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© Terje Bendiksby/epa/Corbis
Although he stood just 5’4”, Ronnie James Dio had the voice of a giant, and his soaring vocals were some of the most influential in heavy metal. He started his career in doo-wop bands like Ronnie & The Red Caps, but after discovering hard rock, he formed the band Elf (yes, he had a good sense of humour), which soon caught the attention of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.
Dio helped make Rainbow a hit, but it wasn’t until the he replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath, scoring smashes such as Neon Knights, that he became a household name.
Dio left Sabbath in 1982, and against all odds, went on to greater heights with the group that bore his surname. With songs and albums such as Holy Diver and The Last In Line (and his use of the 'devil horns' hand gesture), Ronnie James Dio, to millions of fans, was heavy metal. His death last May was a major blow, and tributes continue to pour in for a man whose legacy will live on.
"My vote: Ronnie James Dio." (From Steve Vai(?!) via email, thanks)
"Greatest lead singer: Paul Rogers (bluesy), Ronnie James Dio (hard rock), Freddie Mercury (anything :-).” (From Kaj via Facebook, thanks)
"Ronnie James Dio." (From Ihab, Julian, Simon, Jim, Jennifer, Brian, Thomas, Nick, Jennifer, Mike, Dimebag and Dave ‘Go Ducks’ via Facebook, thanks)
"1. Dio, 2. Robert Plant, 3. Matt Bellamy, 4. Jonathan Davis, 5. James LaBrie." (From Carloz via Facebook, thanks)
"First of all, I AM Neosantana. And just make sure my opinion is heard... Dave Mustaine, Ronnie James Dio, Serj Tankian, Corey Taylor." (From Ihab via Facebook, erm, thanks, we think)