Ronnie James Dio – between Heaven and Hell
Remembering the late, great Ronnie James Dio, who died Sunday of stomach cancer. It’s almost doing him an injustice to say he was a great metal singer – he was a powerhouse rock singer, period. Our friends at WFMU radio in Jersey City have a great post today on their Beware of the Blog about Dio’s early years as a duck-tailed rock and roller.
At one time or another, he was lead singer of the Vegas Kings, Ronnie and the Rumblers, Ronnie and the Redcaps, Ronnie Dio and the Prophets and finally, the Electric Elves. That takes us into Dio’s more familiar territory, as the Elves became simply Elf in 1969 and that’s where Deep Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore first heard Dio’s vocals.
The rest, of course, is history – when Blackmore left Deep Purple he recruited Dio and other members of Elf to become Rainbow.
Dio’s given name was Ronald James Padanova and he took on Dio in 1961 after Mafia member Johnny Dio. The great post on Beware of the Blog – written by Dave the Spazz, presumably after a mafioso named “Spazz” – also has a few songs from Dio’s early rock and roll career. I have lifted one to include here … but please go by Dave the Spazz’s great blog post and pick up the others. Thanks Dave, and thanks to Ronnie James Dio. \m/