Member:
1957-1958 The Vegas Kings - bass  
1958 Ronnie & The Rumblers - bass  
1958-1961 Ronnie (Dio) & The Red Caps - vocals, bass  
1961-1967 Ronnie Dio & The Prophets - vocals, bass  
1967-1973 Elf - vocals, bass  
1973-1975 Elf - vocals  
1975-1979 Rainbow - vocals  
1979-1982 Black Sabbath - vocals  
1982-1991 Dio - vocals  
1985 Hear 'N Aid - vocals  
1991-1992 Black Sabbath - vocals  
1993-2010 Dio - vocals  
2006-2010 Heaven And Hell - vocals  
Studio musician:
2006 Black Sabbath - vocals  
Live musician:
2006 Queensrÿche - vocals  
Guest musician:
1974 Roger Glover - vocals  
2006 Queensrÿche - vocals  
2007 Tenacious D - vocals  
2008 Girlschool - vocals  


Personal information

Born on: 10.07.1942
Died on: 16.05.2010

Official website

Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona on July 10, 1942 in Cortland, New York) is a heavy metal vocalist who has performed with Black Sabbath, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, and his own band Dio. Other musical projects include the collective fundraiser Hear 'n Aid and his band immediately before Rainbow, Elf. He is renowned for his consistently powerful voice and for popularizing the 'horns' hand gesture in heavy metal culture (formed by closing the thumb over the middle and ring fingers, while having the index and little-finger extended). Ronnie said that his grandmother used to make the hand gesture to ward off the evil eye, which is very common among superstitious Italians. The "horns", or "Corna", themselves are used to both scare away and give someone the "Malocchio" (the Evil Eye). He is currently collaborating on a project with former Black Sabbath bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice, which is going under the name Heaven and Hell.

Early years

Ronnie James Dio was born Ronald James Padavona, an only child to a family of Italian heritage. The family moved to Cortland, New York early on in Dio's life. He initially played trumpet and even recorded several singles with various rockabilly bands when he was a kid. The earliest known band went by the name The Vegas Kings, which was changed later to Ronnie & The Rumblers and finally to Ronnie And The Red Caps, whose first 7-inch single was released in 1958.

Ronnie took up the name "Dio" after mafia member Johnny Dio, and first used it professionally in the early 1960s by playing in a band called Ronnie Dio and the Prophets.

Much of Dio's early life is not known for certain. Some say he earned a degree in pharmacology and graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School of Music, but this has not been verified either by Dio or by other independent sources.


Career

In the mid-1960s, he formed the band "Ronnie Dio and the Prophets", a precursor to Electric Elves, with keyboardist Doug Thaler (later a manager of Mötley Crüe). Then in 1969, Dio formed the band Elf, which went on to be an opening act for Deep Purple. Dio's vocals caught the ear of Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, and when Blackmore left the band, he recruited Dio and other members of Elf to form Rainbow. After a few albums with Rainbow, he left the band due to creative differences (Blackmore had wanted to take the band in a more commercial direction), and was recruited by Black Sabbath in 1979 to replace Ozzy Osbourne. Dio gave a new jumpstart to Black Sabbath's commercially sagging career with the hugely popular Heaven and Hell album. In 1982, during the mixing of the live album Live Evil, internal band problems and nasty accusations developed, which led to Dio and drummer Vinnie Appice quitting the band to form Dio. Ronnie James Dio currently lives in California and still records and tours worldwide with Dio.

Tenacious D have written a tribute song entitled Dio that appears on their self-titled album that calls for the singer to 'Pass the torch' on to them. Comments he's made on the song have been conflicting. Reportedly, Dio approved of it, and he has also appeared in the film Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny, playing himself, but on VH1, he has expressed resentment at the idea that he needs to "pass the torch" and seemed uncertain that Tenacious D are worthy of such an honor.

In 2005, Dio was revealed to be the voice behind Dr.X in Operation: Mindcrime II, the sequel of Queensrÿche's seminal concept album Operation: Mindcrime. In October 2006 it was confirmed that Dio would be reuniting with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice to tour under the moniker 'Heaven and Hell'. Original Black Sabbath Drummer Bill Ward was to be involved in this project, but he has since confirmed his withdrawal

Family

Dio married his first wife, Loretta Berardi (born 1941), sometime in the 1960s. They adopted one son, Dan Padavona (born July, 1968), who works as a meteorologist in Binghamton, New York.

Then, he married Wendy (born 1945), who also serves as his manager. Not much else is known about Wendy or their family. Also, in the 1980s she managed Los Angeles rock bands Rough Cutt, featuring vocalist Paul Shortino, who replaced Kevin DuBrow for several years in Quiet Riot and Hellion, featuring female vocalist Ann Boleyn.

Age Dispute

1. ^ There is a long-standing dispute regarding Dio's age. His most likely birth year is 1942. Dio himself has said in the past that he was born July 10, 1949 and, at other times, outright refused to give the year of his birth. The general consensus is that the 1942 date is probably correct, due to the following:

He was in his first band in 1958, which means that if the 1949 date were correct, he would have been 9 years old. This would be unlikely, but not impossible. (Dio has also said that he started his first group around age 10). According to classmates from his high school, and reportedly also a yearbook, Ronald James Padavona graduated from Cortland High School in 1960. His first band photos, with "Ronnie and the Red Caps" from ca. 1960 or 1961, are also widely circulated on the Internet. In the photo, he looks to be somewhere in his mid teens, and probably older than the 12 years old he would have been, if the 1949 birth date were correct.

British-born/Australian-based singer Graham Bonnet, who replaced Dio in Rainbow, has said that Ronnie is younger than he. Bonnet was born September 23, 1947. However, in a 2005 interview, while discussing guitarist and former bandmate, Ritchie Blackmore, Dio said that Ritchie "isn't that much younger" than him. Blackmore was born in 1945. Online public records searches (done in 2005) list Dio as 64 years old under the name "Ronald Padavona" and as 57 years old under the name "Ronnie James Dio". Another search shows a "Ronald and Wendy Padavona" in Studio City, CA (presumably a business address), ages 64 and 58 (as of February, 2006), which would fit with the assumed birth years of 1942 and 1947 for Dio and his wife, Wendy. This also suggests that Dio's legal name is still Ronald Padavona. Interestingly, Blackmore has said that Ronnie is younger than him at other times, although this could easily be attributed to Dio's maintaining a false birth date that Blackmore (and others who know Dio) assumed was correct.

As a result, most of Dio's fans agree that the 1942 date is the most likely the correct one. The 1949 date is second most likely. 1944 is another possible date, and 1947, 1940, 1939, and even 1937 have been suggested, but there is no real evidence to back these dates up. The age of Ronnie and his son also builds the case for 1942, although a 20 year age difference was not that rare in the 1960s. In one interview, Dio was very emphatic about the 1949 year, saying, "Well, I was born in '49, and I never told anybody anything other than that."

In an article on Black Sabbath in an issue of Circus magazine ("Black Sabbath Pray For Brighter Days") in the spring of 1982, Dio's age is listed as 33. This would seem to support a birth date of 1948, since the interview appeared before Dio's July birthday.

Cancer and death

On November 25, 2009, Wendy announced that Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer:

"Ronnie has been diagnosed with the early stages of stomach cancer. We are starting treatment immediately at the Mayo Clinic. After he kills this dragon, Ronnie will be back on stage, where he belongs, doing what he loves best, performing for his fans. Long live rock and roll, long live Ronnie James Dio. Thanks to all the friends and fans from all over the world that have sent well wishes. This has really helped to keep his spirit up."

On March 14, 2010, Wendy posted an online update on his condition:

"It has been Ronnie's 7th chemo, another cat scan and another endoscopy, and the results are good - the main tumour has shrunk considerably, and our visits to Houston (cancer clinic in Texas) are now every three weeks instead of every two weeks."

On May 4, 2010, Heaven and Hell announced they were cancelling all summer dates as a result of Dio's ill health.

Dio died at 7:45 am (CDT) on May 16, 2010, according to official sources.

Wendy said on Dio's official site:

"Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever."

Legacy

Dio's career spanned six decades, from 1957 to 2010, and became known as one of the most powerful and unique voices in rock music, despite standing only 5 feet 4 inches, after performing with bands such as Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his own band Dio.

He was inducted to the Cortland City Hall of Fame in 2004, and also has a street named after him called Dio Way in Cortland, NY.

Classic Rock Magazine awarded Dio with the "Metal Guru Award" at their yearly "Roll Of Honour" awards ceremony in 2006.

On January 17, 2007, Dio was inducted into Guitar Center's Rock Walk of Fame in Hollywood, CA.

Dio was named "Best Metal Singer" at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in April 2010 for his work on The Devil You Know, making him the oldest recipient of this award (67). He accepted the award in person at what was to be his final public apperance, less than one month before his death.

A public memorial service has been scheduled for 2 p.m. May 30 at The Hall Of Liberty, located at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive in Los Angeles. It is free for fans to attend.