the title of the first Dio era Black Sabbath album. In 2007, the band recorded three new songs under the Black Sabbath name for the compilation "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years". The band completed a 98-date world tour and released an album titled "The Devil You Know".

 

In 2009, Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer and underwent treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. On May 4, 2010, Heaven & Hell announced they were cancelling all summer dates as a result of Dio's health condition. 

 

Ronald James Padavona passed away on May 16, 2010, from the illness. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On May 30th, upward of 2000 fans, friends, and family had gathered around the cemetery's Hall of Liberty to mourn the loss of Ronnie James Dio. The four-hour service, hosted by Eddie Trunk of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show, was not without some sober moments. Ronnie James Dio, 67, succumbed to stomach cancer on May 16, and his son Dan Padanova sternly cautioned those who gathered to get screened for the disease. Queensrÿche’s Geoff Tate delivered a moving rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot) choked back tears through a cover of the Beatles’ “In My Life.” Others including Asia singer John Payne and Anthrax frontman Joey Belladonna played staples from Dio’s own legendary songbook. Current and former bandmates and crewmembers shared stories about Ronnie as well, painting a picture of a caring man who went out of his way to make friends of his fans, and who along with his wife and manager Wendy Dio took those friends into his home when they were in need. Ronnie and Wendy started Children of the Night, a nonprofit devoted to rescuing victims of child prostitution, which was 25 years strong thank to his efforts. Ronnie’s longtime assistant Willie Fyfe concurred. “Ronnie had that magic. Once he had a crowd in his hands, that’s where they stayed until it was time to go, then he’d give ‘em back, walk-off, do his thing. And bless him — he’s still doing that now and the guy is in a coffin."

Rolling Stone magazine summed up Ronnie with this -

"It wasn't just his mighty pipes that made him Ronnie James Dio — it was his moral fervor...what always stood out was Dio's raging compassion for the lost rock & roll children in his audience. Dio never pretended to be one of the kids — he sang as an adult assuring us that we weren't alone in our suffering, and someday we might even be proud of conquering it."

On May 16, 2020, Carmine and Vinny Appice released a new video to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the passing of the late, great vocalist and their dear friend, Ronnie James Dio.

There will only be one Man on Silver Mountain, and he touched us all with his powerful vocals.

Photo: Robert Cianflone, Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Rainbow                                                                             

DIO                                                                            

Photo: Getty Images

BLACK SABBATH

Hear 'n Aid featuring 40 artists musicians.

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

HEAVEN & HELL                                                                    

Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice performing with Heaven & Hell                                                       

Photo: Getty Images

Memorial for Ronnie James Dio (Photo by Mark Weiss/Getty Images)

Wendy Dio attending the Memorial for Ronnie James Dio (Photo: Getty Images)

Tony Iommi attending the Memorial for Ronnie James Dio (Photo: Getty Images)

Glenn Hughes performing at the Memorial for Ronnie James Dio (Photo: Getty Images)

Ronnie James Dio's tombstone  (Photo: Getty Images)

Ronnie James Dio's tombstone  (Photo: Getty Images)

A statue at the main park in Kavarna, Bulgaria,

Ronnie James Dio's tombstone  (Photo: Getty Images)

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Sign of the horns                                                                    

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