“I Feel Sad When Someone So Talented Dies. Earth Needs Those People More Than Heaven Does.” Georg  Christoph Lichtenberg

With these words I would like to start this small tribute for one of the most respectful and biggest musicians:  Ronnie James Dio. He is the one who contributed so much to rock and metal music scene, opening new horizons with his mystical lyrics, going far away from the stereotypes of the music world. Maybe his performance on stage wasn’t something extraordinary, but he was sharing his feelings with the crowd, he was giving a magic pulse that everyone could notice. He was a great man with an extremely big education in music and he was trying to give some of this knowledge to the others.

But unfortunately some of them were ungrateful (Vivan Cambell). Ronnie , didn’t know the meaning of the words ”Rock Star” . He never wanted fame and glory. He just loved so much writing lyrics and singing in concerts. Even in his last moments he was worried about the tour cancelation.  He was 67 years old. A difficult age and the time was running against him. But not even the old age or the health problems manage to spoil his voice. The song “Hair n Aid” he wrote in 80s reminds us that he was just a simple man, like everybody.

The Heaven (the begining)
His real name was Ronald James Padavona. Afterwards , he changed it into DIO (it means God in Italian), influenced by Italian Mafia. Dio’s life story starts at New York City. In his early years was a bass-player in a band called “The Vegas Kings”. Next stop was the band “Electric Elves” . Later they changed their name to “Elf”. They had some recognition and they started as a support band to Deep Purple’s gigs. Ritchie Blackmore , guitarist of Deep Purple loved Dio’s vocals and he made a proposition to him, to create a new band . Dio accepted and with some members of Elf started a new group known as Rainbow!

Rainbow (1975-1979)
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow was the first full length album for the band. A true masterpiece of that period of time. Smashing riffs,fast music and special vocals were enough to understand that there was created a strong connection and co-operation between Dio and Blackmore.  We can see that to their next albums. Songs like “Stargazer, Kill The King, Temple Of The King, Gates Of Babylon, Man On The Silver Mountain , Catch The Rainbow and Long Live Rock n Roll ” are from the greatest of Rainbow. Atmospheric music, mystical lyrics, weird sounds and instruments are some of the reasons  that Rainbow achieved to create  a special style of music which was radical for that period.  Unfortunately , later on, Dio left the band and in his replacement was Graham Bonnet.

Rainbow :
•    Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975)
•    Rising (1976)
•    On Stage (1977)
•    Long Live Rock n Roll (1978)

Black Sabbath (1979-1982)
Ozzy Osbourne left the band, so the founder and guitarist of Black Sabbath, Tonny Iommy was looking for the right replacement. Dio accepted the proposition without hesitation. The year that followed was amazing for the band. “Heaven and Hell” is one of the most important album in metal . The sales of it and the correspondence of the fans were so high as it could get. The next album “Mob Rules” was quite well but not as awesome as the previous one. Highlights from these two albums are the songs : “Heaven and Hell, Neon Knights, Children of the Sea, Die Young, The Sign of the Southern Cross and Mob Rules”. A part of Black Sabbath’s fans didn’t like this whole new music turn . So , later on , Dio left the band and Ozzy came back to his old position.

Black Sabbath:
•    Heaven and Hell (1979)
•    Mob Rules (1982)

Dio (1982-1991)
It’s time for Dio to create his own band with more metallic sounds and strong riffs. It was a whole new turn from Rock to Metal. The result was more than great. Albums like “Holy Diver, Dream Evil, Lock Up The Wolves and The Last In Line” are considered as Classics in Metal. At this point, Dio was facing charges against him that he worships Satan, cause of the front picture of Holy Diver’s album. He remarkably said that he is not a man with belief in God. These words provoked many people against him but nothing happened to his career and his fans were pleased. The only bad thing is that, there were a lot of changes to the line up on Dio’s band. But it seemed like his inspiration was unstoppable.

•    Holy Diver (1983)
•    The Last In Line (1984)
•    Sacred Heart (1985)
•    Dream Evil (1987)
•    Lock Up The Wolves (1990)

Black Sabbath (1991-1992)

A new album for Black Sabbath after Dio’s return is the “Dehumanizer”, which was a big failure for the band . Even if the line up was the same as it was on “Mob Rules”, the music style is way different, darkest and more depressing than any other Sabbath’s album. The only songs that are quite nice are “Computer God and After All”. Unfortunately, on the early 90s we can find out that a huge decline for Dio is approaching.

Black Sabbath:
•    Dehumanizer (1992)

Dio (1993-2006)
After the failure in the early 90s, Dio re-created his band and released two albums: Strange Highways (1994) and Killing Machines (1996). Both of them were the worst albums that the band ever created with the fans being continuously disappointed. So, the new millennium started and Dio’s band made an effort to come back to the good old times. With the albums : Magical (2000) , Killing The Dragon (2002) and Master Of The Moon (2004) Dio managed to achieve a dynamic come-back !

•    Strange Highways (1994)
•    Killing Machines (1996)
•    Magical (2000)
•    Killing The Dragon (2002)
•    Master of the Moon (2004)

Heaven and Hell (2006-2010)
This is the third and the last come back of Dio to Black Sabbath.  The band chanched its name to “Heaven and Hell” , a group-decision in order to show that this was nothing to do with the old Black Sabbath band. Heaven and Hell was a whole new project. They wrote three new songs in 2006 and in 2010 the homonymous album “Heaven and Hell” made a great success. Sales came up to 30,000 on the first week and the album is in top 10 of  US Billboard 200 chart. It seamed that they were back for real…

Heaven and Hell
•    Heaven and Hell (2010)

Hell (The End)
16 of May 2010. Ronnie James Dio had stomach cancer for over a year. Everyone believed and hoped that he could defeat it.  But, his family gave us a simple announcement that Dio left this world. People all over the world were sad with these news.

Even some tv channels that they have nothing to do with Rock and Metal Scene, made long reports about his death. The music world cries for the loss of this Legend called Dio, a rear and great simple man with values to his life, that very few have.

Ronnie you will always be the top of our music pantheon.

You are a rainbow in the dark…

Ronnie James Dio:
•    Rainbow (1975-1979)
•    Black Sabbath (1979-1982)
•    Dio (1982-1991)
•    Black Sabbath (2006)
•    Heaven and Hell (2006-2010)

Tribute by: Manos Spanos.
Translation and editing by: Efi Burton.