Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


Ronnie James Dio, R.I.P.

What a shock it was to wake up on Sunday morning to the news that heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio had passed away, after a six month battle with stomach cancer.  All recent indications made it seem like Ronnie was winning the battle (in fact, he was on the "black metal" carpet in April for the Revolver Golden Gods Awards, looking great), and although Heaven & Hell had recently postponed some summer tour dates, it made sense that perhaps Ronnie just needed more recovery time to finish treatments and get back to full strength.  Apparently things must have been much worse than any of us realized, or perhaps they worsened quickly within the past few weeks.  I was sad, both as a music fan and as someone that had experienced personally what an awesome human being Ronnie was.

I wrote a few words about my experiences with Ronnie for Popdose, and I thought I'd share a few more highlights here, as seen around the web.

My pal Chris Akin is the one responsible for my first meeting with Dio, and although we've had many memorable metal/music experiences together, Chris has quite a few tales of his own that I forget about - like that one time that Dio introduced him to Jimmy Page.

D.X. Ferris also wrote a nice Dio tribute here, while gathering additional thoughts from some of Cleveland's metal royalty, regarding Dio's passing.

Nationally, a bunch of metal folks stopped by Eddie Trunk's radio show on Sirius, and you can stream the interviews with former Dio band members Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren and Doug Aldrich, plus Geoff Tate, Tom Morello, etc; here.

Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic  adds his own tribute via the Seattle Weekly where he is an occasional contributor.

This is Ronnie James Dio that we're talking about, so if you dial up, you'll find tributes from nearly every musician that has ever picked up an instrument in metal.....only a slight exaggeration.  Without a doubt, the man was loved by many, and that will continue to live on via his music with both current and future musical generations.

On that musical note, my buddy Mark Zander will have a nice two hour musical tribute to the music of Dio on this weekend's edition of The Rockin' '80s - which you can stream via the following link.  I've seen the song list already, and it's a really nice collection of not only the hits, but some pretty cool Dio-related rarities as well.

If you're in the mood for some cool live stuff from Dio, I'd recommend the following:

Dio - Evil or Divine - Live in New York City - a great live recording from the tour for Killing The Dragon, available on both CD and DVD.  In my opinion, this is the best recording/representation of the later period of the Dio band.

Heaven & Hell - Live at Radio City Music Hall - The 2007 Heaven & Hell reunion tour was bad ass, and I'm so happy that they captured that on this CD/DVD.

Black Sabbath - Live at Hammersmith CD - Originally issued via Rhino Handmade, this release quickly sold out - but the good news is that it is available once again as the second disc of the recent Mob Rules reissue.  So awesome.

From an anthology standpoint - I'd recommend The Very Beast of  Dio for those that are casual fans looking for a good one disc treatment - or if you want to go all out, Stand Up and Shout is a nice double disc retrospective that collects all of the good stuff (or most of it) from each phase of Dio's lengthy career.

Vocally, Ronnie James Dio had one of the most amazing instruments in the music business - after 25 years, Dio was still delivering vocal performances that were on the level with the video that you see above, recorded at the Spectrum in 1984.  And that is unbelievable considering that as noted by D.X. Ferris in his tribute piece, Dio had racked up 52 years in the music business.  As a music fan, it was an immense pleasure each time that I had the opportunity to see Ronnie James Dio live - I was never bored with the idea of watching Ronnie run through any of the hits "one more time."  It's really hard to believe that now we'll no longer have that chance.

Ronnie was indeed, a "metal gentleman" - and we're really going to miss him.

Image of Ronnie James Dio via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Melechesh

    Ronnie showed me that one does not have to be a 'MTV face and flawles moves' to be a real rock star.

  • Matt

    Totally. You don't have to be tall, either!

  • Stereo Dictator

    Don't forget about the glory days of Rainbow featuring Dio, before the band went south and turned into a pop machine. Absolutely great with RJD, Blackmore, Jimmy Bain, Bob Daisley and the late, great Cozy Powell.

    Rainbow – Rising 1976
    On Stage 1977
    Live in Munich 1977
    Long Live Rock n Roll

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  • Ayah El Kadiki

    I born in 1990 but my fav band ever is Rainbow even when it turned to pop, and I find Ronnie James Dio is the GREAT vocalist ever …
    ROCK & ROLl will never die and R J Dio will be always in THE Rock & ROLl history forever.
    He deserves to REST IN PEACE …
    And I say now ( We'll meet ya in HEAVEN Dio, we'll do, cuz this's the faith plus cruel life circle that we've to live in it before we die and go back to GOD HANDS in the HEAVENS)

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