'Man on the Silver Mountain'
When Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore decided to form Rainbow in 1975, he selected almost the entire band of Elf , who had opened up for Deep Purple on their previous tour. 'Man on the Silver Mountain' was Rainbow's biggest hit off their debut album, 'Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.' Shortly after the album's release, Blackmore fired every original band member except Dio, due to differing musical styles.
Many people wrote the already commercially slumping Black Sabbath off as dead when they fired original lead singer Ozzy Osbourne in 1979. This opening track from their first album without him, 1980's 'Heaven and Hell,' showed that their new partnership with Ronnie James Dio had paid off creatively with a new, more upbeat, and still powerful sound.
Ronnie James Dio's own band -- the heavy metal quintet fittingly titled Dio -- released 'We Rock' off their second studio album, 1984's 'The Last in Line.' The album -- which starts off with this kick-ass statement of purpose -- continues to solidify Ronnie's place as a solo star in the metal world, even though being a solo artist was not his original intention.
'Falling Off the Edge of the World'
This dark, lyrically-themed epic rocker from Ronnie's second album as vocalist for Black Sabbath, 1981's 'Mob Rules,' shows the band at full power, with all the album's lyrics written by Ronnie. Arguments during Black Sabbath's following tour led to Ronnie leaving to form his own band -- although he would later return in 1992 and again in 2007.
'The Bible Black'
'The Bible Black' was one of the first songs written for 2009's 'The Devil You Know,' which found Ronnie back with his former Black Sabbath bandmates under the name Heaven and Hell. Beginning as a slow ballad featuring Tony Iommi on acoustic guitar, the song breaks into a looping, heavy electric riff as Dio wails about the fate of a man who is addicted to a book of sinister scriptures.
'Stand Up and Shout'
'The Last in Line'
A gentle introduction belies the guitar and soon-to-be unleashed vocal fury on the title track to 1984's 'The Last In Line.' It's this kind of musical power that inspired comedy rockers Tenacious D to write their song 'Dio' -- humorously suggesting Ronnie hand them their rightful torch as leaders of all that is mighty.
'Rainbow in the Dark'
This Ronnie James Dio song from 1983's 'Holy Diver' proves that in Ronnie's hands, keyboards can sound both evil and slightly upbeat. 'Rainbow in the Dark' was an MTV rotating favorite, as it features an epic guitar solo and one of the most recognized sing-along choruses.
The title track off Dio's debut 'Holy Diver' became Ronnie's most "horn-worthy," featuring dark, hypnotic imagery, with another epic guitar solo in the bridge. The album's cover is also one of the most iconic and controversial, revealing what could be the devil killing off a Catholic priest. Regardless, 27 years later and less than 24 hours after Ronnie's passing, the album climbed into the Top 10 of the iTunes rock album chart.
'Heaven and Hell'
Once Ronnie James Dio was recruited to be the lead singer for Black Sabbath, his first task was to write the lyrics for this song. In matching Iommi's guitar melody, Ronnie wrote about the basic struggle a person has choosing between good and evil. Partially credited to Ronnie, this anthemic single has become one of the most well-known heavy metal songs of all time.