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Petition Seeks to Release Ronnie James Dio’s 1950s/’60s R&B + Doo-Wop Recordings on Vinyl

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Say, did you know that Ronnie James Dio fronted a series of doo-wop / R&B groups before going on to become heavy metal royalty as the leader of Elf, Rainbow, Dio and Black Sabbath? Impress your friends at the next local trivia night with that little nugget of knowledge.

Fans of RJD are now clamoring for an official vinyl release of that material. Currently available only on extremely expensive and long out-of-print 45s and various low-quality bootlegs (both physical and streaming), the petitioner’s organizers think it’s high time Dio’s work with Ronnie and the Red Caps and Ronnie Dio and the Prophets get the treatment they deserve.

An excerpt from petition, hosted on Change.org, reads as follows:

“Serious fans of Ronnie James Dio have been longing for official releases of his early 1950s-60s era Doo-Wop / R&B / Vocal Pop recordings. These were done way before Elf and Rainbow even existed. These songs were mainly recorded under the group names Ronnie and the Red Caps and Ronnie Dio and the Prophets, though some were recorded under just Ronnie Dio. 

Here is an example of one of the recordings from this era, his rendition of the classic song “Love Potion No. 9” and performed by Ronnie Dio and the Prophets. If you prefer an original you can listen to “Love Pains“, which was written under his legal name Padavona and also performed with The Prophets.

“There was only one full-length LP released by Ronnie Dio and the Prophets in 1963 called Dio at Domino’s and it fetches thousands of dollars, when found in good condition (VG or better). However, this album was recorded live and did not feature any studio recordings. All the rest of the releases put out during this era were done as 45rpm singles, some of which can also fetch big money. There is one CD that was released in Spain during 2012 called Ronnie Dio and the Prophets – The Early Years, but this release is suspected to be unofficial as it doesn’t have any licensing information…and it certainly doesn’t exist on vinyl. 

“The vinyl community is in dire need of official reissues of these early Ronnie James Dio recordings, including the Dio at Domino’s LP. Sure, the original masters are likely destroyed or inaccessible, but even digital files remastered for vinyl would be better than nothing. Or, if clean copies of originals can be sourced then an analog master can be extracted from those and remastered from there. Or, perhaps Ronnie kept an archive of all his work just like Frank Zappa did and the master reels COULD just be sitting in a box somewhere.

“Bottom line, we need some form of an official vinyl reissue/release containing these early recordings so that fans can enjoy them on the medium they were meant to be enjoyed. There is no known reason why the only people releasing some of this stuff on vinyl, in the modern era, are “bootleggers” and “counterfeiters” – and even those pressings are sparse and hard to attain at a reasonable price. Unlike with Pantera, it has never been publicly stated that Ronnie’s early recordings would never be reissued – not to my knowledge, anyway. All that we ask is that his entire legacy be celebrated, not just his Hard Rock and Metal catalog.” 

Sign the petition here (and read the rest of its mission statement) if you’d like to help bring this project to life. The petition was launched by Max Wallis of Sofa King Vinyl.

A previous version of this article erroneously stated Wallis works for Niji Entertainment Group, the label formed by Ronnie and his wife, Wendy. He does not, and that mistake has been fixed, but Wallis believes Niji would be the best company to handle these reissues if they come to fruition.

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