Ronnie James Dio: His Life In 5 Videos

Dio died two years ago, but he lives on as one of the greatest metal singers of all time. Learn more about his life with this special video tribute.

Ronnie James Dio: His Life In 5 Videos
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Can you believe it's two years since metal legend Ronnie James Dio passed away?

We've rounded up five videos which tell the story of his vibrant career, from his first job as a crooning pop singer through to fronting Black Sabbath as one of the biggest metal artists in history.

UG readers probably fall into one of two camps. Either you know and love his work, or you're yet to discover it. Whichever camp you're from, there's never a better time to dig through his old work and learn more about the man who brought the famous metal-horn hand sign to the world.

Ronnie Dio & The Prophets - "Johnny Blue"

This first track might be a surprise to metal fans, but Ronnie used to front a chart-friendly pop group until the 1960s. They formed in 1957 as The Vegas Kings, then changed names several times until settling on Ronnie Dio and The Prophets in 1961. Around this time, Ronnie dropped his real surname Padavona for Dio, after the mafia member Jonny Dio. Could it be the same Johnny that Dio sings about in this song?

Rainbow - "Stargazer"

Ronnie's vocals caught the attention of Deep Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore. When Blackmore left the band to form Rainbow, he knew exactly who should front his new band. They recorded three classic albums from 1975, but Ronnie lost interest when Blackmore wanted to move in a more commercial direction.

Black Sabbath - "Heaven & Hell"

You might think that Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath is irreplaceable, but if there was one metal singer who could pull it off, it was Ronnie. He replaced Ozzy in 1979, and the band saw their "Heaven & Hell" album become a major hit. This was the period when Vinny Appice first stepped in for Bill Ward on the drum kit - something that would later turn to bite Ward this year, with Appice being rumoured to replace him for their big 2012 reunion.

Dio - "Holy Diver"

Ronnie and drummer Vinnie Appice wanted to continue their working relationship beyond Black Sabbath, and formed the band Dio in 1982. They were joined by Vivian Campbell on guitar and their former Rainbow bassist, Jimmy Bain. Over the following decade, Ronnie's backing lineup changed, but he rocked on and released ten albums through to 2004.

Heaven & Hell - "I"

By 2006, nostalgia kicked in and Ronnie joined his old friends from Black Sabbath under the moniker Heaven & Hell, named after their first Black Sabbath album. Despite their age, the group kicked off a 98-date world tour and recorded a brand new album "The Devil You Know" which brought them critical acclaim.

That's a summary of Ronnie James Dio's grand career, but it barely scratches the surface. If you liked a particular era from this page, click through to the related videos and explore more of the timeless music he was involved in. Raise those metal horns and rock all weekend - it's only right.

43 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    archnite of the
    First heard Dio in the Tenacious D, loved him ever since. Have every album her ever sang on. RIP RJD \m/ Also just like to point out that "I" is from Dehumanizer which was recorded under the name Black Sabbath - just sayin'
    Nero Galon
    Have to say, he has to be one of the most loved and respected figures of ALL music and he'll be missed even more.
    iommi600
    One of the best articles ever posted by UG, and arguably the best in the last 3 months. RIP, Dio.
    Agent 00Awesome
    archnite of the wrote: First heard Dio in the Tenacious D, loved him ever since. Have every album her ever sang on. RIP RJD \m/ Also just like to point out that "I" is from Dehumanizer which was recorded under the name Black Sabbath - just sayin'
    But the video is from a 2007 tour, which was performed under the name "Heaven & Hell". Just sayin'.
    Strungshort36
    I agree, needs more Elf. I'd personally go with the song "Black Swampy Water" by them. However, it's very hard to sum up Dio's life in just 5 videos/songs. RIP DIO! \m/
    archnite of the
    my father thinks you're evil but man he can suck a Dio can you hear me? I am lost and so alone. I'm asking for your guidance Won't you come down from your throne I need a tight compadre to teach me how to rock.
    Rock is not the deil's work, it's magical and rad.
    zalant
    I don't know if it's just because I heard it first, but I always think of Last In Line as the definitive song from the Dio era. I realize I'm probably in the minority, but somehow it just didn't seem as cheesy to me as Holy Diver. Blasphemy, I know!
    Skullivan
    fod93awwyeah wrote: Z0S07657 wrote: Dio can you hear me? I am lost and so alone. I'm asking for your guidance Won't you come down from your throne
    I need a tight compadre to teach me how to rock.
    fod93awwyeah
    Z0S07657 wrote: Dio can you hear me? I am lost and so alone.
    I'm asking for your guidance Won't you come down from your throne
    spyder52
    archnite of the wrote: First heard Dio in the Tenacious D, loved him ever since. Have every album her ever sang on. RIP RJD \m/ Also just like to point out that "I" is from Dehumanizer which was recorded under the name Black Sabbath - just sayin'
    Haha the D can do wonders for us all!
    K33nbl4d3
    Kinda
    ibanez124 wrote: Rainbow in the Dark! ha ha
    Didn't he try to destroy the tapes for that song?
    Denjario
    In 5 Videos? If you have to do only 5, sure this is acceptable.In fact, it's great for five videos. It should have been 6 videos and included Elf/ Electric Elves. That was actually the band that caught Blackmore's interest. Ronnie Dio & The Prophets is important, but so is Elf, as it proved he had what it took to do heavier material. Here's Elf's "I'm Coming Back to You"
    Shredderman2010
    my father thinks you're evil but man he can suck a Dio can you hear me? I am lost and so alone. I'm asking for your guidance Won't you come down from your throne I need a tight compadre to teach me how to rock.
    My father thinks you're evil but man he can suck a cock
    WelshKes
    A UG article that doesn't suck. Dio could do any genre and make it good. My 5 Dio songs would be Ronnie Dio And The Prophets - I Left My Heart In San Fransisco (Tony Bennet cover) Elf - Rainbow Rainbow - Do You Close Your Eyes Black Sabbath - The Mob Rules Dio - Rainbow In The Dark
    Xplorer58
    I think one of the coolest things i have ever seen is the live dvd "Holy Diver" with doug aldrich and rudy sarzo.
    The jazz Man
    I love 'I' so much. Such an underrated heavy song. Everything about it is perfect in this performance.
    DeathMetalHub
    Im a huge Black Sabbath fan especially in Dio's era of Sabbath. Dont get me wrong I also love Ozzy, but I've been in love with Dio's voice since I first heard Stargazer by Rainbow, when I was 13 years old when my friends dad used to pump Rainbow in his wacked out van. Even though it was like decades after Rainbow, I have always been a huge fan of Dio.
    TheLukeMaxfield
    Skullivan wrote: fod93awwyeah wrote: Z0S07657 wrote: my father thinks you're evil but man he can suck a Dio can you hear me? I am lost and so alone. I'm asking for your guidance Won't you come down from your throne I need a tight compadre to teach me how to rock.
    Armagedn
    If I could have one wish, it would be to play Dungeons and Dragons with Ronnie James Dio.
    ZWH
    archnite of the wrote: my father thinks you're evil but man he can suck a Dio can you hear me? I am lost and so alone. I'm asking for your guidance Won't you come down from your throne I need a tight compadre to teach me how to rock. Rock is not the deil's work, it's magical and rad.
    I'll never rock as long as I am stuck here with my dad!
    kurtmania
    Armagedn wrote: If I could have one wish, it would be to play Dungeons and Dragons with Ronnie James Dio.
    Ronnnie James Dio doesn't play dungeons and dragons troll....He life was the basis for Dungeons and Dragons :s