Monday, May 17, 2010

Some Thoughts On Ronnie James Dio

It's been about 12 hours since I heard about Dio's passing and I am sitting in the Portland Airport waiting for a flight for work. Last night I created a "Dio mix" for the trip, comprised of his three studio albums with Rainbow, all his Sabbath work and Holy Diver, along with a bootleg or two.

Great to listen to but it's not like I had not been listening to Dio lately. Unlike some other bands that made a huge impression on me growing up, (The Who come to mind), I never really stopped listening to Dio.

I had the great, great fortune of seeing the man with Heaven & Hell just three years ago and as I posted in my review of that show, he blew me away. At age 65, he still sang better than most. I was frankly shocked at not only how excellent he was, but how many notches he raised Sabbath beyond when I had seen them with Ozzy a few months prior. It was like a different band.

And as stated by many others, Dio was also a great guy. I never heard a story of him treating people with anything but respect. No drugs or alcohol stories, yet he was not preachy about it. Even his reports on his battle with cancer were heartfelt and genuine.

At age 67, Dio went out at the TOP of his game. He will be missed but his influence will ripple forward for decades. Can anyone imagine the current state of heavy metal without him near the top? I can't. Below is his last interview, with Eddie Trunk, and a great live take on Heaven and Hell from the early 80s:

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Seano said...

There are very few singers who sound like no other, and become the faceplate for their respective genres...Ronnie was one. I also had the pleasure of seeing him only once w/Heaven and Hell in San Jose several years back. A force of nature who gave it all for his fans and was completely idolized by names in metal who became much bigger....this one's gonna take a while to get over.

Dr. John said...

Great post, Isorski. One of the great voices of metal. Just hear one note from him and you know it is none other than the great RJD. Watching the VH1 interview, I never realized how small he is. I never had a chance to see him live other than on TV so the cameras can play tricks on you.

Sean Coleman said...

I had the great pleasure to see him twice, the last being with Heaven and Hell in 2007. One of my prized possessions is a signed vinyl copy of Live Evil. It's tough to watch your heroes pass on. For myself and many others who have been hit hard with this news, his voice was very much a part of being a teenage metal fan in the early eighties, while others first encountered his talent with those early Rainbow albums (Rising is my favorite). Nice tribute, sir.