It has been one year since one of the great recent tragedies to befall the world of Rock and Metal, and music in general. One year since the great Ronnie James Dio passed away. One of the greatest singers in our genre, one of the greatest contributors to our music and our culture PERIOD. A year on and the feeling of loss for Metal music has not faded.
I wanted to write up a memorial piece for Dio, his status as one of the true greats fully deserves one. Of course I am not claiming to be one of the only ones to do so as there are other great memorials from much better writers, and fans are showing their love for Dio whenever they put on his music and show that our thoughts are with him. Also I cannot give the perfect memorial as I have never met the man, nor have I managed to see him live, whether fronting his own solo work or Heaven and Hell (I nearly got the chance to see him live on his last announced greatest hits solo tour, but fate would change this). I can however give a tribute from the music he has created, music that is mostly timeless and perfect. This is a tribute to the great Ronnie James Dio from a fan.
I wouldn't even dare claim that his loss last year was as major for me as it was for others. Someone who has not him even once, let alone has had him as a part of his life cannot do so, especially when he has left loved ones such as his wife Wendy (who of course thoughts are with on what must be a tough day for her), family, band mates, peers, even journalists and further; who pretty much always speak about as one of the nicest, respectful and genuine people you could ever meet. Ronnie James Dio has affected my life in another way however, as he would have done to all his fans even if they, like me, had not met him, and that is through his music.
I still remember first hearing his incredible voice, on the truly timeless Rainbow In The Dark. Interestingly this for a long was my favourite Dio song, but is also a song that when first recorded Ronnie himself was supposed to have hated and nearly destroyed the tapes of until convinced otherwise. Now it is one of his most well known and beloved songs.
This of course is just ONE of his truly great songs. The amount of truly great pieces of music that Dio has made in fact is simply staggering. Famous for singing on 3 definite classic albums (and with three different bands) in Rainbow's Rising, Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell, and his own Dio's Holy Diver, these three albums are all different, yet are all true classics and all showcase his truly phenomenal voice. In addition you cannot forget the likes of The Mob Rules (Black Sabbath), The Last In Line (Dio) and 2009's The Devil You Know (Heaven and Hell). Not to mention that he is responsible for that universal symbol of metalheads across the globe, the Devil Horns hand gesture.
Ronnie's death last year was a great loss for several reasons. Obviously the voice behind these classics was gone, but also the fact that The Devil You Know proved that Ronnie James Dio's voice was still as magnificent as ever, and with Heaven and Hell for sure there was the possibility that even more great music could happen. He was taken away long before he was finished.
My thoughts today are with those who are still mourning his loss. We are lucky that he has left a truly great legacy of classic albums, the Stand Up and Shout charity, and for those who knew him, have experienced him live, or even just enjoyed his music with great memories. All we can do now, is to play his music loud for years to come (which it will be, people will be discovering Dio's music in years and years to come), raise the horns again and again, and remember the great one. Ronnie James Dio, gone but sure as hell not forgotten, Rest In Peace.