Remembering Ronnie James Dio and “Holy Diver”

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There are a couple albums out there that have had an incredible impact on how I live my life.  “Astro Lounge” by Smash Mouth, “Inhuman Rampage” by Dragonforce, and “Kamikaze” by Los Rabanes, are all close to the top, but nothing compares to Dio’s debut album of utter magnificence, “Holy Diver.”

Before “Holy Diver,” there wasn’t a single album I would listen to all the way through, but that all changed.  Recently, I’ve been playing “Holy Diver” on infinite repeat on my boombox, and it occurred to me that I ought to pay tribute to the man behind it all, Ronnie James Dio.  And yes, I did just say boombox.  CDs sound better than mp3s.  Leave me alone.

Former lead singer of Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Elf, Heaven & Hell, and of course, Dio, Ronnie James Dio had the most powerful ballad-belting voice in the history of anything, ever.  He also wrote his own lyrics, which is pretty impressive considering the vast amount of singers that don’t.

Dio released “Holy Diver” in 1983.  I was not alive then, but if I had been, I’m sure I would have been playing the vinyl nonstop on my gramophone or whatever it is that old people listened to back in the day.  You see, “Holy Diver” is perfect.  Not Kanye’s-latest-comeback perfect, but more like this-will-blow-your-mind-and-melt-your-face perfect.  Nine tracks of metallic majesty later, Dio had officially become my favorite pre-90’s rock band, with Ronnie James Dio firmly cemented as my favorite singer of all time.

Unfortunately for the world as a whole, Ronnie James Dio died May 16, 2010. The fact that Ronnie James Dio’s passing went so under-noticed is upsetting to fans like me; fans who valued his music and plan on keeping his legacy alive by teaching others of the greatness that was Dio.

These days, Dio’s legacy lives on in many different places. The television show “South Park,” the modern metal band Killswitch Engage, and the movie “Tenacious D: the Pick of Destiny,” are just a few of the places you could find Dio’s music and visage (he played himself in “Pick of Destiny”).

Just because you may have never heard of Dio, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out.  Go.  Go out and find the truth.  The truth, of course, is head-banging goodness.  If you don’t love “Holy Diver,” you may not have ears.


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