Monday, May 17, 2010

Ronnie James Dio

I was saddened to read yesterday of the death of Ronnie James Dio, after losing his battle with Cancer.

He was a little man – with a big enough sense of humour to call an early band, Elf – with a big and powerful voice.

I remember seeing Dio on The Last in Line tour back in 1984. Glasgow Apollo it was – 23rd September. If I remember correctly it also featured Queensryche – with high pitched singer Geoff Tate decked out in white leather – as support, plugging their debut album (they were awful and Geoff picked up the Geoff TiT nick-name among my friends that I still find hard to not revert to – They did eventually make the album Operation Mindcrime, which is really rather good). I remember it being a good gig – probably improved no end in fact by us having to stand through Mr Tate and Co beforehand. The little guy could certainly sing.

Rainbow was where he really cut his mustard. He managed to put up with Richie Blackmore for 5 years – no mean feat as anyone who worked with Dame Richie will attest – making 3 very good studio albums (and one patchy Live album). Songs such as Man on the Silver Mountain, “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, Lady of the Lake, L.A. Connection, and Gates of Babylon, were all gems. He then moved to another bunch of Brits, replacing Ozzy in Black Sabbath. Now whilst your Sabbath purist will argue that they’re only really Sabbath with Ozzy, the two studio records Dio made with Sabbath - Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules – were both pretty good. With songs like Turn Up the Night, The Sign of the Southern Cross, Neon Nights, and Heaven and Hell, how could they not be?

Eventually he formed his own band and Holy Diver and The Last in Line – the first two albums, both contained enough fun to make them worthwhile – even essential for the teenage me, but after that things became a bit blander.

I'll remember the good times, Ronnie. RIP.