Throwin’ the Horns: Ronnie James Dio

I remember my first experience with Ronnie James Dio. I was sitting on the couch in my living room watching South Park with my dad and who else is playing at the kids’ school dance but Dio. “Most excellent!” said Dad as we watched on in amazement.

Last Sunday, May 16, 2010 Ronnie James Dio died at age 67 after a seven month battle with stomach cancer. Dio left behind his wife Wendy and his adopted son Dan from a previous marriage.

The owner of one of the most powerful voices in rock ‘n’ roll history, Dio was offered a scholarship to the Julliard School of Music, but turned it down in pursuit of his career in all things metal.

Dio, Ronnie James Dio, Elf, 1974

Ronnie James Dio performing with Elf in August 1974

Elf was the opening act for Deep Purple, a band popularly known for its song “Smoke on the Water.” After leaving Deep Purple, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore recruited Dio and several others to form the band Rainbow with which Dio recorded three albums. Then, in 1979, Dio left Rainbow and joined Black Sabbath replacing Ozzy Osbourne.

Ronnie James Dio, Dio, Black Sabbath, England

Dio with Black Sabbath in England in June, 1980

After leaving Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio formed the band Dio in October 1982. Their debut album “Holy Diver” featured two hit singles “Holy Diver” and “Rainbow in the Dark.”

Dio, Ronnie James Dio, 1983

Dio in Los Angeles in 1983

Deemed “satanic” by many Christians, Ronnie James Dio popularized the legendary symbol of rock, the devil horns.

Devil Horns, Rock 'n' Roll, Metal, Rock

Dio in 1986

In October 2006, Ronnie James Dio and several members of Black Sabbath formed the band Heaven & Hell, which released the album “The Devil You Know.”

Although the song “Holy Diver” has been covered by many bands including Sum 41 and Tenacious D, Killswitch Engage’s version is by far the most metal.

Although he is no longer here to melt faces with his powerful vocals and electrifying stage presence, he will rock on in our hearts forever. You will be missed, Ronnie James Dio.

Dio, Ronnie James Dio, Sunrise, Florida, devil horns, rock 'n' roll, metal

Dio backstage in Sunrise, Fla. on September 24, 2007

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