Even a heavy metal tourist such as myself holds the late Ronnie James Dio in reverence. He was an early pioneer of the genre, with bands Elf and Rainbow. He sang for Black Sabbath for a while, and he managed a 30-year career with his own band, Dio. He’s even widely credited with the creation of the infamous “devil horns,” though he insists he merely cultivated the gesture from his Italian grandmother’s attempts to ward off the “evil eye.”
But like I said, I’m merely a casual observer of the genre. I am however, pretty well-versed in early rock ‘n’ roll teeny-bopper fodder—at least, enough so to say that Ronnie James Dio’s early pop crooner career is totally worthy of cranking up on the AM radio when you’re making-out at “Make-Out Point.” He started making music in 1957—it only makes sense that Ronald James Padavona had a few family-friendly incarnations before finding his place in the black hearts of a million Satan-loving heshers. And honestly? The dude was just really talented, with incredible musical instincts and an all-around great voice.
Ronnie Dio and The Prophets, looking wholesome
Below is just a smattering of teen dream Dio’s early recordings. The first (my favorite) is Ronnie Dio and The Red Caps’ 1960 gem, “An Angel is Missing”—very Ricky Nelson. The second one is Ronnie Dio and The Prophets’ rendition of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” probably from 1962. This is literally one of my favorite songs of all time—I am ruthlessly protective of it, and I approve. The third is Ronnie Dio and The Prophets again, doing “I Told You So.” I saved this one for last, because it’s the darkest one, and its ominous sound may have predicted what was to come!!!!
“An Angel is Missing”
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”
“I Told You So”