Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ronnie James Dio [Rest In Peace]

Ronald James Padavona

Ronnie James Dio [born Ronald James Padavona; July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010] was an American heavy metal vocalist and songwriter. He performed with Testament of Apollo, Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, and his own band Dio. Other musical projects include the collective fundraiser Hear 'n Aid. He was widely hailed as one of the most powerful singers in heavy metal, renowned for his consistently powerful voice and for popularizing the "devil's horns" hand gesture in metal culture. He was collaborating on a project with former Black Sabbath bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice, under the moniker Heaven & Hell, whose first and only studio album, The Devil You Know, was released on April 28, 2009.On the morning of May 16, 2010, he died of stomach cancer. He was 67 years old.

Early Career

In 1967, a young Ronnie James Dio formed a band that would soon lead him to fame. Electric Elves, later known as Elf, started in 1969, playing at small venues such as colleges and clubs. In search for the ever-elusive-record deal, the band finally signed with Columbia Records in 1972. Deep Purple members, Ian Paice and Roger Glover, took notice of the band and ended up producing the first self-titled release from Elf. Soon after, the band would become the opening act for Deep Purple.

Rainbow Era

It did not take long for Dio's remarkable hard rock voice to grab the attention of guitar legend and Deep Purple guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore. When Blackmore decided to quit Deep Purple, he asked Ronnie James Dio to join him in his latest venture, the band Rainbow. In 1978, after only four albums, Blackmore and Dio could not agree on which direction to take the band, so they decided to part ways.

Black Sabbath Era

It was not long after that Black Sabbath fired their original vocalist, Ozzy Osbourne, and Ronnie James Dio was named as his replacement. In 1979, Black Sabbath released "Heaven and Hell", resurrecting the band from its current slump. They would go on to record two more releases, one studio album, "Mob Rules" and one live album, "Live Evil". The version of Black Sabbath was quite successful, however, Dio decided that the time had come for him to go solo.

Dio Era

In 1982, along with former Black Sabbath drummer, Vinny Appice, and former Rainbow bassist, Jimmy Bain, Ronnie James Dio formed "Dio". They found an unknown guitarist named, Vivian Campbell (Whitesnake, Def Leppard), and recorded their first album entitled, "Holy Diver". "Holy Diver" sold very well and was followed up with a successful tour. The band then recorded, "Last in Line", which also was extremely successful. It wasn't until their third album, "Sacred Heart", that the band started showing signs of fatigue. Although the album went on to sell over 500,000 (Gold) copies in the United States, the album was not on the level of the first two. Guitarist Vivian Campbell decided to leave Dio, after the "Sacred Heart" tour, and Craig Goldy (Giuffria, Rough Cutt) was named as his replacement. Craig Goldy's first album with the band was entitled, "Dream Evil". The album featured a couple of singles and sold relatively well, but Dio, the group, would never again achieve the success they enjoyed on the first two releases.

Current Era

In 1991, Ronnie James Dio reunited with Black Sabbath. The band recorded an album and followed up with a tour. Throughout the 1990's and into the 2000's, Dio continued to release records with his solo band, however, the band's line-up is anything but consistent, with musicians rotating in and out of the band.

Recently, Ronnie James Dio, again reunited with Black Sabbath. Legally, the band is no longer able to use their old moniker with any other singer, other than Ozzy Osbourne. The legal agreement did not sway the band from releasing a greatest hits package, which included new songs, but they also released a full length album, "The Devil in You". No longer as Black Sabbath, the band decided to rename the group after their most successful album together, "Heaven and Hell".


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