Ronnie James Dio, with Mick Wall & Wendy Dio

Rainbow in the Dark

When Dio died of stomach cancer in 2010, he was arguably metal’s greatest-ever singer and had worked with two of the most enigmatic guitar heroes in rock history – Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi. His solo band even included ’80s shredder Vivian Campbell.

In this biography, Dio proves conversational, yet blunt when defending professional decisions. In Rainbow, he worked well with Deep Purple alumnus Blackmore initially despite business frustrations and discomfort when he’d casually fire a band member. The electrifying songwriting dynamic with Iommi for Black Sabbath’s 1980 album Heaven and Hell changed when bassist/lyricist Geezer Butler worked on ’81’s Mob Rules. Various pressures eventually led to the singer’s departure.

Ronnie praises Campbell’s well-rounded guitarmanship, but gradually, Viv and bassist Jimmy Bain demanded more money and credits. Dio writes, “If they thought I was moody and stubborn, man, try working with Ritchie Blackmore. Try Tony Iommi, if you think I’m a tough guy.”

The book ends in ’86, but hints at a possible sequel. Much is left to cover, like Rainbow-reunion odds and the Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell reformations. Still, this is a tantalizing start.

This article originally appeared in VG’s September 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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