Vale Ronnie James Dio 10.7.42 – 16.5.10

17 05 2010

One of Heavy Metals’ greatest legends has passed.  Ronnie James Dio, some time singer for Black Sabbath as well as his own bands,  was reknown for his soaring vocal range and mighty power-ballads exploring the epic struggle between good and evil. He was also immortalised in several pop-culture forays including cameos in South Park, The Simpsons and the Tenacious-D movie, Pick of Destiny, as well as being one of the first to popularise the “devils horn” salute now de riguer at rock shows everywhere.

I first heard Dio in 1989, when CDs were a novelty and some of us were buying our very first. One of these was Dios (also the name of the band) first album, Holy Diver. I was blown away. The soaring melodies, epic fantasy themed lyrics and above all, the sheer power of his delivery were in a big way responsible for hard rock becomimg my musical genre of choice, and Dio, one of my all time faves.

Black Sabbaths first album with Ronnie on vocals, Heaven & Hell was another standout, with the epic title track acknowledged by the man himself as his personal favourite. Many may disagree, but I always think of this album and its live followup a few years later, Live Evil as Sabbaths best.

I finally got to see him play live, two years ago in Perth.  Heaven and Hell, essentially the Dio-era members of Sabbath including Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinnie Appice, had reformed and were touring prior to the release of a new album. It was truly awesome to see them performimg many of the famous tracks from the early Sabbath albums and plenty of Dios’ own as well. At the age of 65, the man still put on a show to rival others a third of his age, the energy and power of both the music and the vocals having lost nothing to time.

Ronnie James Dio passed away yesterday, Sunday, of stomach cancer. He was 67.

A Classic track from the first Dio album, Holy Diver : Don’t Talk to Strangers




3 responses

17 05 2010
Dr Yobbo

As far as I understood it Dio invented the metal salute, based on his old Italian grandma’s sign for devilish doings.

18 05 2010

Sounds like Megadeath and Iron Maiden were directly influenced by this bloke. Very iconic voice.

18 05 2010

Doc, according to Dio he certainly adopted it, but wasn’t the first metaller to do so. As an aside, he notes it kind of lost its meaning after the Britney Spears crowd took it up as well…
Moko, yep, lots of bands claiming his influence, even Marilyn Manson credits Dio as one of his original idols.

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