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Music / Ronnie James Dio

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Gaze into the eyes of your new god.
Because even dead gods dream.

"Because Dio taught me, in part, what it is to be a man. Oh, he did not teach the rational lessons: He did not teach me morality, or responsibility, or restraint. No, Stanley, he taught me that being a man means sometimes ruining things in the most extravagant fashion possible. Because you can, and because it's awesome."

Ronald James Padavona (July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010), better known as Ronnie James Dio, was an American heavy metal singer and songwriter. He was well known for his powerful singing voice and popularizing "the horns" hand gesture. He worked with Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and his own solo band Dio. Near the end of his life, he handled the vocal duties of a reunited Sabbath, under the name Heaven and Hell.

He unfortunately was diagnosed with stomach cancer in November 2009. He ascended into Rock & Roll Heaven on May 16, 2010, at 7:45 AM after a long and hard battle.



  • Holy Diver (1983)
  • The Last in Line (1984)
  • Sacred Heart (1985)
  • Dream Evil (1987)
  • Lock Up the Wolves (1990)
  • Strange Highways (1994)
  • Angry Machines (1996)
  • Magica (2000)
  • Killing the Dragon (2002)
  • Master of the Moon (2005)


  • Elf (1972)
  • Carolina County Ball (1974)
  • Trying to Burn the Sun (1975)


  • Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (1975)
  • Rising (1976)
  • Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1978)

Black Sabbath:

Heaven & Hell:


  • Dio at Domino's (1963)
  • Metal Will Never Die (2010)note 

Rainbow In The Tropes:

  • Arc Symbol: Rainbows. They are mentioned a lot in his music and he was even in a band called Rainbow once.
  • Berserk Button: Vivian Campbell, the ex-guitarist of his solo act. Observe. He starts ranting at about 45 seconds in. According to Vinnie Appice their mutual dislike stemmed from arguments over band business decisions that Viv disagreed with. Ronnie did later express some regret for his harsh words.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He was normally a pretty nice, calm guy... Until you pissed him off. See Berserk Button.
  • Blues Rock: Before Dio joined Rainbow, Elf's music awesomely combined Hard Rock with R&B. He started out in 1959 singing Doo-wop.
  • The Cameo: Tenacious D appeared on the music video of "Push". He then appeared on Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny as himself.
  • Careful with That Axe: The first ~30 seconds of The Last In Line are pretty gung-ho...then the real song starts.
  • Catchphrase: The words "LOOK OUT!" show up in a lot of his songs.
  • Cover Version: He and guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen made a cover of Aerosmith's "Dream On".
    • He contributed vocals to Welcome to My Nightmare: An All-Star Salute to Alice Cooper, on the song "Welcome to My Nightmare".
    • He also sang "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" on the We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year album..
  • Egocentric Team Naming
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: There's always a mention of rainbows in his music.
  • Free-Handed Performer: He was a bassist on his first band (The Vegas Kings, a high school Rock & Roll act). Following his venture with the band Elf, he sticked to vocal performances for the rest of his career.
  • Heavy Meta: While known mainly for writing fantasy-themed lyrics, people forget that he also wrote quite a few songs about The Power of Rock. "Stand Up And Shout" and "Rock And Roll Angel"note , for example. Plus, his final song was called "Metal Will Never Die" and is about the lasting appeal of the genre.
  • Heavy Mithril: If not the Trope Makernote  then certainly the Trope Codifier. Lyrics he wrote often carried fantasy elements such as magic and dragons. The music video for Holy Diver features a sword-wielding Dio running through a spooky castle and fighting medieval dudes, and the "Sacred Heart" tour's stage show would involve him slaying an animatronic dragon with a sword.
  • Large Ham: Possibly the largest ham in metal, which is no mean feat.
    • Subverted by God Himself, as Dio was 5'3" (159 cm) That's a lot of ham in a not-so-large frame.
  • Mind Screw: He loved this trope, at least in the lyrics.
    • The music video for The Last in Line makes less than no sense — it makes negative sense.
  • Musical Theme Naming: Not himself, but his name was used for Dio Brando, who is considered a very influential villain in the development of manga.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse : Packed one of the most powerful voices in hard rock / metal history into a 5'3" frame.
  • Rated M for Manly: And you thought that singing about dreams and rainbows was for sissies.
  • Stage Names: Dio took his name from an Italian mafia member Johnny Dioguardi. For your information, dio is Italian for God.
    • Though he had already started using his stage name otherwise, Elf's self-titled album credits him as Ronald Padavona - he would explain that he wanted his parents to be able see their family name printed on an album at least once.
  • Start My Own: After he left Black Sabbath.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: The demonic, Satan-like creature found in several of his concerts and artwork, most famously the Holy Diver album cover, is named Murray.

His solo career provides the examples of:

  • Break-Up Song: "As Long as It's Not About Love" from Magica.
  • Breather Episode: "This Is Your Life", a soft piano ballad on the otherwise very heavy Angry Machines album.
  • Concept Album: Magica.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: "Overlove" is about a man who locks the woman he's infatuated with in a dungeon to have her all to himself. The final verse implies a Freudian Excuse from Parental Abandonment.
  • Darker and Edgier: Strange Highways and Angry Machines have a heavier and more Doom Metal influenced sound than most of his other work, and feature Dio mostly abandoning his usual fantasy thematics for focusing on realistic issues like child abuse ("Give Her the Gun"), divorce ("Don't Tell the Kids"), and mental illness ("Institutional Man"). Dio's vocal style is also significantly harsher.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: His doo-wop records from the early-'60s... Enough said.
  • Epic Rocking: He has several songs 6 minutes or longer in length, including "Egypt (The Chains Are On)" (6:57), "Sacred Heart" (6:27), "All the Fools Sailed Away" (7:10), "Between Two Hearts" (6:30), "Lock Up the Wolves" (8:33), "Evil on Queen Street" (6:04), "My Eyes" (6:36), "Strange Highways" (6:54), "Stay Out of My Mind" (7:11), "Eriel" (7:25), "As Long as It's Not About Love" (6:28), "Rock & Roll" (6:11) and "The Eyes" (6:27).
  • "I Am" Song: "I Am" from Master of the Moon. Also, "I" from Dehumanizer, contributing that page's quote.
  • Instrumentals: "Magica Theme" from Magica and "Annica" from the limited edition of the album.
  • Mascot: The demonic Murray, who is always giving the horns.
  • Messianic Archetype: According to the man, "Holy Diver" is about one of these.
  • Motifs: Rainbows, magic, eyes and dreams.
  • Nightmare Dreams: Dream Evil's title song and album artwork.
  • Power Ballad: "All the Fools Sailed Away", "This is Your Life" and "As Long as It's Not About Love". "Don't Talk to Strangers" straddles the line, as it has the soft interwoven with the heavy.
  • Revolving Door Band: His band underwent significant turnover through the years, with Dio himself being the only constant member. The Last in Line and Sacred Heart were the only two conseccutive albums by them that had the same lineup.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Would make extensive use of this, as with a few exceptions virtually all of the backing vocals on his albums are done by him. This also applies to his work with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, along with the The Devil You Know album with Heaven and Hell.
  • Song of Song Titles: "My Eyes", covering his tenures in Rainbow and Black Sabbath as well. The song name-drops "Fallen Off the Edge of the World", "Heaven and Hell", "Stargazer", and "Invisible".
  • Teen Genius: Rowan Robertson was only seventeen when he auditioned for the band, and while Dio was greatly impressed by his performance, he was extremely reluctant to hire someone that young. It was only after reviewing all the other finalists and determining that Robertson was the best out of all of them that he relented and gave Robertson the job.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Another Lie" begins in G minor and modulates a whole step to A minor for the final verse. "Evil on Queen Street" does this twice, starting in D minor, going up a whole step to E minor in the bridge, and then up another half step to F minor for the final verse.
  • Ur-Example: His work (solo and as a member of Rainbow and Black Sabbath) was a huge influence on Power Metal both musically and lyrically, and he's sometimes credited as inventing it, though it tends to differ from most later Power Metal due to being slower and a bit less technically flashy on average.
  • Vocal Dissonance: He was one of the shortest metal singers around at only 5'3 and possessed a legendary, powerful voice that sounded like it could raise the dead.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: The man rocked hard. At the expense of his lyrics not making a lick of sense.
    Ride the tiger
    You can see his stripes but you know he's clean
    Oh don't you see what I mean note 
  • The X of Y: Master of the Moon.

You thought this was a JoJo-free page about a Heavy Metal musician named Dio, but it was I, Dio!

Alternative Title(s): Dio