You Say It's Your Birthday: Ronnie James Dio

Today is the birthday of Ronnie James Dio, who was born circa 1950 in

Cortland, N.Y. Dio sang with ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's band Rainbow in the mid-to-late '70s before taking Ozzy Osbourne's place as frontman for Black Sabbath, and then forming his own band, Dio. Dio was one of a number of singers to pass through Rainbow before it dissolved in 1984. Dio joined up with the Black Sabbath boys in 1979, recording his first album with them, Heaven and Hell, one year later.

Osbourne was a hard act to follow. Even though Heaven and Hell went

platinum, its follow-up, Mob Rules, only went gold and subsequent

releases sold fewer and fewer copies. Dio knew how to belt out a song, but

fans missed Osbourne's eerie yowl.

Dio departed Sabbath in 1982, taking

drummer Carmine Appice with him to form the band Dio. The group also included guitarist Vivian Campbell, who went on to work with Def Leppard and

Whitesnake, ex-Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain and keyboardist Claude Schnell.

For much of the '80s and early '90s Dio ruled the heavy-metal realm with albums such as

Holy Diver, Dream Evil and Strange Highways.

Other birthdays: Martyn Casey (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), Arlo Guthrie,

Dave Smalley (Raspberries), Rik Emmett (Triumph), Neil Tennant (Pet Shop

Boys), Graham Lambert (Inspiral Carpets) and the late actor Fred Gwynne (The

Munsters).