Ronnie James Dio

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Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie-James-Dio Heaven-N-Hell 2009-06-11 Chicago Photoby Adam-Bielawski.jpg
Dio performing in Chicago in 2009
Born
Ronald James Padavona

(1942-07-10)July 10, 1942
DiedMay 16, 2010(2010-05-16) (aged 67)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active1957–2010
Home town Cortland, New York, U.S.
Spouse(s)
  • Loretta Beradi (?-?)
  • Wendy Dio(m. 1974–2010)
ChildrenDan Padavona (adopted)
Musical career
Genres(early) [1]
Instruments
Labels
Associated acts
Website ronniejamesdio.com

Ronald James Padavona (July 10, 1942 - May 16, 2010) known professionally as Ronnie James Dio or simply 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.

Elf was an American rock band founded in 1967 by singer and bassist Ronnie James Dio, keyboardist Doug Thaler, drummer Gary Driscoll, and guitarists Nick Pantas and David Feinstein. The band was originally called the Electric Elves, but was shortened to the Elves in 1968 and finally Elf in 1972. Elf disbanded in 1975 after recording three albums and after most of the lineup had been absorbed into Ritchie Blackmore's new group, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.

Rainbow (rock band) English rock band

Rainbow are a British rock supergroup led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, active from 1975 until 1984, 1993 until 1997, and 2015 until present. They were originally established with Ronnie James Dio's American rock band Elf, but after their first album, Blackmore fired the backing members and continued with Dio until 1979. Three British musicians joined in 1979—singer Graham Bonnet, keyboardist Don Airey and then-former Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover—and this line-up gave the band their commercial breakthrough with the single "Since You Been Gone". Over the years Rainbow went through many personnel changes, with each studio album recorded with a different lineup, and leaving Blackmore as the band's only constant member. The singers Joe Lynn Turner and Doogie White followed Bonnet, and numerous backing musicians have come and gone. In addition to Blackmore, Rainbow's current lineup includes Ronnie Romero on vocals, Jens Johansson on keyboards, Bob Nouveau on bass and David Keith on drums.

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

Contents

Dio was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where his family resided for his father's service in the U.S. Army during World War II; they soon relocated to Cortland, New York. His music career began there in 1957 as part of the Vegas Kings (later Ronnie and the Rumblers). In 1967, he formed the rock band Elf, which became a regular opening act for Deep Purple. In 1975, Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore founded the band Rainbow along with Dio, where he began a successful career releasing albums such as "Rising" (1976) and "Long Live Rock N' Roll" (1978). In 1979, Dio joined Black Sabbath as lead singer. He appeared in two studio albums of the band which met with success: "Heaven & Hell" (1980) and "Mob Rules" (1981). In 1982 he left the band to pursue a solo career, having two albums certified platinum by RIAA. In 2006 he founded the band Heaven & Hell with ex-bandmate Tony Iommi. Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2009, from which he died the following year.

Portsmouth City & unitary authority area in England

Portsmouth is a port city in Hampshire, England, with a total population of 205,400 residents. The city of Portsmouth is nicknamed Pompey and is mainly built on Portsea Island, a flat, low-lying island measuring 24 square kilometres in area, just off the south-east coast of Hampshire. Uniquely, Portsmouth is the only island city in the United Kingdom, and is the only city whose population density exceeds that of London.

New Hampshire State of the United States of America

New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest by area and the 10th least populous of the 50 states. Concord is the state capital, while Manchester is the largest city in the state. It has no general sales tax, nor is personal income taxed at either the state or local level. The New Hampshire primary is the first primary in the U.S. presidential election cycle. Its license plates carry the state motto, "Live Free or Die". The state's nickname, "The Granite State", refers to its extensive granite formations and quarries.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Dio is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential heavy metal artists of all time. He is known for popularizing the "Metal Horns" hand gesture in metal culture and his medieval-themed song lyrics. Dio had a powerful, versatile vocal range and was capable of singing both hard rock and lighter ballads. He was awarded the "Metal Guru Award" by Classic Rock Magazine in 2006. He was also named the "Best Metal singer" at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in 2010.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Revolver handgun that has a cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel

A revolver is a repeating handgun that has a revolving cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. Revolvers are a subset of handguns, distinct from pistols, which are defined as handguns with an integral chamber-barrel assembly. The revolver allows the user to fire multiple rounds without reloading after every shot, unlike older single shot firearms. After a round is fired the hammer is cocked and the next chamber in the cylinder is aligned with the barrel by the shooter either manually pulling the hammer back or by rearward movement of the trigger.

Early life

Ronald James "Dio" Padavona was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Italian-American parents from Cortland, New York. His family moved to Portsmouth from Cortland as part of his father's service in the U.S. Army during World War II [2] and they resided there for only a short time before returning to Cortland. Padavona listened to a great deal of opera while growing up, and was influenced vocally by American tenor Mario Lanza. [3] His first formal musical training began at age 5, learning to play the trumpet. [3] Padavona participated in his high school's band program and was one of the youngest members selected to play in the school's official dance band.[ citation needed ] It was also during high school that Padavona formed his first rock-n-roll group, The Vegas Kings. He soon changed the name of his band to "Ronnie and the Rumblers" and shortly thereafter to "Ronnie and the Red Caps". Though Padavona began his rock-n-roll career on trumpet, he added singing to his skillset and also assumed bass guitar duties for the groups.[ citation needed ]

Portsmouth, New Hampshire City in New Hampshire, United States

Portsmouth is a city in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 21,233, and in 2017 the estimated population was 21,796. A historic seaport and popular summer tourist destination on the Piscataqua River bordering the state of Maine, Portsmouth was formerly the home of the Strategic Air Command's Pease Air Force Base, since converted to Portsmouth International Airport at Pease.

Cortland, New York City in New York, United States

Cortland is a city in Cortland County, New York, United States of America. Known as the Crown City, Cortland is located in New York's Southern Tier region. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 19,204. It is the county seat of Cortland County.

Tenor is a male voice type in classical music whose vocal range lies between the countertenor and baritone. The tenor's vocal range extends up to C5. The low extreme for tenors is roughly A2 (two As below middle C). At the highest extreme, some tenors can sing up to the second F above middle C (F5). The tenor voice type is generally divided into the leggero tenor, lyric tenor, spinto tenor, dramatic tenor, heldentenor, and tenor buffo or spieltenor.

Padavona graduated from Cortland High School in 1960. He was allegedly offered a scholarship to the prestigious Juilliard School of Music but did not take up the offer due to his interest in rock music. [4] Dio instead attended the University at Buffalo to major in pharmacology. [5] He played trumpet in the university's concert band; however, he only attended the university from 1960 to 1961 and did not graduate. [2]

Juilliard School American performing arts conservatory in New York City

The Juilliard School, informally referred to as Juilliard and located in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, is a performing arts conservatory established in 1905. The school trains about 850 undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music. It is widely regarded as one of the world's leading drama, music and dance schools, with some of the most prestigious arts programs. In 2016, QS Quacquarelli Symonds ranked it as the world's best institution for Performing Arts in their inaugural global ranking of the discipline.

Pharmacology branch of biology studying to drug action

Pharmacology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of drug action, where a drug can be broadly defined as any man-made, natural, or endogenous molecule which exerts a biochemical or physiological effect on the cell, tissue, organ, or organism. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. If substances have medicinal properties, they are considered pharmaceuticals.

Despite being known for his powerful singing voice, Padavona claimed to have never received any vocal training. [6] He instead attributed his singing ability to the use of breathing techniques he learned while playing trumpet. [7]

Career

Early career

Dio's musical career began in 1957, when several Cortland, New York musicians formed the band, The Vegas Kings. The group's lineup consisted of Dio on bass guitar, Billy DeWolfe on lead vocals, Nick Pantas on guitar, Tom Rogers on drums, and Jack Musci on saxophone.

In 1958, the band again changed their name from Ronnie & The Rumblers to Ronnie and the Redcaps. Musci left the band in 1960, and a new guitarist, Dick Botoff, joined the lineup. The Redcaps released two singles: The first single was "Conquest"/"Lover" with the A-side being an instrumental reminiscent of The Ventures and the B-side featuring DeWolfe on lead vocals. The second single was "An Angel Is Missing"/"What'd I Say" featuring Dio on lead vocals for both tracks.

Explanations vary for how Padavona adopted the stage name "Dio". One story is that Dio was a reference to mafia member Johnny Dio. [8] Another has it that Padavona's grandmother said he had a gift from God and should be called "Dio" ("God" in Italian), although this was debunked by Padavona's widow, Wendy, in a February 2017 interview. Padavona first used the name on a recording in 1960, when he added it to the band's second release on Seneca. Soon after that the band modified their name to Ronnie Dio and the Prophets. The Prophets lineup lasted for several years, touring throughout the New York region and playing college fraternity parties. They produced one single for Atlantic [9] and one album. Some of the singles (such as "Mr. Misery", released on Swan) were labeled as being by Ronnie Dio as a solo artist even if the rest of the Prophets contributed to the recording. The group released several singles during the following years until early 1967. Dio continued to use his birth name on any songwriting credits on those releases.

In late 1967, Ronnie Dio and the Prophets transformed into a new band called The Electric Elves and added a keyboard player. After recovering from a deadly car accident in February 1968 (which killed guitarist Nick Pantas and put Dio and the other band members briefly in the hospital), the group shortened its name to The Elves and used that name until mid-1972, when it released its first proper album under the name Elf. Over the next few years, the group went on to become a regular opening act for Deep Purple. Elf recorded three albums until the members' involvement recording the first Rainbow album in early 1975 resulted in Elf disbanding.

Rainbow

Dio and Ritchie Blackmore performing with Rainbow. Rainbow in performance (27 09 1977 02 500b).jpg
Dio and Ritchie Blackmore performing with Rainbow.

In the mid-1970s Dio's vocals caught the ear of Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who was planning on leaving them due to creative differences over the band's new direction. Blackmore invited Dio along with Gary Driscoll to record two songs in Tampa, Florida on December 12, 1974. Blackmore stated in 1983, "I left Deep Purple because I'd met up with Ronnie Dio, and he was so easy to work with. He was originally just going to do one track of a solo LP, but we ended up doing the whole LP in three weeks, which I was very excited about." [10] Being satisfied with the results, Blackmore decided to recruit more of Elf's musicians and form his own band, initially known as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. They released the self-titled debut album Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow in early 1975. After that, Dio recorded two more studio albums ( Rising and Long Live Rock 'n' Roll ) and two archival live albums ( Live in Munich 1977 and Live in Germany 1976 ) with Blackmore. During his tenure with Rainbow, Dio and Blackmore were the only constant members. Dio is credited on those albums for all lyrical authorship as well as collaboration with Blackmore on musical arrangement. Dio and Blackmore split, with Blackmore taking the band in a more commercial direction, with Graham Bonnet on vocals and the album Down to Earth .

Black Sabbath

Dio left Rainbow in 1979 and soon joined Black Sabbath, replacing the fired Ozzy Osbourne. Dio met Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi by chance at The Rainbow on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in 1979. [10] Both men were in similar situations, as Dio was seeking a new project and Iommi needed a vocalist. Dio said of the encounter, "It must have been fate, because we connected so instantly." [10] The pair kept in touch until Dio arrived at Iommi's Los Angeles house for a relaxed, getting-to-know-you jam session. On that first day the duo wrote the song, "Children of the Sea", which appeared on the Heaven and Hell album, the first the band recorded with Dio as vocalist, released in 1980.

The follow-up album, Mob Rules , featured new drummer Vinny Appice. Personality conflicts began emerging within the band. "Ronnie came into the band and he was doing whatever we told him, basically because he wanted the gig. The next album was a little different," Iommi recalled. [10] In 1982, conflict arose over the mixing of the Live Evil album. Iommi asserted that the album's engineer began complaining to him that he would work all day long on a mix, only to have Dio return to the studio at night to "do his own mix" in which his vocals were more prominent. [10] This was denied by Dio. [11] The conflict led to Dio and Appice ultimately quitting the band later that year.

In 1992, Dio briefly returned to Black Sabbath to record the Dehumanizer album. The album was a minor hit, reaching the Top 40 in the United Kingdom and #44 on the Billboard 200. The single "Time Machine" was featured in the movie Wayne's World , the tenth highest-grossing film of 1992. Soon Dio and Appice again left the band, citing an inability to work with Iommi and Butler.

Dio

Wanting to continue together as a band, Dio and Appice formed Dio, the band, in 1982. Vivian Campbell played guitar and Jimmy Bain was on bass; the latter of whom Dio had known since the old Rainbow days. Their debut album, Holy Diver , included the hit singles "Rainbow in the Dark" and "Holy Diver", the album's title track.

The band added keyboardist Claude Schnell and recorded two more full-length studio albums, The Last in Line and Sacred Heart . A notable live recording, A Special From The Spectrum , was filmed during the band's second world tour and released in VHS format only. The band changed members over the years, eventually leaving Dio as the only original member in 1990. Except for a few breaks, Dio, the band, was always touring or recording. They released ten albums, with Master of the Moon being the last one, recorded in 2004.

Heaven & Hell

Dio "throwing horns", a gesture commonly used by both artists and fans of heavy metal music Dio throwing Horns.jpg
Dio "throwing horns", a gesture commonly used by both artists and fans of heavy metal music

In October 2006, Dio joined Black Sabbath members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and former Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice to tour under the moniker Heaven & Hell, the title of the first Dio era Black Sabbath album. They chose the name Heaven & Hell as Iommi and Butler were still in Black Sabbath with 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 later withdrew.

In 2007, the band recorded three new songs under the Black Sabbath name for the compilation album Black Sabbath: The Dio Years .

In 2008, the band completed a 98-date world tour. The band released one album under the Heaven & Hell name, The Devil You Know , to critical and commercial acclaim. They also had planned to release a follow-up in 2010.

Other projects

In 1974, Dio sang on the Roger Glover conducted and produced concept album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast . Along with other guest-singers, the album featured Deep Purple alumni Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale. Dio provided vocals for the songs "Homeward", "Sitting in a Dream", and the UK single Love Is All . [12] [13]

In 1980, Dio sang the tracks "To Live for the King" and "Mask of the Great Deceiver" on Kerry Livgren's solo album, Seeds of Change .

In 1985, Dio contributed to the metal world's answer to Band Aid and USA for Africa with the Hear 'n Aid project. With a heavy metal all-star ensemble—the brainchild of his fellow Dio band mates Campbell and Bain—he sang some of the vocals on the single "Stars" and an album full of songs from other artists given to charity.

The project raised $1 million within a year.

In 1997, Dio made a cameo on Pat Boone's In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy , an album of famous heavy metal songs played in big band style. Dio can be heard singing backup on Boone's take of "Holy Diver". In 1999, he was parodied in the TV show South Park , in the episode "Hooked on Monkey Fonics", which he later described as "wonderful." [14]

In 1999, Dio participated in a significant Deep Purple project, In Concert with The London Symphony Orchestra, where he recorded cover versions of Deep Purple songs, and reprised his songs from the earlier The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast album.

Tenacious D included a tribute song entitled "Dio" that appeared on their self-titled album. The song explains how he has to "pass the torch" for a new generation. Reportedly, Dio approved of it, and had Tenacious D appear in his video "Push" from Killing the Dragon in 2002. He also appeared in the film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny , playing himself.

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 Dio appeared onstage to sing the part live on at least one occasion (both shown on the Mindcrime at the Moore DVD).

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

Dio is thanked in the end credits of the 2011 film Atlas Shrugged: Part I , due to his being "one of the people who kept the project alive." [15]

Personal life

Dio and drummer Vinny Appice performing with Heaven & Hell in Katowice, Poland, on June 20, 2007 Ronnie James Dio HAH Katowice.jpg
Dio and drummer Vinny Appice performing with Heaven & Hell in Katowice, Poland, on June 20, 2007

Dio and his first wife, Loretta Berardi (born 1941), adopted a son, novelist Dan Padavona. [2]

After divorcing Berardi, he married Wendy Gaxiola (born 1945) who also served as his manager. In the 1980s, she managed the Los Angeles rock bands Rough Cutt, and Hellion. Dio remained married to Gaxiola until his death.

Illness and death

In 2009, Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer [16] and underwent treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

On May 4, 2010, Heaven & Hell announced they were canceling all summer dates as a result of Dio's ill health. [17] His last live performance was with Heaven & Hell on August 29, 2009, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Dio died from the disease on May 16, 2010. [18] [19] [20]

The tomb of Dio (note the "throwing horns" sign on the flanking urns) Ronnie James Dio Tomb.JPG
The tomb of Dio (note the "throwing horns" sign on the flanking urns)

A public memorial service was held on May 30, 2010 at The Hall of Liberty, Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles. [21] The hall was filled to capacity, with many more fans sitting outside the hall watching the memorial on multiple giant screens on both the east and south sides of the hall. Friends, family, and former and current band mates of Dio gave speeches and performed including Rudy Sarzo, Geoff Tate, John Payne, Glenn Hughes, Joey Belladonna, and Heaven & Hell keyboard player, Scott Warren. On the screen was an accompanying documentary covering Dio's career from his early days with Elf to his final project with Heaven & Hell.

Legacy

A tribute monument of Dio in Kavarna, Bulgaria Dio monument.jpeg
A tribute monument of Dio in Kavarna, Bulgaria

Dio's career spanned more than 50 years. During this period, and particularly in the 21st century, he received a number of distinctions and awards. He was inducted into the Cortland City Hall of Fame in 2004, and has a street named after him there called Dio Way. Classic Rock Magazine awarded Dio with the "Metal Guru Award" at their yearly "Roll of Honour" awards ceremony in 2006. On January 17, 2007, Dio was inducted into Guitar Center's Rock Walk of Fame in Hollywood. Dio was named "Best Metal Singer" at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in April 2010 for his work on The Devil You Know , making him the oldest recipient of this award at age 67. He accepted the award in person at what was to be his final public appearance, just one month before his death. [22] The main stage of Bloodstock Open Air is also named after him in tribute after Heaven & Hell pulled out upon his death. Also, the main stage on Masters of Rock festival carries his name since summer 2010. A Dio monument has been unveiled in Kavarna, Bulgaria. [23] [24] In Mexico the biggest metal fest was named "Hell and Heaven" in honor of Dio; the organization says that the festival was named that way since they had worked with Dio, referring to him as "the greatest singer and person we ever had worked with, a really humble person."

Rolling Stone magazine eulogized Dio with these words: "It wasn't just his mighty pipes that made him Ronnie James Dio — it was his moral fervor...what always stood out was Dio's raging compassion for the lost rock & roll children in his audience. Dio never pretended to be one of the kids — he sang as an adult assuring us that we weren't alone in our suffering, and some day we might even be proud of conquering it." [25]

On July 10, 2011, in parallel to Dio's birthday, his hometown of Cortland, New York held a day-long event featuring many central New York local bands and talent for a benefit to the Stand Up and Shout Cancer foundation for cancer research and Dio Memorial concert. Part of the proceeds from the event went to fund a memorial music scholarship for the local city high-school in his name. [26]

On March 31, 2014, the tribute album Ronnie James Dio This Is Your Life was released. It was organized and produced by Wendy Gaxiola, with album proceeds benefitting the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. [27]

On August 6, 2016, a hologram of the singer, created by Eyellusion, made its live debut at the Wacken Open Air Festival. [28] A second hologram was created for a subsequent world tour, which began on December 6, 2017 in Bochum, Germany and is expected to continue into 2018. [29]

On January 18, 2017, Dio was inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History. [30]

Discography

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References

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  4. "fortunecity.com". Rivendell.fortunecity.com. Archived from the original on December 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  5. "Ronnie James Dio interview". Ronniejamesdiosite.com. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
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