You probably heard the rumors first. Word quickly circulated that Ronnie James Dio was battling for life over the weekend, as stomach cancer had him bed-ridden. Unfortunately, the rumors of the 67-year-old legend's death turned out to be true on Sunday. And the world of metal wept.
Ronnie James Dio's voice has been with me for a long time. Some of my fondest memories of childhood involve Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and indeed the songs of Dio's solo career. My father was in love with "Man on a Silver Mountain." Every time my family ventured on long trips, I would hear Dio belting those lyrics so loud that the car speakers buzzed with tension. One of my older brother's first CD's was the Black Sabbath album "Heaven and Hell." Laying on the carpet in his room, with the album art sitting in front of me, I recall myself trying to understand the image of angels smoking cigarettes--their halos licked by snake-like smoke. Several years later, I would have the chance to see Dio and crew rocking these songs live. In fact, I got to see them twice. For my second concert experience, you can click here to read the write-up I did last August.
Looking back on the post I wrote after seeing them live, it made me a little sad, especially this part: "Well, if these guys are still around and if I finally get a chance to make this rock opera, vampire slaying epic, it will be awesome I promise." You see, I've always wanted to make a rock opera with Dio as the lead vampire slayer...However, I also feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to see Dio perform not once but twice.
I'm sure that Ronnie knows he will be missed by his fans around the world. He has always been an utmost gentleman on and off the stage--someone who genuinely appreciates his fans and someone who has always maintained class in an industry that has very little of it. His legacy as one of the greatest artists of metal will surely be passed on from generation to generation.