Sunday, May 16, 2010

Farewell to Ronnie James Dio (1942-2010)

     Ronnie James Dio was truly a Heavy Metal god! After a long battle with stomach cancer, Dio passed away today, he was 67. Born Ronald James Padavona on July 10, 1942 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to an Italian-American family, he possessed a unique and powerful voice. Originally the singer for bands like Elf and Rainbow, Dio revolutionized 70's power metal with elements of Dungeons & Dragons-like sword and sorcery that would influence many 80's metal bands. In 1979 he replaced Ozzy Osbourne as the vocalist for Black Sabbath for a short time and helped to revitalize the band with albums such as "Heaven and Hell" and "The Mob Rules". In 1982 Dio started his solo career with great albums like "Holy Diver", "The Last in Line' and "Dream Evil". During the 1990's Dio would return to Black Sabbath briefly and back to his solo projects until in 2006 when he rejoined Black Sabbath and then began touring as "Heaven and Hell" with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler. Dio's greatest claim to fame is his alleged creation of the trademark "devil horns" hand sign used with most heavy metal bands and fans alike. While this fact may be under debate, Dio would claim that the sign came from his Italian grandmother, known as "the Malocchio" or the evil eye. Despite the controversy, Ronnie James Dio has been a widely popular figure in heavy metal music with a devoted following from many personalities in the heavy metal scene and even actor/comedian/musician Jack Black (Tenacious D). Metal has lost one of its most important figures but he leaves behind a legacy of followers (i.e. Killswitch Engage's cover of Holy Diver) and will have a special place in the pantheon of Metal Gods!
ee NY Time article on Dio:
"Between the velvet lies,
There's a truth that's hard as steel,
The vision never dies,
Life's a never ending wheel."
- Dio, Holy Diver