Metal legend, Rainbow frontman and ex-Black Sabbath vocalist Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer today, He was 67. Dio first came on the scene as lead singer of Rainbow. Rainbow was formed by Deep Purple fret man Ritchie Blackmore. Rainbow’s 1975 debut titled “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow” was an instant success with rock anthems like “Man on the Silver Mountain” and “Snake Charmer”.
After a four album run with Blackmore’s Rainbow Dio stepped in to replace troubled Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osborne. To say Ozzy was not thrilled about being replace would be putting it lightly.
Ozzy’s distain for Dio was widely publicized. Ozzy even went as far as to hire a dwarf that he dressed as Dio to chase around the stage during his concerts, a dig at Ronnie’s height.
Love him or hate him even Ozzy would have to admit that Dio’s pipes made both “Heaven & Hell” and “Mob Rules” two of Black Sabbaths best albums.
After Black Sabbath Dio had great success with his solo career. Dio’s 1983 release “Holy Diver” and epic release “Last in Line’ in 1984 are heavy metal masterpieces. Dio’s solo efforts also launched the career of guitar journeyman Vivian Campbell. Campbell went on to later play with Whitesnake and is currentlly with Def Lepard.
Recently Ronnie has been touring again with Black Sabbath members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward under the name “Heaven and Hell”. He will truly be missed.