Dio was not a guitarist, but he played with some of the greatest guitarists in hard rock and metal, notably Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi. His work in Rainbow and Black Sabbath led to some of the best records those bands produced, and his own band — Dio — created many of metal’s finest guitar moments. Riffs from “Man On The Silver Mountain” to “Rainbow In The Dark” are part of the bedrock of metal guitar, and Dio was there to put words to the music.
In addition to Blackmore and Iommi (the latter of whom Dio had been working with this past year in Heaven And Hell), Ronnie James’ solo work was a proving ground for guitar notables including Vivian Campbell (heard in the video below), Craig Goldy, Doug Aldrich, Tracy G, and Rowan Robertson.
Dio died of stomach cancer at age 67. He and his voice, one of the very best in metal, as well as his taste in guitarists, will be missed.
Courtesy of The National Guitar Museum