Ronnie James Dio of Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and Dio fame, has passed away. He lost his battle with stomach cancer yesterday morning, 16 May 2010. He was 67.
You may not believe this, but Ronnie Dio started making music in 1958, and you can hear all of his early material on MusicMaster Oldies. He’s another example of what we call Future Superstars. The future metal rocker started out playing the trumpet as a kid in Cortland, New York. His Italian Catholic parents moved there from Portsmouth, New Hampshire when he was very young. While still in high school, he joined a rockabilly band called the Vegas Kings. Eventually, he became the lead singer and the band became Ronnie And The Rumblers. They changed names once more to Ronnie And The Red Caps and cut their first record in 1958. Here is the very first record ever made by Ronnie James Dio, Lover by Ronnie And The Red Caps:
This was issued on Reb 59-45-105 in 1958. Billy DeWolfe is the lead vocalist on this song, with Ronnie singing the background part and playing bass. They had a second record planned, Judy I Love You, but that was never released. Billy left the band shortly after this recording was made and the group became Ronnie Dio And The Red Caps. In 1960, they cut their second record on the Seneca label.
In 1962, the group became Ronnie Dio And The Prophets and cut another record on the Canadian subsidiary of Atlantic Records. This one was called (Do The) Ooh-Poo-Pah-Do backed with Love Pains. They cut an Audiodisc acetate demo for Swan Records that same year with Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow backed with Bad Man In Town. This was never officially released. They moved to the Lawn label in 1963 to cut Gonna Make It Alone backed with Swingin’ Street.
Then it was back to Swan for Mr. Misery b/w Our Year. Mr. Misery is a nice Teener collectable now that had a pretty good shot at success. Ronnie even recorded that song in Italian for release on the Derby label as Che Tristezza Senza Te. The English version was even issued in India on the Stateside label!
Here’s Mr. Misery on Swan 4615 from 1963:
In 1964, the band recorded this obscure record on Valex 001. It’s a great garage rock cover version of Love Potion Number 9.
Here’s Ronnie Dio And The Prophets doing Love Potion Number 9:
Ronnie made four more singles before 1970, and we play them all on MusicMaster Oldies. It’s hard to tell from listening to these early records what the future held for Ronald James Padavona.
Goodbye, Ronnie. We loved your music — all six decades worth!