R.I.P. heavy metal god Ronnie James Dio, dead at 67.
Dio had an amazing run in hard rock and heavy metal, both as a solo artist and during stints in Rainbow and Black Sabbath. Amazingly, even at this late age he was fronting the star-studded Heaven and Hell with Sabs Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler.
Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year and although chemotherapy was helping stall and reduce the aggression, it recently escalated and he finally lost the battle Sunday morning.
I was fortunate enough to have first encountered Dio in my college days as part of the band Elf from Cortland, New York, just south of Syracuse. If you have never heard the band, you need to get the self-titled album right away and marvel at the guitar work of Dave Feinstein (Dio’s cousin) and especially the piano of Mickey Lee Soule.
Listen to clips from ELF.
Elf’s album caught the attention of Deep Purple and they opened many shows for DP in the early 70s. Purple has many connections to the band; Roger Glover and Ian Paice produced the record and Ritchie Blackmore used the nucleus of the group for the first Rainbow album. As recently as last year Dio was talking about an Elf reunion tour and new album; sadly that will now never happen.
Condolences to his family and friends; fans all over the world feel your loss.
Ronnie James Dio website.
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