Ronnie James Dio; The Godfather Of Heavy Metal; Has Died (5/16/2010)

I can hardly believe the words myself, but yes, the news is indeed true and the Metal world has lost one of its most inspiring titans as Ronnie James Dio, The Godfather Of Heavy has died at age 67.  Back in November of 2009 it was reported that Ronnie had been diagnosed with stomach cancer and he quickly began to get treated for it and according to most reports was on the mend if not a little worse for wear from the treatments.  Sadly, the battle that this brave warrior king would fight would not be all that long and he would succumb to the illness and pass from this plane on Sunday morning 5/16/2010.

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Ronnie James Dio: NYC (8/25/2009)

The singer was nothing less than an icon and a man who lived, breathed and pretty much existed Heavy Metal music on a daily basis and while he was born Ronald James Padavona back in 1942, it was the name Dio that resonated like a thunderclap across the music geography of the world.

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RJD in NYC (8/25/2009)

I first learned of Dio when he was the singer for Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.  It was a birthday of mine, and a friend had bought me the “Long Live Rock & Roll” LP from that band based on its having Cozy Powell on drums, and as he said “two other amazing musicians that I needed to pay more attention to as a Metal fan”.  Of course I knew full well about Ritchie from his Deep Purple days, but Dio was quite new to me at the time but once I heard what was coming out of him I was sold and have remained a fan ever since.

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Ronnie James Dio @ Metal Masters Tour 2008

Despite our use of the words “legend” and “icon” to describe the man and his wonderful accomplishments and contributions that were made to the music he so strongly believed in, he was still just a mortal man at the end of the day.   I say it like this based on the overall humility that was found in him during radio or televised interviews  and even those found in print or online sources.  He always seemed to be a genuine person and while I never was fortunate enough to meet him in person, I could recognize the warmth in his character from the photos I not only saw elsewhere but in the ones I took for myself as a music photojournalist.  His was truly the gaze of nobility and with his death Heavy Metal has lost one of its Royal Family.

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The Godfather Of Heavy Metal; Mr. RJD (8/9/2008)

I must admit that while just a tad envious of others who “do what I do” or something akin to it, I did recollect a moment that I wanted to share with you all.  Heaven and Hell were headlining out in the Jones Beach Ampitheatre at a gig that also featured Queensryche and Alice Cooper and it was interestingly enough my very first time getting to photograph a set by any band at this venue.  There was no photo pit so I was pressed up against a gate that security stood behind which separated the fans from the stage and hence the band.  When the bands come on it gets rather tight with those folks who leave the seats to get an inch or three closer pushing up against you let me tell you that much.

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“Sing Me A Song You’re A Singer” RJD in NYC

So anyways, I have to think quick because those of you who see how this whole thing operates with the media peoples and photographers realize that we only have a few short minutes to do our thing and then leave that area.  With all the people pushing and shoving it would only get worse when one of the band members got close to the stage edge and of course Mr. Dio loved coming up that far to wave or shake hands with the fans.  Anyways, at some points I was just pointing and pressing the button on the camera since the lights flashing and people pushing was making me more focused on not losing the camera.  One hand was in the air holding the gear and the other was up in the air protecting it and then suddenly, someone had my hand from above!!!  I felt that maybe I nudged the security guy or something but when I looked up I was gazing right at Dio who had my hand clutched in his own and was smiling down.  I guess I looked more excited than I realized but either way, I smiled back at him and he continued on down the line of people in that region.  That was the closest I ever came to meeting the singer, but despite this is a story and experience I would never forget and recant to friends and readers in these narrative thoughts.  I feel if you were someone who met him and spoke to him outside of a show that you are and were a very lucky person.

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“When You Listen To Fools, The Mob Rules”

When one reflects upon the musical contributions of Dio to the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal genre, the results are staggering and take several moments to absorb.  As I mentioned earlier, my first exposure to his talents was with the band Rainbow and if you have not yet paid their work any mind, I suggest that you do so immediately.  A few of my favorite Rainbow songs ever are Dio sung ones and I think you will agree when you hear “Man On The Silver Mountain”, “Kill The King” and “Stargazer”. We’ve reviewed a few of the Rainbow releases that Dio was featured on, so if you would like to learn our thoughts on these albums, just click the band’s logo below to see all of this content on

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There are three studio efforts with Ronnie on them in the Rainbow catalog and each of them are recommendations that you will never regret purchasing.

I wanted to take the time to present any coverage that we had offered up for the body of work that Ronnie James Dio gave us over the years and while we have a substantial amount of it, there are a number of things missing because we were not working in this role at the time of its initial release.  There is always the future in terms of website reviews of course.  I will begin with the stuff we reviewed from his prolific band Dio.  I remember the day that I bought my “Holy Diver” LP and how loud I blasted it (much to my parents chagrin).  It’s an album that needs to find a special edition remaster released and actually they should issue the first few albums since they were so amazing.  What I liked the most about the early Dio recordings was how the songs were stories that took us all to mystical worlds and with Ronnie as our guide there was never anything to fear.  Click the bands logo below to check out any Dio content on the website.  We’ve reviewed several of the later CD’s and Videos along with some concerts.  My personal favorite are the first two solo albums that he did which were “Holy Diver” and “The Last In Line”.  I had some fave tracks on “Sacred Heart” and these have remained special to me for many years.  I caught Dio during the “Sacred Heart” tour and he had Rough Cutt opening up for him.  I remember being blown away by Dio and his stage show (that even featured a dragon) and while Rough Cutt was on my friends and I kept checking our watches as we counted down the minutes until Dio’s arrival.

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Scrolling backward a little bit to what went on before the solo career we come to Dio’s tenure in the legendary Black Sabbath.  When Ronnie replaced Ozzy Osbourne in the band back in 1979, the resultant Metal output was something truly extraordinary.  It was tough for the die hard fans to accept this at first but when the first collaboration together came out they realized that something special was a brewing.  That first album is the amazing “Heaven And Hell”.  It was followed by “Mob Rules” and then a live concert release called “Live Evil” that showcased that tour and found Ronnie also doing some of the legacy Sabbath classics in his own style.  Sadly it would end with that and Ronnie would move on and embark on that amazing solo career that we just referenced above.  Time does heal all wounds and he would return to their roster to record and release “Dehumanizer” in 1992 but again the project was only something briefly done before he went back to his solo work.  Rhino Records remastered all of the Dio Years Black Sabbath music in 2008 and made them available to fans in a boxed set or on their own. There was also a “hits package” that preceded these remasters released in 2006 and that album featured three new songs that showcased that this association might not be over yet.  Our views on these remastered editions can be found by clicking the logo link below, but please note that the query searches all Black Sabbath content, so you will have to pick amidst the list to see those that RJD took part in.  I was sad that I never saw him perform with Black Sabbath back during their initial working together but oh well, one cannot always see the shows that they want to when it comes down to it.  As many of the Metal fans of the time, I to was a little hesitant about Ronnie filling in the shoes of Ozzy Osbourne, but when the power of tunes like “Neon Knights”, “Mob Rules”, “Sign Of The Southern Cross” and so many of the others sunk in, I knew that all fans of the genre were going to benefit from this association.

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Heaven And Hell:  After the release of that “Black Sabbath: The Dio Years” collection, it seemed as though Ronnie and the Black Sabbath guys realized that there was still work to be done and Metal to be released.  They renamed themselves “Heaven And Hell” like the famous album and this was a smart move since it gave them a new life to begin with for the genre.  They would tour extensively with the classics from the earlier three albums and those three new tunes before eventually releasing “The Devil You Know”.  That album’s release found the touring even more rigorous and the legacy along with new generations of fans entertained beyond their wildest imaginations.  Any coverage of the Metal juggernaut known as Heaven And Hell can be found by clicking their logo link.  Since not every tour that we attended found them as headliner, we are also delivering to you a Photo Gallery query HERE so you can enjoy any of the photographs that we snapped of the band in concert.  As you might expect there are a lot of Ronnie images in there and how could we do anything less that present just how vibrant he was on the stage to the world.  I will miss being able to take photos of him in concert very, very much.  One has to wonder if there were any additional songs left over from the sessions for “The Devil You Know” since I am sure that the fans will be eager to have them available now.

It’s truly hard to process the loss of one of the real heroes in the Heavy Metal music scene but perhaps we can find some comfort in the realization that Ronnie loved all of his fans very much and also believed in the genre and was a fierce advocate for it.  He was our Godfather when it came down to it and everyone listened when he spoke to us.  I think one of the most difficult things to grasp is the fact that we shall never see him in concert again nor hear him singing our favorite tunes.  He will live on forever in our music libraries and hearts but that will not stop the pain – at least for awhile.  Ronnie James Dio is survived by his wife and manager Wendy Dio and several hundred thousand Heavy Metal fans around the world.  May you rest in peace Ronnie, you were one of the very best of them all, and your memory shall serve to strengthen us in the days going forward.  Watch out for us all and help us keep the spirit of Metal strong.  You might not be with us anymore but I am kind of convinced that your powers are suddenly all the more potent.

It surely seems appropriate to close out these memorial thoughts with an image that is so greatly associated with the man, the legend, the icon – The Horns.  Raise ’em up Legions.  Let Ronnie see ya.

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Raise Them Proud For Metal and for Ronnie James Dio!

What did Ronnie James Dio and his music and person mean to you as a fan of Metal music?  I would love to hear your words and feelings on the passing of this great man.  Talking about it and reflecting does a lot of good for the healing process they say, and I am in total agreement with this.  Thanks for listening.

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37 thoughts on “Ronnie James Dio; The Godfather Of Heavy Metal; Has Died (5/16/2010)”

  1. Ken, very well done ! A fitting tribute to not just a legend but a class act. He will be missed.

  2. As a long time fan, it truly saddened me to hear the news of Ronnie James Dio’s passing. I never got to see him live but I”ve loved his music since I was 14 years old. You music will live on forever in my heart. You will be greatly missed.. m/

  3. We all knew this was possible but you always try to maintain hope even in the bleakest of times, unfortunately for RJD his time was now. Greatly missed for the amazing live shows, all of his work in Rainbow, Sabbath and Dio!!! Metal pioneer, Genre pioneer, profound songwriter, and all around great musician!! You will be greatly missed but we will always have your music, thanks RJD! I was truly lucky enough to have seen Dio live not once but twice even if it was 20 years apart. Was there at the Garden in ’86 for Sacred Heart and was blown away by the stage production and the talent Ronnie and Dio displayed that night, I was lucky enough to see and hear Dio and Sabbath songs the way they were meant to be LIVE!! That show introduced me to Heaven and Hell songs as well as the always powerful Dio tracks. I was treated a second time in 2008 at Jones Beach for a Heaven and Hell show during the Masters of Metal tour. I must admit that I got tkts because I am a Priest nut but knowing that Ronnie and Sabbath were going to be there just made the evening that much better. As usual a brilliant stage production(lighting, sound and atmosphere) only enhanced already classic and some new HH songs! Hearing the song HH brought me back to one of the best times of my life and seeing Dio again made me realize what a brilliant vocalist he truly was. That’s about all I can say again how lucky I am to have witnessed Metal royalty live in concert and to have those memories forever with me. We must consider Ronnie the premier song writer of his time and at LEAST top 5 Metal vocalist of all time! Even at his age 67 he was STILL displaying a range and power that most people can only dream of achieving in the shortest of time periods! Finally we as fans of music have a vast catalogue from his early rock and roll recordings(late 50’s and early 60’s) through Elf, Rainbow, Sabbath, Dio and HH!! The music stands on it’s own, which in the end is what made Ronnie the legend that he was. R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio!

  4. There’s never enough time. Four decades and the man still had more to say, which makes the loss hurt that much more. Piercing Metal has captured the essence how we have all been touched by the heart and soul of a man so much bigger than his stature. No more words, as they would pale in comparison to those put forth by the man himself. Good-bye.

  5. This is a really nice article on Dio. I totally agree- the man really was a legend, yet just an average joe in so many (amazing) ways. I feel so bad for his wife. 🙁

  6. Great job Ken!!!
    Yesterday was a day of reflection for me.
    Listening to Dio’s music & watching vids on Youtube just brought back a flood of great memories.
    From watching the “Rainbow in the dark” video on U68 to H&H’s performance @ Radio City Music Hall.
    The man made his mark on my life, as well as countless other metalheads.
    For me, Dio was & will always be the voice of metal.
    He & Rob Halford brought “Metal” vocals to a new level in which few have ever attained, before or since.
    RIP Ronnie James Dio m/

  7. He went down without a fight and left us peacefully with his loved ones by his side. Ronnie James Dio couldn’t have gone any better, though it still sucks MASSIVELY to not be able to hear him sing or see him perform ever again. Rest in peace to the TRUE king of Heavy Metal!

  8. As the bassist for Mistreated, a Ritchie Blackmore tribute band, I always found it interesting that we play almost the entire Onstage album. There are so many great songs on that album alone. We also play a few songs from other Rainbow albums, ALL Dio era. They are all long songs, but strangely, when I listen to Onstage, the time flies, and the CD is over all of a sudden.

    I would like to note, I am not pushing anything and the point is that despite being a Blackmore tribute, about half the set is usually Dio era, pointing to the power of the man’s music.

    In addition, I was listening to a tape of Rainbow’s 1st US/NY gig on 11/12/1975. This is only the 2nd EVER Rainbow gig, and it is great!! This was almost 35 years ago, and it feels like yesterday. Make the most of life, and see your favorites while they are here!

    That’s how I feel today. The journey WAS long, but still feels far too short.

    The MAN has left the Silver Mountain.

  9. Excellent tribute to Dio Ken. I don’t have words to describe the lose of Dio. Dio is essentially the reason I got into metal. I remember being 12 not knowing much about metal besides whatever mainstream music told me and hearing Dio and the song was Don’t Talk to Strangers. My life was changed from that point on and the door to the metal world was opened. Dio passion, intensity, and sincerity made the music he wrote and sang that much more powerful. I am completely saddened by the passing of Ronnie James Dio. when I heard he died I was shocked. I had no idea that the cancer was as advanced to kill him so soon. I have first hand experience losing my father to a battle of cancer last year and admit I am a bit jaded in the belief that the form of treatments given killed my father and possibly Dio faster than the actually cancer. It’s a terrible disease and a terrible lose to the music world. I don’t think the metal music world will ever have a voice as powerful and passionate as Dio in my life time. He was and will always be one of the greatest voices in metal music if not all of music. I will truely miss his music. Although I never met Ronnie I can tell he was a great human being with great character and I am sure everyone close to him loved him very much. Thank you for opening my eyes to heavy metal Ronnie James Dio. You will truely be missed.

  10. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been listening to Dio in some context for nearly 30 years. It’s even harder to fathom that in just over one half year, he is now gone. Sometimes life is more tragic than fiction. Based in the outpouring of stories about him personally, including the one so aptly related here by you, it appears we’ve lost more than just a great artist–we’ve lost a great human being as well. That is a combination rare to be found. A voice of my young years, sadly silenced too soon. RIP, RJD.

  11. One of the biggest loss ever, to the metal community. A legend and a gentleman, sadly passes away. You will always be remembered. m/

  12. Couldn’t have written this any better Ken. I’ve been quite choked up about this. What a weird few months, Pete Steele, then our really close friend Lee from a local band The Communion passed away a few days later at the age of 34 due to complications from surgery (bad diabetic), & now this.

    The Pete Steele thing fucked me up. could NOT believe it at all. & naturally, losing a close friend was by no means any easier, but the news of Dio.. I just feel lost.

    You follow these “heroes” of yours their entire career & your entire life almost.. so you feel like you know them. Which makes it harder to grasp. I don’t know.. very dark day. Death surrounds us all, & I try to accept it, as there’s no avoiding it..

    I’m cranking “Stargazer” now…….

  13. The planet cries, for it has lost something irreplaceable. You’ve touched us with music over the past few thousand years, you’ve led our masses. When things were dark, you cast down light on us; and when they were too bright you limited us with the darkness everyone needs. You’ve shown us Heaven and Hell, brought us to The End of the Rainbow. More like a God than a person, you led us in the right direction always; insisting that you were no better than any of us when we all knew you were just being modest. For all good things must come to an end, and this is the end of your road although we all wish it was just beginning. From the Babylonians, to the Egyptians, to us here in present day 2010 your inspirations will live on with us forever. When all else is dark and lost, You were truly are the Rainbow in the Dark. And therefore, out of respect, honor, and admiration I say “Rust In Peace”, Ronnie James Dio

  14. I met him 3x and one could not hope to meet a more kind, sweet and humble gentleman when it comes to meeting an idol.

  15. Ken thanks for writing this story-I always say An interesting reading but it is. I counted the times I saw Ronnie James Dio on stage and came up to number 19; once in Black Sabbath, twice in Heaven & Hell, 15 times solo and once were the Deep Purple members backing him up. Met him a couple of times and he always had something positive to say to people around him. Ronnie R.I.P

  16. I was very sad to hear of the passing of Ronnie James Dio, the world lost one of the Best singers and writers ever. I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about Ronnie, that’s very rare in this business, he was the kind of guy that would make you feel welcome every time you saw him, he was a gentleman, and he will be missed but never forgotten. God Bless. Bobby Rondinelli.

  17. Nice Tribute Ken!

    Ronnie James Dio has been an icon to the Hard Rock/Metal world for decades. The 1st time that I heard his ungodly voice had to have been either Sabbath’s Heaven & Hell or Mob Rules and as soon as I had I knew this was THE voice of Metal. Piercing, evil & powerful, this is what the trademarks would be. As I got familiar with the Dio era Sabbath (my personal favorite version of Black Sabbath) I went backwards and discovered the Rainbow stuff. And god damn if Rainbow Rising did not destroy me! The first time hearing Stargazer was of epic proportions and it’s still the same today! And remember, this was made in 1976!! God rest Cozy Powell as well!!!!

    The solo Dio stuff was especially important to me. 1983 unleashed another epic statement in Metal and also introduced Vivian Campbell to the guitar world. Viv would prove to be monumentally important to the world of the 15 year old kid that would discover, Holy Diver. And even though RJD and Campbell would part ways infamously badly, leave it to Ronnie to discover and play with another great player in Viv.

    I was fortunate enough to have met RJD on 3 occasions and he was very gentle and nice in each meeting. On my last meeting I told him thank you for Rainbow Rising to which he asked, “why did I like that record so much?” I was actually dumbfounded that he asked me this! And I had waited all my life for a hero to ask me something like that and he stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t answer him at first, even though I had a ton of answers, but finally shouted out, “STARGAZER!!” And because of his vocals & Cozy! He smiled and told me that people always said that Rising was there favorite but that he like the first Rainbow record the best.

    Mr. Dio was a caring man and I SO much appreciated that he actually cared why I liked the Rising album so much. I can still remember me telling my Mom about the meeting. RJD will never be forgotten, there are just too many great songs and records and video’s to celebrate his legacy. I for one have always called the so called “devil horns”, the “DIO Horns”. He’s the first person that we all got it from and even though I hope that is NOT the only think he’s remembered for, it is still pure Metal!

    God Bless, Ronnie James Dio! And I hope that he and Cozy Powell are bashing out “Stargazer” as I write this! He IS missed!

  18. Great recap of the life of a true legend and a true gentleman. He will be missed, but we need to carry on his spirit in our hearts and our deeds.

  19. When I was a youngster, my older sister was who I turned to for music. Whatever she listened to was what I listened to. In my pre-teens she had me listening to Michael Jackson, Prince, Cindy Lauper, Madonna, etc. When I was about 14, my sister started getting into heavier rock music, and so she made me a compilation tape with some of her new favorite bands. Led Zeppelin, Ratt, Y&T, and Ozzy were some of the bands on that tape, but most importantly to me, was Dio. Rainbow in the Dark was the song she put on there for me, and I was instantly hooked. I’ve been a loyal metal head ever since that time, and Dio was one of the first hard rock bands that I ever listened to. He was a HUGE inspiration to me during my career as a musician and will always be one of my top favorite musicians of all times.

    On August 30th, 2008, I attended the “Metal Masters” show at Glen Helen Pavilion in San Bernardino, CA. A friend of mine was the tour manager for that tour, and so she got me tickets and backstage passes to the show. I met so many of my favorite musicians that day, but wasn’t able to find Ronnie while I was backstage. At the end of the show, I was leaving the venue through the back where all the tour busses were. As I was just about to leave the gates, I saw Ronnie and a roadie coming out of the back of the venue, heading towards his tour bus. I approached him to express my gratitude for all the music over the years, and extended my hand in an offer to shake his. He looked up at me (I’m 6?5?, and he’s about 5?1) and he pushed my hand away and gave me a big hug. I was so surprised and baffled by this, and I was unbelievably overwhelmed by how sweet and kind he was towards a total stranger who was simply expressing his appreciation of this man’s music.

    I’ve met a lot of my favorite musicians over the years, but none of those meetings will ever compare to how amazing it was to speak with Ronnie James Dio for just a few moments at the end of an evening. I will never forget that moment, and I will never forget Ronnie for all he has given me over the years.

    You will be missed, brother. Rest easy.

  20. Ronnie was a cut above the rest. He was not only a phenomenal vocalist, but he had class and star quality as a human being. He will always be respected and loved by those of us touched by his music and soul.

  21. Dio Biographer Martin Popoff Expresses His Condolences:

    Martin Popoff, author of biographies on RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH and DIO had this to say on the passing of immense metal legend Ronnie James Dio.

    Heavy Metal has just lost its King, Ronnie James Dio. Sure, there will be more famous figures in hard rock that will pass, and the mainstream media will write about it and get it slightly wrong. But Metalheads pride themselves on sussing out who is authentic, hard-working, pure of heart, creative and just the best to hang out with in any headbanging situation. And that was Ronnie. Despite his unparalleled legacy, he was one of us, a headbanger.

    One quick find memory of many. I remember being backstage with Metal Tim Henderson quite a time ago, one of the first times I met Ronnie, and through he comes, there he is right in front of us. A quick few words later, he’s off, and Tim and I just look at each other stunned and say, OK, did Ronnie James Dio just ask us if we had every thing we needed, and could he go get us a beer?? It’s a little thing, but that was Ronnie. Time and time again after that, he made you feel like we were all in this together, the subconscious undercurrent being that we were all warriors defending a maligned music and given that we were all part of this embattled army, we had to treat each other with respect.

    But as Henry Rollins would say, it’s the work. Once Ronnie had worked his way through 45s in the late 50s and the Electric Elves and Elf, well, he bound onto the Metal scene and never stopped impressing a demanding Heavy Metal audience, yes, with his down-to-earth, upstate New York kindness but also with his regal voice, authoritative song craft and lyrics of comfort for the misfit and downtrodden.

    Indeed, in terms of material, rock-solid legacy, when all is said and done, I think most studiers of the form would agree that Ronnie was instrumental, alive and in command through no less than six of the most classic and timeless Heavy Metal albums of all time, namely “Rising”, “Long Live Rock n Roll”, “Heaven And Hell”, “Mob Rules”, “Holy Diver” and “The Last In Line”. And happy, hard-working, taking-nothing-for-granted Italian that he was, in between all that, Ronnie built a fortress of a catalog that proved time and time again that he was Heavy Metal tried and true, earnest in forging quality Metal with messages of sympathy and empathy being the life-rich bonus between the grooves.

    I have to chuckle about how being heavy was rarely something he felt he had to, ahem, trumpet. If you brought it up, he’d toss off with a laugh, something about not wanting to make wimpy music. But the thing with Ronnie, action spoke louder than his always gracious words he just kept building a bricks and mortar bunker of weighty, anchored Metal, and kept doing it until he was stricken. Teenager through to 67, the work ethic and more spectacularly, that roaring golden voice, never wavered.

    Like I say, there will be more famous hard rockers taken from us, but no more famous a Metalhead. Ronnie’s loss, in our, in his community, is as big and as crushing as it gets, and this huge void is felt both because of the man’s accomplishments and because of his unanimously beloved stature in the eyes of the entire Metal community.

  22. I met Ronnie 30 years ago, three lifetimes ago really. He was always the most positive person I’ve ever known. Though we didn’t see each other often with our separate careers, when we did, it was as if no time had passed. He made everyone feel important and it was real, he was real. When we would see each other he would ask me when I was going to give him some of my sun dried tomatoes to make gravy (for those who don’t know, “gravy” is tomato sauce for pasta) and we would laugh. For our generation, there is no singer who so well represented greatness in each and every way, in each and every note he sang. I can’t believe this wonderful person is now silent. God bless you Ronnie, you served us well as a true example of all good things. You my friend are a giant. My love and condolences to Wendy Dio, Ronnie’s family, band members and friends, and especially to Rudy Sarzo in this time of sadness and reflection.

  23. I learned from RJD when I first heard Rainbow. Since then I wanted to get all the records where he performed. Rainbow managed to get one of the very best guitar players with the voices of heavy metal. Amongst the others DIO was the most magestic.

    I saw DIO live in 1998. I still remember the song Dont talk to Strangers specially… amongst many other classics.
    He will live forever in our music.
    God bless him.

  24. All day long I’ve struggled to keep a dry eye and have felt numb over the news that my favorite vocalist passed away yesterday, it seems like a scarier world all of the sudden. In this world dominated by disposable American Idol singers, undeserved rock star attitudes from less than average musicians, Ronnie James Dio stood millions of miles above all mortal men and average dragon slayers. Without even mentioning how amazingly powerful his voice was; Ronnie touched the hearts of millions of fans with his kindness alone. He always made time to meet, sign autographs and talk to those who loved him and his music. He selflessly spearheaded several charity projects such as “Hear N’ Aid”, as well as “Children of the Night” raising money and awareness to those in need without ever looking for the spotlight or any recognition.

    I can’t remember the last time the passing of a musician has affected me so deeply, but saying Ronnie was just a musician is almost insulting to his incredible character. Anyone who’s ever been interested in music has a little something that we owe to Dio. I honestly mention his name at least 5 times every day (as anyone who knows me can attest to) since I remembered discovering him, he is the yardstick by which all things rock are measured in my eyes. He has been into music so much longer than most people even realize. From his early days in Ronnie and the Red Caps in 1959 (yes that’s right, 1959) up until his most recent run with Heaven and Hell he has given 150% every time he is in front of a microphone. He was older than members of The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles and right up until the end never once turned his back on the genre of music he loved, shaped and defined, Heavy Metal. Ronnie has beaten all trends, fronted super groups, and at the end of the day never developed an “I’m better than everyone” arrogance that so many weaker artists do. We all can learn so much from the generosity, kindness, and true passion Ronnie has displayed to the world of music in his 67 years.

    I only hope to see a massive tribute concert like they put on for Freddie Mercury when he passed on, call it DIOfest or whatever but as long as a kid raises his hands to a kick ass song and forms “the Horns” Ronnie’s legacy will outlive us all. He has been honored with a street named “DIO WAY” but somehow not even naming a country after him seems like it would be enough. The pain and loss that us music fans are feeling is nothing compared to what Wendy Dio is feeling at this moment, she lost something much more than we will ever know and many prayers to her and her family in this terrible time. The tears cried for DIO from the fans globally could fill an ocean I am sure. I think it is safe to say Randy Rhoads, Dimebag Darrell, Razzle, and Cliff Burton found themselves the perfect singer on the other side.

    Holy Diver you’ve left a hole in the heart of music that may never be filled, thanks for the multiple decades of incredibly inspirational music, you will never be forgotten, EVER!
    Jay Luke
    of The MESS

  25. Thanks for the tribute to Metal’s truest gentleman.
    It’s also nice to hear anecdotes from friends and fans alike.
    I’ve had the good fortune to chat with Ronnie and Wendy on a couple of occasions, and you really sense his interest in people. He wasn’t doing a job. He was being Ronnie. A warm smile, true conversation – and total sincerity.

    On stage though ~ a giant!

  26. I’ll never forget the first time I heard Ronnie’s voice, which was on Black Sabbath’s “Heaven & Hell” album. I was immediately captivated and blown away by his conviction, power, and talent. Through out the years, his voice & songs were there for me when people weren’t, and through his music I was able to escape to a place where I can slay dragons, catch rainbows, climb silver mountains, and reach for the stars. Thank you Ronnie.

  27. Although Ronnie James Dio is not here is the physical realm, his spirit lives in our hearts. As one of the most influential voices in metal, he continued to share his great talents with the world, right up until his untimely death. My thoughts go out to his Wife, family, and friends as they mourn the loss of this great man. His music will forever be with us, he is still alive. m/

  28. Well done as always Ken. I still can’t believe he’s gone, RJD just always seemed like he would keep going, keep touring forever at his age. Nothing could slow him down.

    Being of the younger generation, my influences of Dio were always “the better singer from Sabbath” before I was later introduced to his solo and Rainbow career, which both are incredible as well. In my opinion one of the best, and most memorable voices in metal. The world has lost a true king but he will never be forgotten. His music will live on to influence countless people and he will be celebrated as one of the best ever.

  29. As I’ve said several times since hearing the news, losing Dio is like losing a musical and creative father. He was there from the beginning to help shape and create the sound and essence of what heavy metal is, and as it seemed, he was always going to be there. The man never slowed down, and fittingly so, performed right up to the end, never losing luster, his voice soaring as strong as ever, and his final creative output with (ahem) Black Sabbath , “The Devil You Know” is a testament to why it seemed Dio was eternal; because his voice and creativity certainly were.

    I encourage everyone who reads this, if you haven’t already, to listen to Stargazer by Rainbow. Perhaps no finer example of Dio’s vocal prowess exists. As the song climaxes, I get chills listening to Dio’s overpoweringly emotional delivery of the slave who realizes, though his current pains of his oppressor may still linger, he is finally free. Through the anguish of “bleeding eyes” and a “weeping heart,” Dio proclaims to all of us “He gave me back my will, oh I’m going home…” and we feel every ounce of release.

    Yesterday was a hard day for myself and many, many others. As I sit here writing this and listening to Black Sabbath’s “Dehumanizer,” I still feel a heavy weight and sadness in my heart, and I know that its one that is going to linger for a very long time. My thoughts stay with his wife, Wendy, and all of his family and friends who are hurting more than anyone through this terrible loss.

    RIP Ronnie James Dio

  30. Man! I saw Sabbath at 9 yrs old as a birthday present from my sister. Heaven and Hell tour in 1980! I think it was then that I decided that I had to do that! I had to be onstage! Ronnie changed my life forever, and his music legacy and vocal style will live on forever! RIP Ronnie!!!! We love you!

  31. Well done Ken. RJD was a giant in metal. Always enjoyed his interviews especially Metal: A Headbangers Journey.

  32. Can’t believe it has been seven years since he has left us.

    Today, I will be listening to some of my favorites from Elf, Rainbow, Sabbath, and Dio.


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