- Ronnie Dio's Early Years

Every so often, I’m asked about how I got all this music, did I grow up in the Cortland area, did I see Ronnie perform back in the day, etc. Basically, why did I make this website? I thought I’d answer it here, uninteresting as the info may be.

I never saw Ronnie back in those days. In fact, I was born in 1971. In California. So I have absolutely no connection to these early days of Ronnie’s career, other than being a big fan of his. I remember when I was first introduced to him. Sometime in the mid-80s, I went with my brother to Rainbow Records, which was located on Saratoga-Sunnyvale Blvd in San Jose, for those familiar with the area. I loved that store. Anyway, I was shopping for my first ever CD and didn’t know what to buy. My brother suggested Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell, and I took his suggestion. Turns out, I loved it. In fact, to this day, it’s one of my all-time favorite albums.

My senior year in high school, after becoming a fan of all Ronnie’s music, from Rainbow to solo, I heard about Elf. So, with the help of my cousin, I went on a quest. Finally, after several months, I found LPs for Trying to Burn the Sun and L.A. 59 (imported version of Carolina County Ball) and a used record shop (in Campbell, CA, I think). Man, did I love that music. A couple years later, I found the debut Elf album.

It wasn’t until the mid-90s that I found a majority of this early music. I actually bought a few CDs off a guy who, it turns out, got the music from the DDT (Dio Digital Tree). As a side note, another DDT member found out and got mad that someone sold it, because he wasn’t supposed to. I didn’t mind, because I REALLY wanted it. The music had been cleaned up a bit. I wish I could remember who had done it. Anyway, I listened to it and thought it was extremely cool.

At the time, I was getting into the website boom, so I decided that we needed a website with this music. At the time, posting mp3s wasn’t as easy, so I offered the music on tapes (and eventually CDs) for $20. After being (deservedly) chastised for charging for the music, and once it was more feasible, I posted mp3 versions of the music for free. It was made much easier for me when Genady from Angen offered to host the files for free. And he has continued to do so to this day.

In addition to the music, I compiled lyrics (with the help of Luke, as credited), album listings, and a history of the early years. I got the original history from Tapio at I’m pretty certain I asked him if I could swipe the part of the history covered by this website, and he gratefully agreed. At least that’s my recollection, but my memory isn’t so hot. Here’s to hoping...

I’ve had this website since around the 1998-99 timeframe. Since starting it, I’ve been able to add quite a bit. More of the music has become available, for one. I’ve also heard from a few former bandmates who have given me corrections and additions to the history. I’ve also heard from family of his, which has been nice. And, of course, I regularly receive email from readers thanking me for the site and giving me their thoughts. I don’t always get out a response, but I’m ALWAYS pleased to receive the email. It’s good to know people still come to the site and listen to the music.

So this has really been a community effort. I’ve just compiled everything from what I’ve received, and I’ve had a fun time doing it. I hope you enjoy the site and the music. My goal is for the music to live forever, just like everything from the great career of Ronnie James Dio.