Remembering Ronnie James Dio

(Gibson) On this day in 2010, Ronnie James Dio died from stomach cancer. The 67-year-old metal singer had fronted many bands, including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio. Gibson looks back: Among the very last songs Ronnie James Dio ever recorded was "Metal Will Never Die," an ode to the fist-pumping power and glory that Dio, himself, personified. It's been just one short year since his untimely death, on this day in 2010, and those words echo as loudly today, if not louder, than when the diminutive metal god with the golden voice first delivered them. Dio's death, though not surprising to the legion of metal fans who knew he had been ill for quite some time, galvanized the heavy metal community in an unprecedented way.

Born Ronald James Padavona in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1942, Dio's ascension from trumpet and French horn player, which were his first musical instruments, to heavy metal god is the story of perseverance, passion for rock 'n' roll and undeniable talent.

Dio's musical career began in 1957 with a band called The Vegas Kings, which later changed to Ronnie and the Rumblers, then Ronnie and the Redcaps, then in 1961, Ronnie Dio and the Prophets. In 1967, Dio and Prophets guitarist Nick Pantas formed the Electric Elves, which shortened its name two years later to Elf. The band's success eventually landed them an opening slot for Deep Purple, which exposed Dio's remarkable voice to Deep Purple's guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore, who later recruited Dio and other members of Elf for his new band Rainbow.

After three studio albums and a live album, Dio left Rainbow, and in 1979 he replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath. Dio's first album with Sabbath, the platinum-selling Heaven and Hell, was the shot in the arm Sabbath's flagging career needed. Next up was the album Mob Rules, followed by the live disc Live Evil. Disagreements during the mixing of Live Evil prompted Dio to leave the band and strike out on his own.

In 1982, Dio and former Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice formed Dio. They recruited 19-year old Irish sensation Vivian Campbell on guitar, as well as bassist Jimmy Bain. Dio's debut album, Holy Diver, remains of metal's landmark albums. Over the years and through numerous personnel changes Dio would remain the only constant member of the band the band released 10 albums. more on this story

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