Ronnie James Dio: 1942-2010

© Denis Balibouse/Reuters/Corbis

Guitarist is deeply saddened to hear that Ronnie James Dio has passed away following a brave battle with stomach cancer. He was 67.

Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and bandmates in Heaven & Hell.

As fans we'll always remember Ronnie by the incredible music he made through his long successful career - and especially how he inspired some of the greatest ever guitar talents at the peak of their powers.

To make undisputed classics with three bands - Rainbow, Dio and Black Sabbath - is an immense achievement. He leaves a wealth of classic rock and metal that will always be a benchmark of excellence.

Here's three of our favourite clips from Ronnie's time with those bands…

We'd argue that Ritchie Blackmore's finest work was the early Rainbow era with Ronnie as his muse. Their first three studio albums are essential but it's the live recordings of the band that tell the full story of their prowess together. Here they're at the legendary 1977 Munich show laying down the blues on Mistreated…

1983 saw Ronnie striking out alone with his own band after parting ways with Rainbow. At his side was a young Vivian Campbell from Belfast, and his playing is simply electrifying on that record and the following year's Last In Line. If you don't own at least one copy of Holy Diver you are simply not metal. Here's a live version of Don't Talk To Strangers to convince you…

Ronnie's second reunion with Tony Iommi in 2007 came with a name change to Heaven & Hell, but this was Black Sabbath in every way that counted. It proved both musicians were still a powerful creative force and as Ronnie's last studio album, 2009's The Devil You Know album stands as an incredible parting shot. Here they play that album's standout song, Bible Black, in Germany…

Farewell and thank you for the music, Ronnie James Dio.

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.