Dio (band)

Last updated
Dio (2005).jpg
Dio in 2005
Background information
Origin Cortland, New York, U.S.
Genres Heavy metal
Years active1982–2010
Associated acts
Website www.ronniejamesdio.com
Past members See below

Dio was an American heavy metal band formed in 1982 and led by vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Dio left Black Sabbath with intentions to form a new band with fellow former Black Sabbath member Vinny Appice, the band's drummer. [1] The name Dio was chosen because it made sense from a commercial standpoint, as the name was already well known at that time.


The band released ten studio albums and had numerous line-up changes over the years with Dio himself being the only constant member. Guitarists included Vivian Campbell, Craig Goldy, Doug Aldrich, Warren DeMartini, [2] Tracy G, Jake E. Lee and Rowan Robertson.

The band dissolved in 2010 when Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer at the age of 67. Dio has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide.


Origins and Holy Diver (1982–1983)

In 1982, disagreements originating over the mixing of Black Sabbath's Live Evil resulted in the departure of Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice from the band. [3] Wanting to continue together as a band, the two formed Dio in October 1982 in the United States with Jake E. Lee (guitars) and Jimmy Bain (bass). About a month after the band’s formation Lee was replaced by Vivian Campbell. The following May, the band released their debut album, Holy Diver . It featured two hit singles, "Rainbow in the Dark" and "Holy Diver", which gained popularity from MTV. Dio and Jimmy Bain played keyboards in the studio, but recruited keyboardist Claude Schnell for live shows in 1983 prior to the Holy Diver tour. Schnell played to the side of the stage on the first two tours before coming out front in 1985. [4] Dio had this to say of the band's origins:

It was a good time to be in that band. It was perfect for us. Everything just fell into place. The ethic in rehearsal was amazing. The effort in the recording was just as good. Everybody wanted it to be great. We really believed in what we were doing and couldn't wait to get that product out and have people hear it. [5]

The Last In Line to Dream Evil (1984–1989)

Now a quintet with Schnell on keyboards, the band released their second studio album, The Last in Line , on July 2, 1984. It was followed by their third album, Sacred Heart , which was released on August 15, 1985.

In 1985, Dio, Campbell and Bain also wrote the song "Stars" for the Hear 'n Aid project, with many other heavy metal luminaries of the time contributing. Campbell became unhappy working with Dio, [6] and the rift between them culminated in Campbell being fired from Dio's band. [7] Campbell was subsequently invited to join Whitesnake in 1987. [8] Several songs were recorded live during the Sacred Heart tour for the 1986 Intermission EP with Campbell still on guitar, however the EP also contained the studio track "Time To Burn", [9] which served to introduce fans to Craig Goldy as the new guitarist.

On July 21, 1987, their fourth album Dream Evil was released. After Dream Evil, Goldy, wanting to pursue solo projects, left the band. [10] In June 1989, 18-year-old Rowan Robertson was announced as Goldy's successor but further changes were to follow, with Schnell, Bain, and Appice leaving the band.

Changes (1990–1999)

Schnell, Bain, and Appice were replaced, respectively, with Jens Johansson, Teddy Cook, and former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright. The new band released the album Lock Up the Wolves in the spring of 1990. During the tour, Dio had a chance meeting with former Black Sabbath bandmate Geezer Butler which led to that band's short-lived reunion, producing one album, Dehumanizer . After this, Dio reassembled Dio once again, retaining only Appice on the drums. By early 1993, guitarist Tracy G, keyboardist Scott Warren of Warrant and bassist Jeff Pilson of Dokken had all joined. During this era, the band abandoned fantasy themed songs and focused on modern issues. [11] As a result, some fans regard the albums made during this period—1993's Strange Highways , 1996's Angry Machines and the live album Inferno: Last in Live —as the worst in Dio's catalogue, while others view them positively as a step away from the outdated sound of the 1980s. With disappointing record sales for Angry Machines, management wanted the band to go back to their earlier style prompting the departure of Tracy G [12] to be replaced by the returning Craig Goldy. In addition, Appice left Dio once again.

Comeback (2000–2004)

Dio performing in Paris, 2002 DIO et Doug Aldrich, le 30 septembre 2002 au Divan du Monde, Paris.jpg
Dio performing in Paris, 2002

Craig Goldy's return facilitated the release of Dio's eighth studio album in 2000, Magica , which was regarded by many as the band's "comeback album" and reached No. 13 on the Billboard independent charts. It featured not only the return of Goldy but also of Simon Wright and Jimmy Bain, although on the European leg of the tour Chuck Garric played bass. Scott Warren remained in the band and performed live, although Dio and Bain handled all of the keyboard and synth on Magica. A concept album, Magica featured a return to the band's older, more successful sound, while increased use of keyboards gave it a more modern feel. [13] During the following tour, however, tensions rose between Goldy on the one hand and Bain and Dio on the other, as Goldy was dealing with family obligations. Goldy left the band in January 2002 and was replaced with Doug Aldrich, who Bain had met while recording a tribute album for Metallica. Because of his late arrival, Aldrich did not contribute much to Dio's ninth work, Killing the Dragon , which was written primarily by Dio and Bain. Killing The Dragon was released in 2002 through Spitfire Records and was well received in the metal community, making the Billboard top 200. Aldrich would stay in the band until April of the following year, when he, like Campbell before him, joined Whitesnake, prompting Goldy's return. Soon afterward, Bain left the band. [14]

Master of the Moon and Split (2004–2010)

Dio released their tenth studio album, Master of the Moon on August 30, 2004 in Europe through SPV Records and on September 7, 2004 in the United States through Sanctuary Records. The album features multi-instrumentalist Jeff Pilson (formerly of Dokken) on bass duties; however, because of prior obligations with Foreigner, he was only available for the recording sessions, and so was replaced by Rudy Sarzo (formerly of Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Blue Öyster Cult among others) on the tour.

2005 saw the release of the Dio live album Evil or Divine – Live in New York City , which featured the same show that was released on DVD in 2003. Dio toured South America, Japan, Europe, and Russia in 2005. Their autumn tour was titled "An Evening With Dio" and featured a regular set, and then a second set of the band playing Holy Diver in its entirety. A DVD of the tour was filmed in London. The audio of this performance, a double CD named Holy Diver – Live was released in April 2006.

In 2007, it was announced that Black Sabbath would reunite with Dio and go under the name Heaven & Hell. The band released The Devil You Know in 2009.

Dio's involvement with Heaven & Hell delayed the recording of what was to be the follow-up to Master of the Moon, Magica II. [15] The three-year hiatus was briefly interrupted for a 10 concert European mini-tour in May/June 2008, and was scheduled to be interrupted again in November/December 2009 with 22 concerts starting in the UK and ending in Germany. [16] Doug Aldrich was to have filled in for Craig Goldy on guitar on these dates, who had other obligations. Dio intended to release a new single, entitled "Electra", to coincide with the tour. This would have been their first studio material in 5 years. The band also intended to record an album or two in 2010. [17]

On November 18, 2009, the European tour was cancelled due to Dio's hospitalization. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, and was undergoing treatment. His manager and wife Wendy Dio thanked well-wishers and said "After he kills this dragon, Ronnie will be back on stage, where he belongs, doing what he loves best, performing for his fans." [18]

On February 19, 2010, it was announced on Dio's official website that he would release a box set, entitled the Tournado Box Set, for limited purchase. The set includes the Killing the Dragon CD, Evil or Divine DVD (PAL format only), DVD bonus material, interviews, photo gallery, never-before-seen behind the scenes footage, promo video for the Killing the Dragon track "Push", exclusive Dio cards, and the bonus CD single "Electra" (which is the last song the band recorded), from the unfinished albums Magica II & Magica III. [19]

Death of Ronnie James Dio

Dio died on May 16, 2010, of stomach cancer at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas at the age of 67.

On November 9, 2010, a posthumous live album was released. Titled Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987 , it features Dio's 1983 and 1987 appearances at the Monsters of Rock festival and showcases several songs from the Dio era of both Rainbow and Black Sabbath, in addition to songs from Dio's own catalogue. [20]

When being interviewed Classic Rock Magazine from the UK, Dio guitarist Craig Goldy stated "We were working on tracks for a new Dio album just before Ronnie died in May. And we did almost finish one song. Wendy [Dio, Ronnie's widow/manager] has been talking about reissuing [DIO's] 'Magica' album (originally released in 2000) with bonus tracks, including this one." Goldy goes on to say of the lyrics, that they were written by Dio when he was fighting cancer, and are "very emotional" and "hard to listen to without a lump at the back of your throat". [21]

On March 18, it was announced that the surviving members of the final line-up of Dio would embark on a project with former Judas Priest front man Tim "Ripper" Owens under the moniker DIO Disciples. The project has been touring extensively since 2011.

In May 2012, former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell, despite his long established feud with Dio, announced his intent to reunite the original Dio band for a potential series of shows. This would include himself, drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, and keyboardist Claude Schnell. This announced line-up would feature former Lynch Mob vocalist and The Offspring touring member Andrew Freeman stepping in for Dio. [22] [23] and would perform under the name Last in Line. [24]


Murray is the demonic-looking mascot of Dio who appears on several of Dio's album covers, including Holy Diver , The Last in Line , Dream Evil , as well as on some of their singles and compilation albums. He was also featured in the sets for live shows.

The Last in Line

Murray is also featured on Dio's second studio album, The Last in Line . On this cover, resurrected souls emerge from their graves on Judgment Day to find a gigantic Murray staring at them from the far horizon.

Dream Evil

Murray is not featured on Dio's third studio album, Sacred Heart , but is, for the last time in his original form, featured on the cover of Dream Evil . He is shown in the window of a bedroom with a child sleeping in a bed, while being haunted by several different scary creatures. Murray's story is printed in the Dream Evil Tour book. The cover art of Dream Evil is a reference to one of the tracks on the album, "Faces in the Window" (the entire album's concept is fears and superstitions about the night and darkness).


The official Dio webstore had created and sold a baseball cap featuring a red embroidery of Murray on the front of the hat, and the DIO logo, in the same red embroidering, on the back side. [25]

Comedy/rock duo Tenacious D released a song on their first album entitled "Dio", a song written as a tribute to Dio, which mocked him somewhat for being too old and saying that Tenacious D were going to take over his position as the masters of heavy metal. [26] Before playing the song live, Jack Black would typically speak about how Dio's tenure in Black Sabbath served as his inspiration to get into heavy metal. The duo appeared in the music video for his song, "Push". Dio also appeared in and sang on Tenacious D's comedy movie The Pick of Destiny. [27]

Dio Brando, the main antagonist of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure , is directly named after the band.

Band members

Final lineup

Succeeding bands

Two groups of former members of Dio, DIO Disciples and Last in Line, have reunited independently to perform Dio songs.

Dio Disciples

Last in Line


Studio albums
Live albums


Related Research Articles

Ronnie James Dio American singer-songwriter and composer (1942-2010)

Ronald James Padavona, known professionally as Ronnie James Dio, was an American heavy metal singer-songwriter and composer. He fronted or founded numerous groups throughout his career, including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, and Heaven & Hell.

<i>Dream Evil</i> (album) 1987 studio album by Dio

Dream Evil is the fourth studio album by American heavy metal band Dio, released on July 21, 1987. It features former Rough Cutt members Craig Goldy and Claude Schnell, and includes the singles "All the Fools Sailed Away" and "I Could Have Been a Dreamer". Dream Evil was Dio's last album to feature Murray on the cover and also the last to feature drummer Vinny Appice until the 1993 album Strange Highways. It was also the last album to feature bassist Jimmy Bain until the release of 2000's Magica. The album also marks Schnell's final appearance with Dio.

<i>Holy Diver</i> 1983 studio album by Dio

Holy Diver is the debut studio album by American heavy metal band Dio, released in 1983. Vocalist Ronnie James Dio had just finished his first tenure in Black Sabbath, whose drummer, Vinny Appice, he took with him to put together his own band. The roster was completed by his former bandmate from Rainbow, Jimmy Bain, on bass and by the young guitarist Vivian Campbell, coming from the new wave of British heavy metal band Sweet Savage. The album was acclaimed by the music press and is the band's most successful effort.

Vinny Appice American rock drummer

Vincent Samson Appice is an American rock drummer best known for his work with the bands Dio, Black Sabbath, and Heaven & Hell. Of Italian descent, he is the younger brother of drummer Carmine Appice.

<i>The Last in Line</i> 1984 studio album by Dio

The Last In Line is the second studio album by American heavy metal band Dio, released on July 2, 1984. It is the first Dio album to feature former Rough Cutt keyboardist Claude Schnell. It became the band's highest-charting album in both the UK and the U.S., reaching number 4 and number 23, respectively.

<i>Sacred Heart</i> (Dio album) 1985 studio album by Dio

Sacred Heart is the third studio album by American heavy metal band Dio. It was released on August 13, 1985 on Warner Bros. Records in North America, and Vertigo elsewhere. The record peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard 200 chart. It includes the singles "Sacred Heart", "Rock 'n' Roll Children" and "Hungry for Heaven".

Vivian Campbell Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician

Vivian Patrick Campbell is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician. He came to prominence in the early 1980s as a member of Dio, and has been a member of Def Leppard since 1992. Campbell has also worked with Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Sweet Savage, Trinity, Riverdogs, and Shadow King.

Jimmy Bain Scottish bassist

James Stewart Bain was a Scottish musician, best known for playing bass guitar in the bands Rainbow and Dio. He also worked with Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott, co-writing on his solo albums.

Craig Goldy Musical artist

Thomas "Craig" Goldy is an American musician, best known as the guitarist of bands Dio and Giuffria.

<i>Magica</i> (album) 2000 studio album by Dio

Magica is the eighth studio album by American heavy metal band Dio. A concept album, it was produced by frontman Ronnie James Dio and released on March 21, 2000, through Spitfire Records.

<i>Intermission</i> (Dio album) 1986 live album by Dio

Intermission is the first live album released by the American heavy metal band Dio in 1986 on the label Vertigo Records in Europe and Warner Bros. Records in North America. The live songs were recorded with guitarist Vivian Campbell during the first leg of the Sacred Heart tour. Craig Goldy replaced Campbell in mid-tour, and the band wanted something to represent the new line-up, so they recorded the song "Time to Burn" in the studio with him, which was added to this album.

<i>Diamonds – The Best of Dio</i> 1992 greatest hits album by Dio

Diamonds – The Best of Dio is a greatest hits collection from heavy metal band Dio. It was released internationally in 1992, but it was never released domestically in the US.

<i>Sacred Heart "The Video"</i> 1986 video by Dio

Sacred Heart "The Video" is the third video album by the American heavy metal band Dio, containing footage of a live concert performance recorded at The Spectrum arena in Philadelphia on June 17, 1986. The concert was filmed during the tour supporting the album Sacred Heart, and the live performance involved complex mechanical devices and laser effects, which cost an estimated US$250,000 to build and transport.

<i>We Rock</i> (video) 2005 video by Dio

We Rock is a compilation video album by the American heavy metal band Dio. It collects the out-of-print videos Live in Concert (1984) and A Special from the Spectrum (1984), which had been available on VHS and a Japanese issued Laserdisc, minus a couple of songs.

<i>A Special from the Spectrum</i> 1984 video by Dio

A Special from the Spectrum is the second video album by the American heavy metal band Dio, containing footage of a live concert performance recorded at The Spectrum arena in Philadelphia on 25 August 1984. Most of the performance has been repackaged on the We Rock DVD, minus the opening track of "Stand Up and Shout". The video has been certified Gold by the RIAA having sold 50,000 units.

<i>Time Machine</i> (video) 1990 video by Dio

Time Machine is a video compilation by the American heavy metal band Dio. Ronnie James Dio made extra narration to every song in this video.

<i>Metal Hits</i> (Dio album) 2005 greatest hits album by Dio

Metal Hits is a compilation album by the heavy metal band Dio and was released in 2005 by Rhino Flashback Records. Multi-instrumentalist and heavy-metal mainstay Ronnie James Dio built up a hefty back catalog over the decades, with a career that spans vocalizing for Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and of course, his own group, Dio. This best-of, which covers the Dio years exclusively, spans the period 1983's Holy Diver and 1990's Lock Up the Wolves, and is packed with the kind of high-octane performances Dio fans have come to treasure. Neo-Gothic masterpieces like "Sunset Superman" and "Dream Evil" share space with the metal mysticism of "Last in Line," while Dio's hell's-gate scream holds sway over all.

<i>At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987</i> 2010 live album by Dio

At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987 is a live album from American heavy metal band Dio. It was released on November 9, 2010 as the first release from Dio's Niji Entertainment Group label. It features two appearances by Dio at the Monsters of Rock festival at Donington: the 1983 show and the 1987 show. In addition to his work with his own band, material from Ronnie James Dio's time in Black Sabbath and Rainbow is also showcased. Much of the material on these two discs is included as bonus tracks on the deluxe expanded editions of Holy Diver and Dream Evil, released in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Last in Line is a British–American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 2012 by former members of the original lineup of Dio. The band's name comes from the 1984 Dio album The Last in Line. Following the death of frontman Ronnie James Dio in 2010, the original lineup of drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, guitarist Vivian Campbell, and keyboardist Claude Schnell reunited along with vocalist Andrew Freeman to perform the Dio songs they originally recorded. The band released a studio album of original material without Schnell titled Heavy Crown in February 2016.


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