Like a rainbow in the dark: RIP Ronnie James Dio, 1942-2010

Ronnie James Dio

The last 24 hours have been an emotional rollercoaster for us poor metal fans! First, rumours circulated on Twitter and web sites that Ronnie James Dio, godfather of metal and inventor of the devil horns, had succumbed to stomach cancer after a six month battle. The shock and grief that circulated soon turned to anger as the rumours were shown to be false – Wendy Dio, Ronnie’s wife, informing Blabbermouth that while he was not doing great, the great man was still holding on.

A few hours later, it was confirmed that the rumour had been merely premature. Metalheads the world over who had mistaken “he’s not dead” to mean “he won’t die” were more cautious about accepting the news this time around but cancer is a fucker and sadly, this time it was for real.

Outpourings of grief and love have been in the metal media ever since. Ritchie Blackmore, Lemmy, Lars Ulrich, Rob Flynn, members of Black Sabbath, bands from Testament and Anthrax to Judas Prest, Motley Crue, Queensryche, KISS, Trouble and hundred of others issued statements commemorating a truly amazing voice, a talented musician and a heavy metal legend.

Not to mention inventor of the metal horns:

i first heard Dio when I was around 12, probably in 1989. My friend Anne and I were being introduced to metal by her older brother. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but metal really appealed to me – and the rest is history.

We made copies of tapes we were given and, in the nature of 12 year olds, copies of copies of copies – including one outstanding four volume compilation series entitled Masters of Metal. Sadly I’ve not been able to find any information about this series on the interwebs but it included all the classics from the ‘70s and ‘80s, from (ozzy-era) Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, and Rush to Dokken, Accept, Judas Priest, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Motley Crue and of course, Dio: both Holy Diver and Stand Up and Shout were on there, as well as Rainbow’s Man on the Silver Mountain and Long Live Rock n’ Roll.

Pre-internet, we knew nothing about the bands other than the name of the artist and the name of the tracks, but that amazing voice made sure Dio was never forgotten.

Much has been written about Dio and his amazing contributions to music over the past few days. There was also one rather disrespectful and lazily-written obituary by Reuters News, and this post was originally going to be an angry rant about that, but in retrospect, it’s really irrelevant and not worth wasting further time on. Those who matter know better.

Ronnie James Dio, you were taken from us far too soon and you will be sorely missed. Your contributions to metal will not be forgotten, however.

Long Live Rock n’ Roll!

~ by goatlady on May 18, 2010.

One Response to “Like a rainbow in the dark: RIP Ronnie James Dio, 1942-2010”

  1. […] awful so far for the metal world, losing so many of its heroes in the past months. Peter Steele, Ronnie James Dio, and now Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, dead of unknown causes at the age of […]

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