Ronnie James Dio, the singer, has passed away at 67. He had been diagnosed
with stomach cancer in 2009. Dio was a legend in hard rock and heavy
metal. His solo works were very successful, along with his work in the
bands Rainbow and Black Sabbath. It's been a bad year for heavy metal so
far, as Type O Negative frontman Peter Steele also passed away.
Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie James Dio was born in 1942, in New Hampshire
as Ronald James Padovona. During his school years, he played brass
instruments, which he attributed his powerful vocal technique to. After
years in the trenches with various bands, he formed Elf within the early
’70s. The band was found by Deep Purple, who took hired Elf numerous
times as an opening act.
Blackmore quit Deep Purple, he hired Elf as his backing band, recording
and releasing a record with that lineup as Rainbow. Aside from his
musical contributions, he also is credited for popularizing the “metal
horns,” otherwise known as “devil horns,” which he picked up from his
Italian grandmother. The hand gesture is called “malocchio,” which
gained popularity as “the horns.” It was adopted as the
sign of The Metal.
Dio left Rainbow
after having creative differences with Ritchie Blackmore, and auditioned
for Black Sabbath as they had fired Ozzy Osbourne recently at the time.
Ronnie James Dio was in almost right away, and the results were the two
albums “Heaven and Hell” and “Mob Rules.” Despite the firing of the
iconic original singer, the albums were quite successful. Nevertheless,
Dio started having creative differences with his new band and following
the release of the live record "Live Evil" set out on his own.
A new band was formed, called Dio, and with them Ronnie
James Dio recorded "Holy Diver" which is considered a classic. The
title track and "Rainbow in the Dark" both were fan favorites and radio
hits. He released solo albums until 2006, and even briefly reunited with
Black Sabbath in 1992 for "Dehumanizer," a new album and tour.
Heaven and Hell
When Ozzy Osbourne was taking time off from Black
Sabbath, the rest of the band got Ronnie James Dio back to the fold. To
keep away from conflicts with Ozzy, they decided that they would work
under a different name. The lineup of Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler,
Tony Iommi and Vinny Appice toured under the name Heaven and Hell, and
after releasing a live album, recorded a new studio effort, “The Devil
You Know,” which was released in 2009. In 2009, Dio was diagnosed with
stomach cancer and the band went on hiatus. On May 16, his wife Wendy
posted that he had passed away on the Dio website. Ronnie
James Dio was a brilliant performer and musician, and easily one of
probably the most influential of the last 30 years and could be sorely