A look at legendary metal singer Ronnie James Dio's history as a sports fan
As the frontman of Dio, Black Sabbath and Rainbow, few artists within the hard rock world have accomplished as much as Ronnie James Dio did. An undeniable influence on members of Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Slipknot, Slayer, Fozzy, Halestorm, Korn, Hatebreed and many other popular bands, Dio's legacy continues to live on beyond classic rock radio. In fact, on October 25th, the fourth annual "Bowl For Ronnie" event -- benefitting the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund -- will be taking place at PINZ Bowling Center in Studio City, California, an event that has been attended by members of Rage Against The Machine, Skid Row, Tenacious D, Tool, and Stone Sour in the past.
However, one thing that many people may not realize about Ronnie James Dio is just how big of a sports fan the singer was. Said wife and manager Wendy Dio in an exclusive Q&A: "He was like a sports encyclopedia, and you could ask him any question about any team, whether football, baseball, hockey, soccer, basketball, boxing, and he would know the answer." She continued: "Many sports fans would come to his shows, and he would have great, long conversations with them."
When asked who were his favorites in the sports world, Wendy Dio answered: "His favorite teams were the New York Yankees and the New York Giants -- a true blue New Yorker!" She added: "Wayne Gretsky, Kobe Bryant and many others gave him their jerseys." Wendy then specifically recalled a Hit Parader Magazine article from 1987 in which the publication ran Ronnie's baseball predictions.
But Ronnie James Dio's music career may have happened by accident, according to Wendy Dio. "He would write his songs while watching sports on TV... He always wanted to play baseball, but from 5 years old, he was forced by his father to practice his trumpet!"
Also related to Ronnie James Dio's fandom of the sports world, Julien's Auctions will be running an auction related to the Estate Of Ronnie James Dio at the Hard Rock Cafe New York on September 14 and 15 of 2018. Among the 665 personal items -- one less than 666, of course -- being auctioned off to the general public are sports jerseys from his personal wardrobe, autographed baseballs signed by Pete Rose and Mickey Mantle, and a framed Joe DiMaggio-themed compilation of memorabilia.
The legacy of Ronnie James Dio also continues through the Dio Disciples touring band. Featuring singers Tim "Ripper" Owens (Judas Priest), Oni Logan (Lynch Mob) and Joe Retta (Sweet), guitarist Craig Goldy (Dio), bassist Bjorn Englen (Yngwie Malmsteen), keyboardist Scott Warren (Dio, Heaven & Hell) and drummer Simon Wright (Dio, AC/DC, UFO), the star-studded group performs Dio classics in concert in authentic fashion. It was recently announced earlier this year that the Dio Disciples will be releasing a debut album via BMG in the near-future.
To stay up to date on the latest events related to Ronnie James Dio -- including whether or not there will be a re-issue of the Hear 'N' Aid charity single "Stars" anytime in the near-future -- please visit www.ronniejamesdio.com. And for information about Bowl for Ronnie, visit http://www.diocancerfund.org/events.