C O L U M N S
Staff Comments on Ronnie James Dio
How can one begin to describe in words a man that has meant so much to so many people?
The life of Ronnie James Dio was one filled with a profound passion for music. Born Ronald
James Padavona in 1942, he was involved in his first musical outing as early as the age of
ten, initially playing the trumpet.
Throughout the early 1970's he was the lead singer of his first professional band Elf,
leaving in 1975 to join Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow; showcasing more and more of his
stunning vocal talent as time went on.
Taking the reigns of monolith Black Sabbath from then-outsed front man Ozzy Osbourne would
be a daunting task to say the least, but Dio proved that he was up to the challenge
recording two great albums with the band--"Heaven and Hell"(1980) and "Mob
Rules"('81) before venturing into his solo career which began with the now legendary
"Holy Diver" and continued to deliver the metal from then on.
During the mid-80s, Ronnie formed Hear 'n Aid--a large gathering of metal musicians who
helped raise money for famine relief in Africa.
Ronnie continued throughout the 90s and 00s with his solo career and made appearances with
other bands such as Queensryche and even lended his vocals to tongue-in-cheek records by
Pat Boone and Tenacious D.
He reunited with Iommi and Butler for the first time since Black Sabbath's
"Dehumanizer" ('92) under the appropriate moniker Heaven and Hell, who released
an album of all original material, "The Devil You Know" in 2009.
He was quite literally, an icon of heavy metal; loved or otherwise respected by all. His
piercing voice will forever be committed to the halls of memory. He is credited with
popularizing the "devil horns" gesture--a family affection that went on to
become the universal hand sign of heavy metal. For that alone, he's immortal. Dio always
seemed to strike a deep, personal chord with his fans and always seemed to be a very down
to earth, gracious person regardless of his successes.
Ronnie James Dio died at 7:45 a.m. on May 16, 2010 after a lost battle with stomach
cancer. In the words of his wife Wendy, "his music will live on forever".
--Ben McCraw (5/17/10).
Chris Kincaid --I didn't become a fan of Metal till 1990. I was
a late bloomer. My first taste was through Hair Metal but it wasn't long before I found
bands like Ozzy, Metal Church and Ronnie James Dio. I heard 'Rainbow In The Dark' on a
show here in Canada called POWER 30 which played classic Metal songs and also recent music
at the time. I remember trying to mimic Dio's vocals and loving when the song hit the
solo. It wasn't long before I snagged a copy of "Holy Diver" from a local Pawn
Shop for 5 bucks. I played the shit out of the disc on my old beat up stereo system that
was given to me. Didn't matter songs like 'Don't Talk To Strangers' sounded great even if
the speakers were damaged. I finally nailed down Dio's voice but I'm a poor imitation in
comparison. I remained a fan right up till the end with my last purchase being the Heaven
and Hell boxset that was taped at Radio City Music Hall . I will always be a fan! Great
talent never dies! Alive he was a Metal God...and in death he is still a Metal God! Horns
EC --I remember hearing Ronnie James Dio for the first time back
in the early '90s. My buddy had a taped song of "Lock Up The Wolves" and I was
just blown away by his voice. Soon after I bought "Holy Diver" and borrowed
"Heaven And Hell". Since then Dio is a regular in my rotation and always will
be. I was saddened by the news of his passing and took a few hours to spin some of my
favorite Dio tunes. Long Live Rock 'N Roll and long live Dio!!
Frank H. --The "Rainbow in the Dark" video was all
I needed to be led down the path of Dio--Sabbath, Rainbow, solo--I walked it with
thousands of other metalheads who felt the power, presence and dominance of Ronnie's
vocals. One of the defining moments of heavy metal for me will always be the begining of
"The Last in Line" when the music goes silent and Dio belts out
"HOOOOOOOOOOMMMMEEEEEE!!!!" Holy F*CK does that raise the hair on a person's
arms! I was lucky enough to see him open for Iron Maiden and was amazed that his voice had
stayed so strong at his age. I can only express gratitude that such a remarkable
voice and set of songs are available for the rest of us to listen to and draw positive
inspiration from. Horns way up to a god of metal!
Gordon Tittsworth (Images of Eden)
--This is a sad time in metal! Not only was Ronnie James Dio one of the greatest metal
vocalists that ever lived, he was a pioneer of the genre. He was one of the very few
musicians who stood the test of time and never changed his sound, style, lyrical content,
etc. to conform to whatever trend the public was being force-fed at the time. He kept his
signature sound from beginning to end and was really one of the only musicians that seemed
to truly love every moment of the life that was given to him. He will be missed by many.
The metal world is truly a lesser place without him."
Greg Watson --I am very saddened by the loss of Ronnie James
Dio. It saddens me almost as much as the passing of Dimebag (R.I.P.) Dio was a pioneer for
the metal world and did so many great things for the music industry. From his days with
Rainbow, Sabbath, Elf and then his own band, Dio constantly brought a unique element to
his music. He was a source of inspiration and support for many up and coming musicians and
bands and the legacy that he created will continue to live on.
Kevin Anstett --One of THE defining voices in our evergrowing
beloved tome of heavy metal has departed. We have lost a true legend, a man who believed
in this music with every ounce of his being. Several years ago I had the chance to meet
him on the Magica tour, he couldn't have been more nice as he regaled me with his
intentions of continuing the Magica concept into parts 2 & 3. He loved this music and
it showed in all other aspects of his life. From the early days of Elf to fronting again
the mighty Sabbath aka Heaven and Hell, he influenced countless musicians, leaving behind
a legacy very few can begin to approach. Despite the grief we feel in our hearts at this
moment, long may your spirit continue to shine through your music Ronnie, like a Rainbow
In The Dark. R.I.P.
Miguel Blardony --I would not be the metalhead I am today
without RJD and his music. To think I expected the man to live forever. The King of Heavy
Metal may have left us, but his legacy shall live on in our hearts always.
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