It was four years ago that legendary metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio lost his battle with stomach cancer. After one of the most heartbreaking losses in metal history, there have been countless tributes for the late singer as well as a constant discussion between metalheads of how truly incredible Dio was. With a career spanning 43 years, Ronnie James Dio fronted the legendary bands Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio while also playing with his Sabbath brothers as Heaven and Hell. To celebrate the life of the man with a truly golden voice, we offer you Five Amazing Ronnie James Dio Vocal Performances:
'Man on the Silver Mountain' Medley - Munich 1977Rainbow
When legendary Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore became unsatisfied with the musical direction the band was taking, he formed Rainbow to create a style that was missing from Deep Purple. Blackmore recruited the members of bluesy hard rock / heavy metal band Elf to record 'Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.' Elf frontman Ronnie James Dio lent his talents to Rainbow from 1975-1979, bringing a powerful vocal style to the band. Rainbow were known for building live medleys around 'Man on the Silver Mountain,' perhaps none more stunning than this spotlight performance, which included a precursor to the future Dio track 'Night People.'
'Children of the Sea' - Italy 1992Black Sabbath
After Rainbow founder Ritchie Blackmore made it clear that he wanted to take the band in a more commercial direction, Dio left and took Ozzy Osbourne's vacant spot in Black Sabbath. Fronting the world's most important metal band was no easy task, but not only did Dio succeed, the frontman injected new life into Black Sabbath. In 1980, Sabbath released the legendary album 'Heaven and Hell,' which included the Dio / Iommi track 'Children of the Sea.' The song was written by the duo during their very first session and was later revealed to be the inspiration for the immortal Iron Maiden track 'Children of the Damned.'
'Rainbow in the Dark' - Rock Palace 1983Dio
In 1982, Ronnie James Dio and Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice both left Sabbath to form their next project, Dio. The new band featuring guitarist Vivian Campbell and bassist / keyboardist Jimmy Bain put out their 1983 debut album, 'Holy Diver,' which is widely known as Dio's magnum opus. The second single from the album, 'Rainbow in the Dark' reflected Ronnie's feelings of isolation and rejection after leaving Black Sabbath. Those feelings didn't last long, as 'Holy Diver' quickly became one of Dio's crowning achievements. You can plainly see the ear-to-ear smile on Ronnie's face during this powerful performance of 'Rainbow in the Dark.'
'Don't Talk to Strangers' - Holland 1983Dio
'Holy Diver' also contained the classic Dio anthem 'Don't Talk to Strangers.' As one of Dio's greatest lyrical pieces, the song contains stunning lines such as "Don't write in starlight / 'Cause the words may come out real" and "Don't hide in doorways / You may find the key that opens up your soul." This live performance of 'Don't Talk to Strangers' shows Ronnie James Dio's softer, more purely beautiful vocal approach. This performance of 'Don't Talk to Strangers' is a perfect one to immerse yourself in, and is just one more reason why we miss Ronnie so much.
'Bible Black' - Wacken 2009Heaven & Hell
One of Ronnie James Dio's greatest works of art, 'The Devil You Know' was released in 2009 under the Black Sabbath alter-ego, Heaven and Hell. Released when Dio was 65 years of age, 'The Devil You Know' contains some of the singer's most powerful work. His voice was as incredible as ever -- as was his masterful ability to tell a story through his lyrics. 'The Devil You Know' was the last record Dio lent his voice to before his tragic death on May 16, 2010. Although Ronnie was physically getting weaker, his voice never did -- as seen in this performance of 'Bible Black' from Wacken in 2009.