Ronnie James Dio Dio

Here we go into 1982 of the Ronnie James Dio Story, about his own band "Dio".

After his departure from Black Sabbath with plans to form a new band with fellow and former Black Sabbath member, drummer Vinny Appice . Dio's name was chosen because it was logical from a commercial point of view, because the name was already known at that time.

The band released ten studio albums and had numerous lineup changes over the years with Ronnie James Dio as the sole constant member. The guitarists were through the years, Craig Goldy (latest guitar), Doug AldrichVivian CampbellTracy GJake E. Lee and Rowan Robertson.

The hand gesture on the photo of Ronnie James Dio called the "maloik" and is the evil eye, and is used by every metal band. It was launched into the metal culture by Ronnie James Dio himself, which traditionally is a curse, or is used to ward off a curse.

The origins of the band and Holy Diver (1982-1983)

In 1982, with disagreements about the mixing of Black Sabbath's Live Evil resulted in the departure of Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice  from Black Sabbath. They wanted to continue together as a band. The two formed Dio in October 1982 in the United States with Vivian Campbell (guitar) and Jimmy Bain  (bass). The following May, the band released their debut album, Holy Diver.

It featured two hit singles, "Rainbow in the Dark" and "Holy Diver", which gained popularity through MTV. Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain played keyboards in the studio, but they hired keyboardist Claude Schnell for the live shows in 1983 before the Holy Diver tour.

Claude Schnell played at the side of the stage on the first two tours before he came forward in 1985. Dio had the following to say about the origin of the band:

It was a good time to be in this band. It was perfect for us. Everything just fell into place. Ethics in rehearsal were great. The effort in the shot was just as good. Everyone wanted it would be great. We believed in what we were doing and could not wait to bring that product and for the people to hear it.

The Last in Line and Dream Evil (1984-1989)

The band was now a quintet with Claude Schnell on keyboards, the band released their second studio album, The Last in Line, on 2 July 1984. It was followed by their third album, Sacred Heart, which was released on August 15, 1985. In 1985, Ronnie James Dio, Vivian Campbell and Jimmy Bain also wrote the song "STARS" for the Hear 'n Aid  project (for Band Aid) with many other heavy metal greats of that time. (Or click Hear N' Aid - Stars for the complete version of 47.04 minutes).

Cooperation with Vivian Campbell did not go well, and the gap resulted in that Vivian Campbell was fired. Vivian was then invited to participate in Whitesnake. A few songs were recorded live during The Sacred Heart tour for the 1986 EP Intermission with Vivian Campbell still on guitar, but the EP also contained the studio track "Time To Burn", which served in 1987 for the fans to introduce Craig Goldy  as the new guitarist.

On July 21, 1987 they released their fourth album, Dream Evil . After Dream Evil, Craig Goldy pursued a solo career, and left the band. In June 1989 the 18 year old Rowan Robertson  was announced as Craig Goldy's successor, but there were further changes with Claude SchnellJimmy Bain, and Vinny Appice  leaving the band.

Changes (1990-1999)

Claude Schnell, Jimmy Bain, and Vinny Appice were replaced respectively by Jens Johansson, Teddy Cook and former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright. The new band released the album Lock Up the Wolves, in the spring of 1990. During the tour, Ronnie James Dio had a chance meeting with former Black Sabbath  bandmate Geezer Butler, which led to a brief reunion of the band, and produced an album,   Dehumanizer.

After this period, Ronnie James Dio started, Dio again, retaining only Vinny Appice on the drums. In early 1993 guitarist Tracy G, keyboardist Scott Warren of Warrant, and bassist Jeff Pilson of Dokken joined to the band. During this era, the band left the fantasy theme behind, to focus more on contemporary issues, with the result that some fans, albums as Strange Highways from 1993, and Angry Machines from 1996 and the live album Inferno: Last in Live consider as the worst Dio has ever made,

while others viewed positively as a step away from outdated sound of the eighties. With a disappointing record sales for Angry Machines, the management wanted the band to return to their former style after the departure of Tracy G, it was announced that he´ll be replaced by the returning Craig Goldy.

Comeback (2000-2004)

Craig Goldy's return, facilitated the release of Dio's eighth studio album in 2000, Magica, which is widely regarded as the band 'comeback album "and reached number 13 on the Billboard independent charts. It featured the return not only of Craig Goldy but of Simon Wright and Jimmy Bain as well, although, on the European tour Chuck Garric played bass.

The concept album, Magica had a return to the band parent more successful sound, while increased use of keyboards, gave a modern look. During the next tour, there were tensions between Graig Goldy on the one hand and Jimmy Bain and Ronnie James Dio on the other hand, because of which Craig Goldy liabilities was related to his family.

Craig Goldy left the band in January 2002 and was replaced by Doug Aldrich, whom Jimmy Bain had met, while recording a tribute album for Metallica. Because of his late arrival, Doug Aldrich did not a lot for the ninth work of Dio, Killing the Dragon, which was mainly written by Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain.

Killing the Dragon was released in 2002 through Spitfire Records and was well received in the metal community, which made it to the Billboard top 200. Doug Aldrich would stay in the band until April of the following year, when he, like Vivian Campbell before him, joined Whitesnake.

Master of the Moon, and the end of the band (2004-2010)

Dio released their tenth studio album, Master of the Moon on August 30, 2004 in Europe through SPV Records, and on September 7, 2004 in the United States through Sanctuary Records. The album features multi-instrumentalist Jeff Pilson (formerly of Dokken) on bass, however, due to previous obligations with Foreigner, he was only available for the recording sessions, and so was replaced by Rudy Sarzo (formerly of Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot,

Whitesnake, and Blue Öyster Cult) during the tour. 2005 saw the release of the Dio live album Evil or Divine – Live in New York City , which was the same show and was released on DVD in 2003. Dio toured South America, Japan, Europe and Rusia. In 2005 was their autumn tour entitled "an Evening with Dio" and featured a regular set, and then a second set of the band that played Holy Diver entirely. A DVD of the tour was filmed in London.

The sound of this performance, a double CD named Holy Diver – Live was released in April 2006.

Ronnie James Dio's involvement with Heaven & Hell delayed the recording of the follow-up, Master of the Moon, "Magica II". The three year hiatus was briefly interrupted for 10 performances depicting European mini-tour, from May to June 2008, and was scheduled to be interrupted again from November to December 2009 with 22 concerts starting in the UK and ending in Germany.

Doug Aldrich had to fill in for Craig Goldy on guitar on this data, who had other commitments. Ronnie James Dio wanted to release a new single, titled "Electra", to make it coincide with the tour. This would be their first studio material in 5 years. The band also wanted to record an album or two in 2010.

On November 18, 2009 the European tour was cancelled due to Ronnie James Dio's hospitalization. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, and was undergoing treatment. His manager and wife Wendy  thanked well-wishers and said "After he kills this dragon, Ronnie will be back on stage, where he belongs, doing what he loves best, performing for his fans."

On February 19, 2010, it was announced on Dio's official website that he would release a box set, entitled the Tournado Box Set, for limited purchase. The set includes the Killing the Dragon CD, Evil or Divine DVD (PAL format only), DVD bonus material, interviews, photo gallery, never-before-seen behind the scenes footage, promo video for the Killing the Dragon track "Push", exclusive Dio cards, and the bonus CD single "Electra" (which is the last song the band recorded), from the unfinished albums Magica II & Magica III.

Death of Ronnie James Dio

Ronnie James Dio died on May 16, 2010, of stomach cancer at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas at the age of 67.

On November 9, 2010, a posthumous live album was released. Titled 'Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987, it features Dio's 1983 and 1987 appearances at the Monsters of Rock festival and showcases several songs from the Ronnie James Dio era of both Rainbow and Black Sabbath, in addition to songs from Dio's own catalogue.

When being interviewed by Classic Rock Magazine from the UK, Dio guitarist Craig Goldy stated "We were working on tracks for a new Dio album just before Ronnie died in May. And we did almost finish one song. Wendy, Ronnie's widow/manager has been talking about reissuing Dio's Magica album (originally released in 2000)

with bonus tracks, including this one." Craig Goldy goes on to say of the lyrics, that they were written by Ronnie James Dio when he was fighting cancer, and are "very emotional" and "hard to listen to without a lump at the back of your throat".

On March 18, It was announced that the surviving members of the final line-up of Dio would embark on a project with former Judas Priest front man Tim "Ripper" Owens under the moniker DIO Disciples. The project has been touring extensively since 2011.

In May 2012, former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell, despite his long established feud with Ronnie, announced his intent to reunite the original Dio band for a potential series of shows. This would include himself, drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, and keyboardist Claude Schnell.

This announced line-up will feature former Lynch Mob vocalist and The Offspring touring member Andrew Freeman stepping in for Ronnie James Dio. and will perform under the name Last in Line.


Murray is the demonic-looking mascot of Dio. Murray appears on some of the band's album covers, as well as the sets for their live performances.

Murray can be seen on some of Dio's album covers, including Holy DiverThe Last in Line, and Dream Evil , as well as some of their singles and compilation albums.

The mirror, above, is in my possession for over more then 25 years now. Tattoo artist, Dean Saunders made it for me. (The father of the singer) The photo of the statue of Ronnie James Dio is in Kavarna, Bulgaria.

Holy Diver

Dio's first studio album, Holy Diver, from 1983, was the first which was equipped with Murray on the cover. Murray seems to torture a cleric, but Ronnie James Dio said that it is not necessarily true.

The Last in Line

Murray is also featured on Dio's second studio album, The Last in Line. On this cover, souls that have risen from their graves on the Day of Judgment looking up against a giant Murray staring at them from the distant horizon.

Dream Evil

Murray is not featured on Dio's third studio album, Secred Heart, but for the last time in its original form, can be seen on the cover of Dream Evil. He is seen in the window of a bedroom with a child sleeping in a bed while being chased by different scary creatures. Murray's story is printed in the book "Dream Evil Tour".

The album cover of Dream Evil is a reference to one of the songs on the album, "Faces at the Window". The concept of the album is fear and superstition on the night and darkness.

The Ronnie James Dio Official Webstore  has created a baseballcap and was in sales with a red embroidery Murray at the front of the cap and the DIO logo, in the same red embroidered on the back.

A villain of the Japanese manga series  JoJo's Bizarre Adventure "Dio Brando" is named as a tribute to both Ronnie James Dio and film star Marlon Brando.

A video game released in Japan for the Famicom (Japanese version of the Nintendo Entertainment System) in 1989 was titled Holy Diver . The gothic and medieval theme of the game is very similar to Dio's music video of "Holy Diver".

In 1999, an animated version of Dio appeared in an episode of South Park titled "Hooked on Monkey Fonics ". The band performs the song "Holy Diver" (video) on, at an elementary school. Although Ronnie James Dio's appearance is as little as he really is, the rest of the band appears as a stereotypical heavy metal  band with no reference to the real band members.

During his time with the Philadelphia Phillies, outfielder Pat Burrell was known to use a clip of Dio's "Holy Diver" as his walk-up music. What normally stirred up the crowd.

Comedy/rock duo Tenacious D  released a song from their first album, entitled "Dio" written as a tribute to rock singer Ronnie James Dio, who mocks him somewhat because he was too old and that Tenacious D position as masters of heavy metal would take over.

Tenacious D. - The Ballad of Ronnie James Dio (video)

For live playing the song, Jack Black talked about how Dio's term in Black Sabbath served to get his inspiration in Heavy Metal. The duo appeared in the music video for his song, "Push."(video) Ronnie also appeared in and sang on Tenacious D's comedy film from 2006 "The Pick of Destiny" (click on the link for some scenes of the film), the song Kickapoo, where Meat Loaf also appears as the faithful father of the rebellious rocking son Jack Black. Click on this Link for the making of the song in the studio.

The song "Holy Diver" in the video game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and the Game / Guitar Learning function "Rocksmith 2014 ".

It also appears as a download-able content for the Rock Band series, along with "Stand Up and Shout".

The song "Rainbow in the Dark " appears in "Rock Band 3 ."

The band fell apart in 2010 when Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer at the age of 67.

The band has sold over 10 million albums.

Other projects

In 1974, Dio sang on the Roger Glover conducted and produced concept album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast. Along with other guest-singers, the album featured Deep Purple alumni Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale. Dio provided vocals for the songs "Homeward", "Sitting in a Dream" and the UK single Love Is All.

In 1980, Dio made vocal contributions to Kerry Livgren's Christian themed progressive rock album Seeds of Change, He sang on the tracks "Live For the King" and "The Mask of the Great Deceiver."

In 1985, Dio contributed to the metal world's answer to Band Aid and USA for Africa with the Hear 'n Aid project. With a heavy metal all-star ensemble—the brainchild of his fellow Dio bandmates Vivian Campbell and Jimmy Bain—he sang some of the vocals on the single "Stars" and an album full of songs from other artists given to charity. The project raised $1 million within a year.

In 1997, Dio made a cameo on Pat Boone's In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy, an album of famous heavy metal songs played in big band style. Dio can be heard singing backup on Boone's take of "Holy Diver". In 1999, he was parodied in the TV show South Park, in the episode "Hooked on Monkey Fonics", which he later described as "wonderful."

Tenacious D included a tribute song entitled "Dio" that appeared on their self-titled album. The song explains how he has to "pass the torch" for a new generation. Reportedly, Dio approved of it and had Tenacious D appear in his video "Push" from Killing the Dragon in 2002. He also appeared in the film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, playing himself and providing guest vocals in the movie's opening musical number "Kickapoo."

In 2005, Dio was revealed to be the voice behind Dr. X in Operation: Mindcrime II, the sequel to Queensrÿche's seminal concept album Operation: Mindcrime. His part was shown in a prerecorded video on the subsequent tour and Dio appeared onstage to sing the part live on at least one occasion (both shown on the Mindcrime at the Moore DVD).

Though he was unable to finish writing it, Dio's autobiography, titled Rainbow in the Dark: The Autobiography, was completed by Wendy Dio and Mick Wall and published posthumously on July 27, 2021.

A documentary about Dio's life titled DIO: Dreamers Never Die premiered at SXSW on March 21, 2022. The film received a limited theatrical release on September 28, and premiered on television on Showtime December 1, 2022.


Holy Diver (1983)

The Last in Line (1984)

Sacred Heart (1985)

Dream Evil (1987)

Lock Up the Wolves (1990)

Strange Highways (1993)

Angry Machines (1996)

Magica (2000)

Killing the Dragon (2002)

Master of the Moon (2004)

From Heaven to Hell (2016) interview album

Complete Discography

Live albums

Intermission  (1986)

Inferno: Last in Live (1998)

Evil or Divine: Live in New York City  (2005)

Holy Diver: Live (2006)

Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987  (2010)

Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986  (2013)

Live in London, Hammersmith Apollo 1993 (2014)

Philadelphia '84 (2020)

Summerfest 1994 (2020)

When Darkness Falls 1983 Santa Monica Broadcast (2020)

Fright Night The 1994 Wisconsn Broadcast (2021)

Business in Hell Live 1994 (2022)

Wings Of Steel Live 1983 (2022)

Live in Fresno 1983 (2023)


Live in Concert (1984)

A Special from the Spectrum (1984)

Sacred Heart "The Video" (1986 – 2004)

Time Machine (1990)

Evil or Divine: Live in New York City (2003)

We Rock (2005)

Holy Diver: Live (2006)

Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 (2013)

Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993 (2014)

Source: Wikipedia

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