Ronnie James Dio

Ronnie James Dio


 

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Ronnie James Dio was part of the legendary Rainbow and Black Sabbath line-ups of the Seventies and early Eighties, started his solo career in 1982 and has released albums on a regular basis with this his own band ever since. Yet to him, every new recording in his exceptional career is another highlight that deserves his whole attention. “I enjoy starting work on a new album. Every time it’s a mix of concentrated calm, thanks to my routine of many years, and great anticipation”.

Ronnie James Dio made the decisive step in his career in 1975, when Ritchie Blackmore, who had just left Deep Purple, reformed most of the members of Dio’s previous band, Elf, in a new project called Rainbow. Rainbow became Dio’s ticket to international fame, their 1975 debut featuring hard rock classics like ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’ or ‘Catch The Rainbow’, which became an instant success. Spectacular albums like Rainbow Rising (1976), On Stage – Live (1977) and Long Live Rock’n’Roll (1978) followed. To this day, Dio talks about his former mentor, Blackmore, with great respect: “Ritchie is the perfect musician. He knows his instrument inside out. As a composer, he has an amazing taste for the blend of rock and classical music. He’s a wonderful solo artist, a consummate musician and a great performer.”

Dio left Rainbow in 1979 and joined Black Sabbath to replace Ozzy Osbourne, releasing three albums with Sabbath in the Eighties: Heaven And Hell (1980), Mob Rules (1981) and Live Evil (1983), followed by an intermezzo, entitled Dehumanizer, in 1992. His musical opposite both times was Tony Iommi. “Tony is the greatest riff writer I’ve ever met,” he enthuses. “He has so many phenomenal riffs up his sleeve that you wonder where they all come from. Tony invented heavy metal, his style continues to be copied by a lot of young bands.”

Dio returned in 1983 as a band leader – this time under his own name. Three celebrated albums – Holy Diver (1983), The Last In Line (1984) and Sacred Heart (1985) – were the next steps in his ever-successful career, and towards the end of the Eighties, he still hadn’t run out of things to say: Dream Evil (1987), recorded with guitarist Craig Glody, went down just as well with the public as his previous releases. On Lock Up The Wolves (1990), featuring 16-year-old British guitarist Rowan Robertson, the vocalist presented himself as energetic and powerful as ever. The two subsequent studio recordings, Strange Highways (1993) and Angry Machines (1996), showed that there’s another side to Ronnie James Dio. His tendency towards mythical themes with lyrics about elves, demons and fire-spewing dragons had been replaced by a more realistic concept – which didn’t seem to have any effect on his fans’ affections, as his 1998 live cut The Last In Live proved. Magica reanimated Dio’s collaboration with Craig Goldy in 2000, returning to his typical trademarks of the early Eighties, and was succeeded by a generically related offering, Killing The Dragon, two years later. His latest release, Master Of The Moon has been performed live for the first time in August 2004.

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