Written and posted on Facebook in 2010 after Ronnie’s death. Reposted here for the first time unaltered. Rest in peace Ronnie.
My exposure to Dio was initially due to MuchMusic. They played the video for “Holy Diver”, and I was quite frankly into ANY metal video where the band and/or singer had a sword and was on some kind of mission. (See: “Queen of the Reich” by Queensryche and “Can U Deliver” by Armored Saint for two more videos of this genre from the exact same time period).
However that song was undeniable. I remember having it my head for an entire day in 8th grade. It was the only thing that made some days tolerable. As much as I hated my grade 8 teacher and classes, it was always OK because I constantly has this kick-ass song playing on repeat in my head.
I sit here listening to the live version of “I” from The Devil You Know album. Dio did it again, this time with Black Sabbath. Yet another one of those songs. You only have to play it once, its impact was immediate, and suddenly you could have it playing non-stop in your head while bored to tears in class.
There was no other like Dio. When it came down it, his lyrics were pretty simple thematically. I mean, killing dragons, stopping robots from taking over the earth, fools sailing away…but underneath it all, they had this hidden theme: Don’t take bullshit. In a way that’s all Dio’s songs were ever about, from “The Last In Line” to “I” to “Stargazer”. None of these songs had any characters who ever took any bullshit.
Dio was like that. He was no-bullshit. Dio wore his wizard’s sleeves. Dio had a freakin’ dragon on his album cover in the year 2002! Who else did that? Not many and certainly nobody who got front racked a the local record stores like Dio did. But Dio didn’t care. Dio had his own sound, and he brought that sound to both Rainbow and Black Sabbath. There is a common denominator in the sounds of those albums and it is intrinsically Dio.
And who else can claim such a hardcore resume? Elf, Rainbow, Black frickin’ Sabbath, and Dio itself! Not to mention some of the totally unsung stuff he’s done, not least of which was Hear N’ Aid. Google the video, you’ll understand completely. Nobody else can claim that they’ve done what Dio’s done.
But more than that, Dio has been there with us. Dio’s been at wedddings, funerals, on roadtrips, in basements and bedrooms all over the world. Wherever you were rocking out to “Holy Diver” or “Rock and Roll Children” or “Neon Knights”, if you’re a Dio fan then you know what I’m talking about. If there was one constant in rock, it’s been Ronnie James Dio. You knew he’d never sell out and he never did. He wore his metal on his (wizard’s) sleeves and he made it OK for you to do the same. If you felt like crap because you were the only kid in school with a Black Sabbath T-shirt, Dio’s lyrics and message always said “It’s OK, because you’re onto something that they can’t see.”
Man, I’m gonna miss Dio. Like most of you, I have every album, every Sabbath album, every Rainbow album…I’ve known “Die Young” for 25 years. Now there will be no more. I don’t know if metal has ever suffered a loss like this before. This is certainly one of the biggest losses the genre has ever experienced, and I am including Hendrix in that body count. After all, Hendrix was a spark, here and gone before anybody got to know the man. Dio though…we’ve been following Ronnie James Dio’s career and music for most of our lives. But no more. Now we go on without Dio, yet no matter what…”WE ROCK”.
R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio