The Reason Ronnie James Dio ‘Shied Away’ From Joining Black Sabbath The First Time
ROCHESTER, MI - AUGUST 21: Ronnie James Dio of Heaven and Hell performs at the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on August 21, 2009 in Rochester Hills, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/FilmMagic)
It Was Tony Iommi Who Convinced Him
After Black Sabbath famously fired Ozzy Osbourne, they brought in Ronnie James Dio as replacement. Dio met guitarist Tony Iommi at The Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in 1979. At the time, Dio was looking for a new gig while Iommi was in search of a new vocalist. It worked out nicely for both parties, for a few years at least. By November 1982, Dio left Black Sabbath to form his own band.
Now in an excerpt released from Dio’s memoir titled Rainbow in the Dark: The Autobiography, it was revealed that he initially “shied away” from the prospect of fronting Black Sabbath.
“I admit, at first, I shied away from the prospect,” Dio wrote. “I was desperate to do my own thing again after the years working under Ritchie Blackmore’s rule. I was also unsure how on earth I was supposed to replace Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath.”
“Unlike in years to come, when groups like Van Halen, Bad Company, Iron Maiden, and even Queen could bring in a new frontman with impunity,” he continued, “in the late ’70s, the idea of a superstar group like Sabbath replacing their frontman was considered unthinkable. Led Zeppelin without Robert Plant, the Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger? Sacrilege.”
He was hesitant to do it because he didn’t want to “end up alienating both Sabbath and Rainbow fans.” Nevertheless, Iommi convinced him to accept the gig.
Rainbow in the Dark: The Autobiography was published on July 17, and it was completed by journalist Mick Wall and Dio’s wife Wendy.