In today’s From The Vault, we honor the life and legacy of Ronald James Padavona, better known as Ronnie James Dio, who would have been 72 this Thursday. It’s still hard to believe that it’s been 5 years since Ronnie passed away in 2010, at the age of 67 from stomach cancer. His passing is a tremendous loss to the metal world, but his legacy will be remembered forever.
Ronnie began his music career in 1957 with a band called The Vegas Kings which Ronnie started out playing bass in. Eventually Ronnie began singing and changed the band name, as well as his name to Ronnie Dio after mobster Johnny Dio. In 1967, after his previous band disbanded, Ronnie formed Electric Elves, later shortened to Elf and recorded three studio albums while securing the opening act slot with Deep Purple. Ronnie caught the ear of Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and recruited Ronnie for his new band Rainbow after splitting with Deep Purple. Rainbow released their debut album in 1975 called Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. However after releasing two more albums as well as a live album, Dio and Blackmore split due to creative differences, as Blackmore was looking to take Rainbow in a more commercial direction. In 1979, Ronnie replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath and the band subsequently released Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules which put Sabbath back on the map. During the mixing of Live Evil, tensions erupted causing Dio to quit and form his own band, Dio. The band released their debut album Holy Diver in 1983. Dio went on to subsequently release 10 albums and although members changed over the years, Ronnie was always touring and recording.
In 2006, Ronnie joined Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice for the Heaven and Hell tour and had been touring with Heaven and Hell up until it was announced that he had cancer in 2009. Heaven and Hell cancelled their upcoming summer tour and Ronnie fought to get back to what he loved, however his health deteriorated and he passed away on May 16, 2010 at 7:45AM. His wife, Wendy Dio formed The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, a non-profit charitable fund dedicated to support cancer prevention research, raise awareness and educate the public about early detection in Ronnie’s honor.
Rest In Peace Ronnie!
For more on The Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund visit Dio’s website here