Ronnie James Dio
he self-titled Dio was the project of Ronnie James Dio (Real Name: Ronald Padavona) after he left Black Sabbath as Ozzy Osbourne's replacement. His experience dates as far back as 1962 with his school-days groups Vegas Kings, Ronnie And The Redcaps, Ronnie And The Rumblers, but it was with Ronnie & The Prophets that saw several singles released for the 'Atlantic' label. Ronnie, a multi-talented musician capable of playing vocals, bass and trumpet who, along with his cousin David Feinstein, formed the Electric Elves that by the early 1970s became simply Elf. They made a few well-received records the first on 'Epic' titled Elf (1972), then on Deep Purple's own 'Purple' label with him as well as Thaler on guitar, Feinstein, Driscoll, Mickey Lee Soule (keyboards/guitar) to release Carolina Country Ball (1974) and Trying To Burn The Sun (1975) with Mark Nauseef (ex-Velvet Underground) on percussion.before he and the others separated, with him joining Richie Blackmore's Rainbow in 1975. In 1979 he left that outfit to replace Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath before going under his own name Dio.
He recruited Irishman Vivian Campbell and Englishman Jimmy Bain (ex-Rainbow) as well as Claude Schnell (keyboards) and Vinny Appice (ex-Axis/ex-Black Sabbath/ex-World War III). Dio, himself was from America. They quickly formed a solid live reputation before signing to 'Vertigo' and releasing their debut, Holy Diver, in 1983. On this release Dio carried on where he left off with his previous outfits by featuring powerful but fanciful vocals and lyrics. It was the follow-up, Last In Line (1984), which ended off being a smash hit achieving a 23 in the US and 4 in the UK. The third effort, Sacred Heart (1985), continued riding the chart along with the follow-up, Intermission (1986), following it close behind.
Dream Evil (1987) saw Craig Goldie replacing Campbell. This, as it happens, was a brief alliance for 17 year-old Rowan Robertson soon took his place. By 1990s Lock Up The Wolves, Dio had dispensed with the rest of the band for a whole new line-up consisting of Rowan Robertson on guitar with Dio on vocals and Jens Johansson (keyboards), Teddy Cook (bass) and Simon Wright (ex-AC/DC; drums). Unfortunately it was not sufficient to convince the finicky consumer for the album faltered commercially and ended the regular rise of Dio's workson the charts by getting a 28 in the UK and 61 in the US.
His attempted reunion with Black Sabbath (resulting in only one album Dehumanizer) quickly fell apart due to egos. His next effort, Strange Highways (1993), with Tracey G. taking over on guitars and Jeff Pilson on bass, didn't chart at all and was a commercial flop, with the follow-ups Angry Machines (1996) with Scott Warren on keyboards, Inferno: Last In Live (1998) a live effort featuring Larry Dennison on bass, Magica (2000) not faring much better; by now it was clear that Dio's best days were behind him even if it featured a revised classic Dio membership of Craig Goldie (guitar), Jimmy Bain (bass/keyboards), Simon Wright (drums) and Dio himself. Doug Aldrich (guitar) replaced Goldie for the follow-up release of Killing The Dragon in 2002. But bassist Jimmy Bain would soon after leave with Rudy Sarzo (ex-Ozzy Osbourne/ex-Quiet Riot/ex-Whitesnake) taking over in time for 2004's Master of The Moon with the live Sacred Heart performance following soon after on 'Rhino Records' with a new studio album planned for the near future. Around the same time MTV announced the development of an animated series called Leatherwulf to feature Ronnie himself, along with others, as one of the Gods of Rock.