Dio is a heavy metal band led by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who formed it in October 1982 after leaving Black Sabbath. In an interview, available on the special edition re-release of Holy Diver, Dio states that he never intended to begin a solo career. His intention was to just form a new band, with fellow former Black Sabbath member drummer Vinny Appice, but Dio just became the band’s name by accident, for he was well known, and it just sounded good to name the band Dio at the time. In addition to Ronnie on vocals and keyboards originally, and Vinny Appice on drums, the band featured Vivian Campbell, who played guitar, and Jimmy Bain, bass.
In May 1983 they released their debut album, Holy Diver, on which Ronnie sang and played keyboards. To avoid having the vocalist stuck behind a keyboard in concert, the band recruited keyboardist Claude Schnell in 1984.
Now a quintet, they released The Last in Line on July 2, 1984, followed by Sacred Heart on August 15, 1985. Several songs were recorded during the tour for that album; they were released along with the studio-recorded “Time to Burn” on the Intermission mini LP. In 1985 Ronnie also wrote the song “Stars” for the Hear ‘n Aid project, with Campbell contributing on guitar.
In 1986 Campbell, citing creative differences, left the band to join Whitesnake and was replaced by Craig Goldy. On July 21, 1987 their fourth album, Dream Evil, was released. Goldy left in 1988, also because of musical differences. When Ronnie Dio announced in June 1989 that Goldy’s replacement would be 18 year-old Rowan Robertson, Bain and Schnell left the band, followed by Appice in December. They were replaced, respectively, with Teddy Cook, Jens Johansson, and Simon Wright. The new band released Lock up the Wolves. After this album Ronnie reunited with his former bandmates in Black Sabbath. The reunion was short-lived, producing only one album, Dehumanizer. After this Ronnie James Dio reassembled the band once again, retaining only Appice on the drums. Guitarist Tracy G, keyboardist Scott Warren and bassist Jeff Pilson all joined the band. During this era, the band adopted a more modern sound, leaving many fans of their older style disappointed. As a result some fans regard the albums made during this period - 1994’s Strange Highways, 1996’s Angry Machines and the live album Inferno - Last in Live - as the worst in Dio’s catalogue, while others view them positively as a step away from the increasingly outdated sound of the 1980s. Ronnie Dio has made it clear in interviews that he intensely dislikes this point in his career (particularly the Angry Machines album) and asked Craig Goldy to return in June 1999. Reputedly, Tracy G was asked to stay as a rhythm guitarist, but declined.
Craig Goldy returned in 2000 for Dio’s eighth studio album, Magica, which was regarded by many as the band’s “comeback album” and reached Number Thirteen on the Billboard independent charts. It featured the return not only of Goldy but of Simon Wright and Jimmy Bain as well. A concept album, Magica features a return to the band’s older, more successful sound, while increased use of keyboards gives it a modern feel. During the following tour, however, tensions rose between Goldy on the one hand and Bain and Dio on the other, as Goldy was dealing with the obligations of a family. Goldy left the band in January 2002 and was replaced with Doug Aldrich, whom Bain had met while recording a tribute album for Metallica. Because of his late arrival, Alrich did not contribute much to Dio’s ninth work, Killing The Dragon, which was written primarily by Ronnie Dio and Bain. Killing The Dragon was released in 2002 through Spitfire Records and was well received in the metal community, reaching the overall charts in the UK. Aldrich would stay in the band until April of the following year, when he joined Whitesnake, which prompted Goldy’s return. Soon afterwards, Bain left the band.
In 2004 Dio released their tenth studio album, Master of the Moon, on September 7, 2004 in the United States through Sanctuary Records, and on August 30, 2004 in Europe through SPV Records. The album features multi-instrumentalist Jeff Pilson (formerly of Dokken) on bass duties; however, because of prior obligations, he was only available for the recording sessions, and so was replaced by Rudy Sarzo.
Dio released a live album, Evil or Divine – Live in New York City – in 2005. It featured the same show that was released on DVD in 2003. Dio has claimed he did not have much input on this release, as he had already left the label that released it. Dio toured South America, Japan, Europe, and Russia in 2005. Their fall tour was titled “An Evening With Dio” and featured a regular set, and then a second set of the band playing his 1983 album Holy Diver in its entirety. The band was purportedly going to film a date from this show in Russia for future DVD release; however, the show on the DVD was actually filmed in London, England. The audio of this performance, a double CD named Holy Diver Live was released in April 2006.
In 2007 it was announced that Black Sabbath would reunite with Dio and go under the name Heaven and Hell. This has some people debating if the band Dio will release a new album during 2008, though Dio sates that his time with Heaven and Hell will end before 2008 to give him time to make another Dio album before he has anything to do with Black Sabbath again.