Ronnie James Dio ( July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010 )
Never thought I will be writing this so soon, here it goes. Ronnie James Dio was an American heavy metal vocalist, songwriter and an inspiration of vast amounts to all musicians around the world. He performed with Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, and his own band Dio. His most famous work is known on his first Black Sabbath album called Heaven and Hell as he replaced Ozzy Osbourne. This was the album that captured my attention at 11 years old and has been one of my favorites ever since. To many, Dio was known as one of heavy metal’s most powerful singers, renowned for his consistently powerful voice and for popularizing the “devil’s horns” hand gesture in metal culture.
I was fortunate to see him in concert twice, it was something magical. The last concert I have seen him in was about two years ago in Radio City New York where he and members of Black Sabbath got together to re-tour the 1981 Heaven and Hell album. This was the last time I would see him live and in many ways I am very thankful for that, simply because it was one of the best concerts I have ever been on. When the song Heaven and Hell came on, I did something unthinkable and very un-metal but very genuine – I shed a tear :-) There is a connection I have with that song and the album in general which is hard to put into words. I can’t say I had an extremely tough childhood, but when it did get tough, that old dusty Heaven and Hell album always got me through – that is the magic of music and that was the magic in his voice.
On 25 November 2009, his wife/manager announced that Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer. On the morning of May 16, 2010, he died after a six-month battle. He was 67 years old.
His music will always be in many of our hearts, especially mine. I will miss him dearly. I hope he’s still gigging when I cross the other side!