Tales from the Jugular

Staff Comments on Ronnie James Dio

By: Maximum Metal Staff
Published: Wednesday, May 19, 2010
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).

Personal Notes:
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 up Ronnie!

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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