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Ronnie James Dio

The grand wizard of classic rock. A poet of hope for the downtrodden. The single most important vocal technician in the history of heavy metal. All of these accolades have been garlanded upon the royal roar known as Ronnie James Dio.

Born in New Hampshire, USA, Ronnie first achieved recognition singing with his own band Elf. Deep Purple's Roger Glover and Ian Paice spotted him in 1972, and Elf then supported the British band on several US tours. In 1974, Ronnie sang on Roger's famed solo project The Butterfly Ball and then joined Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. With his pioneering classical metal work in Rainbow, as well as his vocal pyrotechnics on two Black Sabbath monoliths (Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules), Ronnie used word and rhythm to seduce his way into the center ring during metal's thriving heyday.

His first solo offering, Holy Diver (1983), was a brilliant display of melody and might that married Ronnie's immense vocal, lyrical and compositional acumen with the talents of a band chosen with almost Machiavellian insight.

Holy Diver quickly established the singer's hypnotizing skill for delivering messages that pierced the wild heart of the metal generation. Due to a wellspring of strength built from childhood struggles, Ronnie learned to soar with words, writing anthems to overcoming, paeans to personal power and overtures to outcasts, all with a verve that stressed independence in the face of dark forces.

By the release of record #2, The Last in Line (1984), Dio was firing on all cylinders, packing stadiums with a visual and aural symphony: a pyramid stage set complete with a three-headed cobra and fighting sphinxes and songs that spoke to an all too prevalent middle American reality. Good versus evil was Dio's unrelenting theme, carried forward on releases such as Sacred Heart (1985), Dream Evil (1987) and Lock up the Wolves (1990). Next up for Ronnie was his reunion with Black Sabbath for 1992's Dehumanizer. The remainder of the 90's saw Dio releasing Strange Highways (1994), Angry Machines (1996), and a live offering in Inferno: Last in Live (1998).

In 2000, Dio and the band's music was featured in an episode of Comedy Central's hit show, South Park, now available on DVD. That year also saw guitarist Craig Goldy returning to the fold as the Dio clan released Magica, a concept album. Magica was hailed as the band's comeback album and received glowing reviews. Following a hugely successful tour of Europe, Japan and the U.S., Ronnie found himself teaming up with his old mates from Deep Purple to perform songs from The Butterfly Ball and his new - masterpiece, in conjunction with a 79-piece orchestra. Shortly thereafter, Goldy once again retreated, and former Hurricane/Lion axeman Doug Aldrich joined the band for 2002's Killing the Dragon, a classic Dio masterpiece, and the live recording of Evil or Divine, filmed live at New York's Roseland Theater and released on both CD and DVD in 2005. A tour with Deep Purple and the Scorpions followed.

After Aldrich's defection to Whitesnake, Goldy returned once again and set to working on a whirlwind year of touring with Iron Maiden and Motorhead, followed by the recording of Master of the Moon, released in 2004. 2005 brought the release of the We Rock DVD, on which Aldrich filled in when Goldy injured his arm on tour, while Holy Diver-Live, a classic concert recorded at London's Astoria in 1995, was released this year on CD and DVD.

2006 has taken Dio to the four corners of the world, the U.S., Japan and Europe, of course, but they also performed to new audiences in Central and South America and Russia. Ronnie James Dio will begin writing a new album to be released early in the new year. Ronnie reminds us that an album is forever -- that each one is a document carved in time, to be studied and enjoyed by generations of listeners. After more than 20 years of thoughtful and painstakingly creative music, the Dio canon is now regarded as above and beyond trend, one of the few hallowed metal collections composing the very definition of classic rock.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Ronnie James Dio Facts

Birth NameRonald James Padovana
BirthdayJuly 10, 1942 (80)
BirthplaceCortland, New York, USA
Height5' 4" (1m63)  How tall is Ronnie James Dio compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Not available.