It was 10 years ago today (May 16, 2010) that we lost one of metal’s greatest singers to stomach cancer at the age of 67.
Ronnie James Dio was renowned throughout the world as one of the greatest and most influential vocalists in heavy metal history. The singer, who was recording and touring with SABBATH offshoot HEAVEN & HELL prior to his illness, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in late 2009. He underwent chemotherapy and made what is now his final public appearance in April 2010 at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles.
A free public memorial service was held on May 30, 2010 at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, attended by more than 1,500 fans, friends and fellow musicians.
Ronnie James Dio, who’s real name was Ronald James Padavona, was born in New Hampshire on July 10, 1942.
He moved to Cortland, New York at a young age, where he began playing with local acts. A street in Cortland, Dio Way, was named after him in 1988.
He released his first single, with a band called RONNIE AND THE REDCAPS, in 1959.
His first heavy rock act, ELF, released three albums and opened for DEEP PURPLE, where Dio’s voice caught the ear of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Blackmore recruited Dio for his own band, RAINBOW, after leaving PURPLE in 1975.
Dio recorded three studio albums and one live set with RAINBOW before leaving in 1978 to replace OZZY OSBOURNE in BLACK SABBATH.
With SABBATH, Dio recordind the “Heaven And Hell” and “Mob Rules” albums, plus “Live Evil”, before leaving in 1982. He rejoined the group 10 years later for an album called “Dehumanizer”, and again reunited with the band under the HEAVEN & HELL banner in 2006. HEAVEN & HELL released an album called “The Devil You Know” in 2009.
He also recorded 10 studio albums with his own band, DIO, including the classic 1983 debut, “Holy Diver”.
Dio was also behind the HEAR N’ AID project, a collection of metal artists who recorded the track “Stars” in 1985 to raise funds for African famine relief.
10 years can go by pretty fast. It seemed like just like last month that I was watching him front HEAVEN & HELL all the while belting out ‘Neon Nights’ to a loud and sold out capacity crowd of Dio Disciples with their hands extended in the air with the iconic ‘devil horns’, something made prominent by the late singer.
This was Ronnie James Dio.