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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

To another soaring, golden voice now, this one from heavy metal.

(Soundbite of music)

BLOCK: Ronnie James Dio died yesterday. He was 67 years old. Born Ronald James Padavona, Dio got the first of two big breaks in 1975, when he became the front man for the band Rainbow. His second break came in 1979. Dio left Rainbow for what seemed to many at the time to be an impossible task: replace Ozzy Osbourne as lead singer of Black Sabbath.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Dio did not disappoint. Their first effort together, "Heaven and Hell," is widely regarded as one of the finest heavy metal albums ever recorded.

(Soundbite of music)

BLACK SABBATH (Music Group): (Singing) So it's on and on and on. It's heaven and hell. Oh, well.

SIEGEL: During his tenure with Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio helped popularize one of metal's most enduring symbols, the devil horns. That's a hand gesture made by extending the index and pinky fingers. Dio himself said he got the idea from his superstitious grandmother, who used it to ward off the evil eye.

BLOCK: When Dio wasn't singing for Sabbath, he was busy building a successful solo career with his own band, named Dio. His powerful voice and predilection for dark, medieval imagery earned him a loyal heavy metal following and led to this loving parody from the comedy group Tenacious D.

(Soundbite of music)

TENACIOUS D (Comedy Group): (Singing) He had songs of wildebeests and angels. He had soared on the wings of a dreamer.

BLOCK: Ronnie James Dio continued recording and touring until he was diagnosed with cancer last November. He died yesterday at age 67.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. RONNIE JAMES DIO: (Singing) Ride the tiger. You can see his stripes, but you know he's clean. Oh, can't you see what I mean? Got to get away, holy diver. Yeah.

SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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