Monday, May 17, 2010

Ronnie James Dio dead at 67!

A sad day indeed.....

Ronnie James Dio, whose soaring vocals, poetic lyrics and mythic tales of a never-ending struggle between good and evil broke new ground in heavy metal, died Sunday, according to a statement from his wife and manager. He was 67.

Dio revealed last summer that he was suffering from stomach cancer shortly after wrapping up a tour in Atlantic City, N.J. with the latest incarnation of Black Sabbath, under the name Heaven And Hell.

"Today my heart is broken, Wendy Dio wrote on the singer's site, adding he died at 7:45 a.m. "Many, many friends and family were able to say their private goodbyes before he peacefully passed away.

"Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all, Wendy Dio continued. "We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us ... Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever."

The statement was confirmed by Los Angeles publicist Maureen O'Connor.

Dio rose to fame in 1975 as the first lead singer of Rainbow, the heavy metal band put together by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who had just quit Deep Purple.

Dio then replaced legendary vocalist Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath in 1980 with the critically acclaimed album "Heaven And Hell, considered by many critics to be one of the finest heavy metal albums of all time. His on-again, off-again tenure with Black Sabbath touched off an intense debate among fans as to which singer was the true essence of the band -- a discussion that lasted until his death.

He also enjoyed a successful solo career with his self-titled band, Dio, in between his three stints with Black Sabbath (1980-82; 1992; and 2007-2009, when the band toured as Heaven And Hell, to differentiate it from Osbourne-led versions of Sabbath).

Many of his most memorable songs revolved around the struggle between good and evil, including his signature tune "Heaven And Hell. He also drew heavily on medieval imagery in songs like "Neon Knights, "Killing The Dragon and "Stargazer.

"He possessed one of the greatest voices in all of heavy metal, and had a heart to match it, said Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French, whose band toured with Dio since 1983, and was to do so again this summer at European rock festivals. "He was the nicest, classiest person you would ever want to meet.

His solo hits included "Rainbow In The Dark, "The Last In Line and "Holy Diver.

Turn it up!


Anonymous said...

Ronnie James Dio was one of the most powerful and unique rock singers ever as well as an excellent lyricist and a superb showman. I first heard Ronnie's dulcet tones thirty-five years when I bought Ritchie Blackmore's first post-Deep Purple album. Songs like Man On The Silver Mountain, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves, and Catch The Rainbow showed that the Blackmore-Dio alliance was dripping with potential. And as any rock aficionado worth his salt will testify, the release of the seminal Rainbow Rising album in 1976 firmly cemented the Blackmore-Dio partnership. Rainbow Rising is, without question, worthy of a place in the top ten - perhaps even the top five - rock albums of all time. This is an album I never tire of listening to. Truly a masterpiece.

Many an eyebrow was raised when Ronnie replaced the inimitable Ozzy Osbourne as Black Sabbath vocalist in 1979. Although I was myself a tad sceptical upon hearing the news, I was intrigued nevertheless. I reasoned that with Ronnie and Ozzy being two totally different types of singer, Sabbath would most likely develop a new sound and adopt a fresh style so to accomodate their new vocalist. And so it was to be. Heaven And Hell, the first Sabbath album to feature Ronnie James Dio on vocals, was simply awesome and far surpassed the previous two Black Sabbath albums, Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die. Like Rainbow Rising, Heaven And Hell is another slice of classic British rock that still sounds refreshingly good after all these years.

Ronnie James Dio is a rock legend. His contribution to rock music is enormous and will never be forgotten. Ronnie is gone but his music will live forever. We shall never see his like again. Thanks for all the great music Ronnie. Rest in peace.

Whitelaw Towers said...

I still recall buying The Heaven and Hell album when it was first released. I must admit I was a little skeptical. After playing the album I was a instant convert. Yes he was legend of rock. His music will live on.

As far as I can tell Ian Gillan would be only one who could even come close to the vocal talents of Dio.