Ronnie James Dio life and biography

Ronnie James Dio picture, image, poster

Ronnie James Dio biography

Date of birth : 1942-07-10
Date of death : 2010-05-16
Birthplace : Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-05-17
Credited as : Rock heavy metal vocalist and songwriter, Rainbow Singer, Dio singer

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Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona; July 10, 1942) is an American heavy metal vocalist and songwriter. He has performed with Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, and his own band Dio. Other musical projects include the collective fundraiser Hear 'n Aid. He is widely hailed as one of the most powerful singers in heavy metal, renowned for his consistently powerful voice and for popularizing the "devil's horns" hand gesture in metal culture. He is currently collaborating on a project with former Black Sabbath bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice, under the moniker Heaven & Hell, whose first studio album, The Devil You Know, was released on April 28, 2009.

Although his trademark tales of "dungeons and dragons" may have single-handedly inspired Spinal Tap (more specifically, Tap's overblown epic "Stonehenge"), Ronnie James Dio is unquestionably one of heavy metal's most talented and instantly identifiable vocalists. Born Ronald James Pardovana in Portsmouth, NH, on July 10, 1942, the young Dio started his music career at an early age, playing bass and trumpet for a local band called the Vegas Kings. The band changed names over the years, until the late '60s when the group became the Electric Elves, specializing in rock and folk sounds. By the dawn of the '70s, their name was shortened to simply Elf (with Dio focusing on lead vocals full-time, and changing his name to Ronnie James Dio) and a record deal came their way, with ex-Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover producing. After several releases failed to chart, Elf met ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore through Glover, who had just left the Purple and was looking to form a new project. Shortly after their initial meeting, Blackmore invited most of Elf to join his new outfit, Rainbow.

While Blackmore's original musical plan for Rainbow was to get back to basics (the complete opposite of what the rock dinosaur Deep Purple had become toward the end), the new group ended up sounded more or less like Purple -- in fact, a more apparent prog rock edge was added. Such hit albums as 1975's Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, 1976's Rainbow Rising, 1977's On Stage, and 1978's Long Live Rock 'n' Roll helped introduce Dio to the heavy metal masses worldwide, but when Blackmore made it clear that Rainbow were his band, Dio jumped ship. Shortly thereafter, Dio received word that Ozzy Osbourne had left Black Sabbath, and a tryout was arranged. Dio got the gig immediately (penning most of the Sab classic "Children of the Sea" at their initial jam session), and helped Sabbath break out of their creative and commercial slump, resulting in such metal classics as 1980's Heaven and Hell and 1981's Mob Rules. With Sabbath enjoying their greatest success in years, Dio shocked the metal world by leaving what appeared to be a promising union after the spotty Live Evil release appeared in 1982.

Fed up with the "singer for hire" tag that was bestowed upon him by many, Dio set out to form his very first solo project, called simply Dio. Similar in style to his previous bands but with a slightly more commercial edge, Dio's first two solo albums, 1983's Holy Diver and 1984's Last in Line, racked up platinum sales -- making the band an arena headliner in its own right (complete with a highly theatrical and prop-heavy stage show). In 1985, Dio also found time to lead a heavy metal version of Band Aid/U.S.A. for Africa called Hear N' Aid, which saw an all-star group of metallists performing a Dio-penned song, "Stars," with all the funds of the single and album of the same name going to fight starvation in Africa. Although Dio couldn't sustain their initial commercial success, they remained a consistent metal attraction. In the early '90s, Ronnie mended his differences with his old Sabbath mates, and found himself fronting the band once again for an album, 1992's Dehumanizer, and subsequent tour. Predictably, the reunion didn't last long, and he returned back to solo work, resulting in such albums as 1996's Angry Machines, 2000's Magica, and 2002's Killing the Dragon.

In 2000, Century Media released Holy Dio: Tribute to Ronnie James Dio, an album featuring a number of covers by mainly power metal bands.

Tenacious D has written a tribute song entitled "Dio" that appears on their self-titled album that calls for the singer to "pass the torch" on to them. Reportedly, Dio approved of it, and had Tenacious D appear in his video "Push". He has also appeared in the film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, playing himself. However, on VH1, some have interpreted small clips of an interview with him as expressing resentment at the idea that he needs to "pass the torch" and seemed uncertain that Tenacious D is worthy of such an honor. When viewed in full, this interview is clearly done in good humor.

In 2005, Dio was revealed to be the voice behind Dr. X in Operation: Mindcrime II, the sequel to Queensrÿche's seminal concept album Operation: Mindcrime. His part was shown in a prerecorded video on the subsequent tour, and Ronnie appeared onstage to sing the part live on at least one occasion (both shown on the Mindcrime at the Moore DVD).

During September 2005 Dio toured Siberia and Russia's far east, kicking off in Khabarovsk.

In October 2006 it was confirmed that Dio would be joining Black Sabbath members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and former Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice to tour under the moniker Heaven & Hell, which was the title of the first Dio era Black Sabbath album. They chose the name Heaven & Hell as Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler are still in the Black Sabbath band with Ozzy Osbourne and felt it was best to use a different moniker for the Dio version of the band. Original Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward was to be involved in this project, but he later withdrew. In 2008 the band completed a 98-date world tour.

In 2006, Dio appeared in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny playing himself. He plays a small role at the beginning of the movie, where Lil' JB, played by Troy Gentile, is angry because his father, played by Meat Loaf, won't let him play rock because he thinks it's the devil's music. Lil' JB then prays to a poster of Dio to help him out. Dio comes to life and urges him in song to "leave his oppressive neighborhood" and head to Hollywood.

On January 17, 2007, he was inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame at Guitar Center on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard.

Personal life

Dio married his first wife, Loretta Berardi (born 1941), sometime in the 1960s. They adopted one son, Dan Padavona (born July 1968), who works as a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Binghamton, New York.

After divorcing Berardi, he married Wendy Galaxiola (born 1947), who also serves as his manager. In the 1980s she managed the Los Angeles rock bands Rough Cutt and Hellion. She is the chair of the privately sponsored organization, Children of the Night, dedicated to rescuing America's children from prostitution. He currently has two grandchildren, Joey and Angela. He resides in Los Angeles.

On 25 November 2009, his wife/manager announced that Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer:

"Ronnie has been diagnosed with the early stages of stomach cancer. We are starting treatment immediately at the Mayo Clinic. After he kills this dragon, Ronnie will be back on stage, where he belongs, doing what he loves best, performing for his fans. Long live rock and roll, long live Ronnie James Dio. Thanks to all the friends and fans from all over the world that have sent well wishes. This has really helped to keep his spirit up."

On 14 March 2010, Dio's wife and manager Wendy posted an online update on his condition:

"It has been Ronnie's 7th chemo, another cat scan and another endoscopy, and the results are good - the main tumour has shrunk considerably, and our visits to Houston (cancer clinic in Texas) are now every three weeks instead of every two weeks."

On 4 May 2010, Heaven and Hell announced they were cancelling all summer dates as a result of Dio's ill health.

Dio died at 7:45 am on May 16, 2010, according to official sources. He was 67 years old.

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