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Ronnie James Dio


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Ronnie James Dio (1962-2010): a Musician from Cortland, New York, USA.


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 to release three albums before joining Richie Blackmore in 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.

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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'.

2005 saw the release of the live album Evil or Divine - Live in New York City that featured the same show that was released on DVD back in 2003.

In 2007, it was announced that Black Sabbath would reunite with Ronnie James Dio under the name Heaven & Hell ultimately releasing The Devil You Know in 2009.

His involvement with Heaven & Hell delayed the recording of what was to be the follow-up to Master of the Moon, Magica II. That three-year hiatus was briefly interrupted for a 10 concert European mini-tour in May/June 2008, and was scheduled to be interrupted again in November/December 2009 with 22 concerts starting in the UK and ending in Germany. Doug Aldrich was to have filled in for Craig Goldy on guitar on these dates, because of conflicting obligations. Dio intended to release a new single, Electra, to coincide with the tour.

The 2009 European tour was cancelled due to his hospitalization after being diagnosed with stomach cancer and subsequent treatment. On May 16, 2010 that cancer would take his life.

November 9, 2010, saw the posthumous live album released, Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987, featuring Dio's 1983 and 1987 appearances at the Monsters of Rock festival and showcases several other tracks from the Ronnie James Dio era of both Rainbow and Black Sabbath, in addition to songs from his own catalog.

On March 18, it was announced that the surviving members of the final line-up of Dio would embark on a project with former Judas Priest front man Tim "Ripper" Owens under the moniker DIO Disciples; the project has been touring extensively since 2011.

Footnote: Back in the early 2000's MTV announced the development of an animated series called "Leatherwulf" to feature Ronnie himsElf, along with others, as one of the "Gods of Rock".

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Promotional historical poster of Ronnie James Dio with his band.
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