Black Sabbath Vocalist's Connection to Pharmacy

June 4, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

While he was drawn to a career in music from an early age, his parents encouraged him to pursue college.

Before he took over for Ozzy Osbourne as the lead singer of Black Sabbath in 1979, Ronnie James Dio tried his hand at pharmacy.

Dio was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and was a troublemaker in high school, according to Billboard. Once, he allegedly dumped soap suds into the high school swimming pool. Billboard also credited him with having long hair before it came into style for metal heads.

While he was drawn to a career in music from an early age, his parents encouraged him to pursue college.

According to The Ozzy Osbourne Handbook, the heavy metal singer told a crowd in 2007 at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center near Buffalo, New York, that he had majored in pharmacy at the University of Buffalo.

He attended the pharmacy school from 1960 to 1961, but did not graduate. He did start one of his early bands in his freshman year, though.

Following his brief stint in pharmacy school, Dio moved on to play in the bands Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Dio.

The singer, who died May 16, 2010, following a battle with stomach cancer, was described as “the nicest man in metal,” Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian told Billboard. He was 67 when he died.

While Dio will be remembered as a metal legend, for a brief moment in time, the Rock Wall of Fame inductee could have followed the path of a white coat and clean cut instead of a black leather jacket and long, headbanging hair.