Today we will tell you about one of our favorite singers - Ronnie James Dio.
(Photo: Richard E. Aaron)
Ronnie is without a doubt one of the great singers in rock, and a unique voice in the metal world, a legendary singer, writer, and composer, who has released a tremendous amount of masterpieces. Dio was a member of so many great bands like: "Rainbow", "ELF", "Black Sabbath", "Dio", and "Heaven & Hell" and was part of dozens of other collaborations. The man who raised the popularity of the famous "Metal Horns" mark and made it a symbol of all metal and hard rock fans of all kinds.
So in honor of this metal legend, here are 50 interesting facts about him, and also a playlist of his best moments during nearly 50 years of a glorious career, arranged in chronological order.
1. Dio was born on July 10, 1942, in the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire in the USA as Ronald James Padavona.
2. As the only son of parents of Italian descent he often listened to opera as a child and was greatly influenced by tenor opera singer Mario Lanza.
3. At the age of 5 he began to learn to play the trumpet, but later he also learned to play the French horn and the bass guitar.
4. He formed his first band in 1957, while in high school "The Vegas Kings", later the band changed its name to "Ronnie and the Rumblers" and "Ronnie and the Red Caps". Ronnie played the trumpet, and bass guitar and also sang.
5. In 1960 he graduated from high school and received a scholarship from the prestigious Juilliard School of Music. Ronnie preferred to focus on rock music and declined the scholarship.
6. Ronnie later began studying pharmacy at Buffalo University but retired after two years to focus on music and "the Ronnie and the Red Caps" band.
7. Ronnie never got voice classes, he just trained himself using breathing techniques that he acquired while playing the trumpet.
8. The name Dio was first adopted in 1960. It was during the recording of the band's second single. Later the band will change its name again to "Ronnie Dio and the Prophets".
9. Opinions are divided as to the reason why Ronnie added the nickname Dio to his name. Some argue that the name was borrowed from the author of the Italian Mafia in the US Johnny Dio, others argue that Ronnie's grandmother stated that he had a "gift of God" (Dio in Italian = God), so he should add the nickname.
10. The band continued to change minor lineups until it was renamed "The Electric Elves" in 1967 and later "The Elves".
11. The band's first album was released in 1972 under the name "ELF", Dio sang, played bass guitar, and participated in writing all the songs.
12. Subsequently, the band released two more albums "Carolina County Ball" from 1974 and "Trying to Burn the Sun" from 1975. Dio already focused on singing on these albums as he abandoned the bass position.
14. This connection will produce Dio's first collaboration with fellow "Deep Purple", when in 1974 he was featured on Roger Glover's first solo album called: - "The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast".
15. In February 1975 Blackmore left "Deep Purple" and joins Ronnie James Dio, from whom he was very impressed while warming up "Deep Purple" with his band "ELF". The two begin to form the first lineup of "Rainbow", which was based entirely on members of "ELF" (minus the guitarist of course).
16. Along with this band, Dio and Blackmore are recording their amazing debut album "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow". Dio participated in writing all the songs on the album except for the two cover versions.
18. In 1978 Dio was featured on David Coverdale's second solo album called "Northwinds".
19. In 1979 and after 3 successful albums with "Rainbow" Ronnie James Dio leaves the band at its peak, due to artistic disagreements with Blackmore, who sought to take the band in a more commercial direction.
20. That same year, "Black Sabbath" fires Ozzy Osbourne, and the daughter of the band's manager, Sharon Arden (who will later become Sharon Osbourne), offers "Sabbath" members to collaborate with Dio.
21. Already in Dio's first encounter with Tony Iommi, the song "Children Of The Sea" was written, one of Sabbath's greatest of all time.
22. Tony described the writing process with Dio as different, innovative, and refreshing. While Ozzy used to sing along to the riff itself, Dio improvised melodies around the riff, and it made Tony open his eyes to new musical possibilities.
23. Dio's first album with "Black Sabbath" and "Heaven And Hell" was released in 1980 and received excellent reviews. Dio managed to breathe new life into the band and bring about its resurgence, but his big challenge was to get into Ozzy's big shoes and conquer the hearts of the band's devout fans as well.
24. As part of Dio’s “conquest” of the heart of the fans process, he needed his hallmark. Ozzy used the V-sign in his performances. Ronnie needed a mark of his own, but he could not look like his predecessor so he chose a mark that his Italian grandmother used to get rid of an "evil eye" - the horn mark known today as "metal horns".
25. In 1980 Dio featured on the first solo album by the well-known guitarist Kerry Livgren from the band Kansas.
26. In 1982 Dio released his second and final album with "Black Sabbath" - "Mob Rules", until the reunion a decade later, in 1992, with the album "Dehumanizer". Immediately after the release of the album, friction within the band aroused over the fact that Dio received an offer from "Warner" to release a solo album.
27. These frictions will intensify during the mixes for the live album "Live Evil" and at their peak, Dio and drummer Vinnie Appice will leave the band and form the band "Dio", together with bassist Jimmy Bain (Dio's friend from Rainbow) and then young and unknown guitarist - Vivian Campbell.
28. The band's debut album was released in 1983. "Holy Diver" is a milestone in the metal world and it shows the amazing writing and performance skills of Ronnie Dio.
29. In the future, Dio will release another 9 studio albums with the band that bears his name, the latest from 2004.
30. In 1985 Dio was a part of the "Band-Aid" charity project, which was the World of Metal Answer to the "Live Aid" show from that year. Dio wrote the song "Stars" which was performed by the all-superstar band "Hear 'n Aid".
31. In 1997, Dio participates in Pat Boone's cover album called: "In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy".
32. In 1999 he participated in the "Deep Purple" performance - "In Concert with The London Symphony Orchestra".
33. In 2001, the band "Tenacious D" releases their debut album, which includes a tribute song to Dio called "Dio".
34. Dio also played the role himself in the band's film "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny", which was released in 2006, and contributed his voice to the song "Kickapoo" from the soundtrack.
35. In 2005, Dio played the role of "Dr. X" on "Queensrÿche's" "Operation: Mindcrime II" concept album. Dio also appeared as a guest in the band's performance of this rock opera.
36. In the same year, Dio came to Israel for one performance held at the exhibition grounds.
37. In 2006 Dio participated in the album "Gillan's Inn" by singer Ian Gillan.
38. In the same year, Dio participated in the album "Welcome to the Nightmare - an All-Star Salute to Alice Cooper" - the tribute album to Alice Cooper, and performed the song "Welcome to My Nightmare" together with Steve Lokhater.
39. Back in 2006, Dio joined his friends from "Black Sabbath", Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinnie Appice. Together they record three new songs in favor of a compilation album of the Dio era called: "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years".
40. This collaboration created an "appetite" for the band members who went on tour under the name - "Heaven & Hell" - Dio's first album with "Black Sabbath".
41. In 2008, Dio participated in the compilation album "We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year", and performed the song "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" along with Tony Iommi, Rudy Serzo, and Simon Wright.
42. That same year, Dio was featured on "Girlschool's" "Legacy" album.
43. At the same time, Dio continued his tour with "Heaven & Hell" while the band members worked on their first studio album under that name, which was released in 2009 and was called "The Devil You Know".
44. In the same year Dio was diagnosed with cancer and a year later the band announced the cancellation of the tour. Dio's last appearance with the band was held on August 29, 2009.
45. In April 2010, Dio received the Best Metal Singer Award from Revolver Magazine. This was Dio's last appearance in public.
46. About a month later on May 16, 2010, Dio passed away at the age of 67.
47. Dio entered the Metal Hall of Fame in 2017.
48. In all 50 years of his career, Dio has never consumed drugs.
49. In 2010 "Jorn" released a tribute album in honor of Dio, which included the song "Song For Ronnie James".
50. In 2014, members of the metal community paid their last respects to Ronnie James Dio with the tribute album" Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life".
And now for the playlist, we have prepared for you. The best of Dio's great moments during a glorious 50-year career, arranged chronologically: Here.