Ronnie James Dio: His Life In 5 Videos

artist: Ronnie James Dio date: 05/18/2012 category: wtf?
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Ronnie James Dio: His Life In 5 Videos
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.
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