Although I'm just a humble fan, I feel my relationship with Ronnie James Dio is a special one. I remember the first time Geir and I heard Dio, it must have been around 1990. The video for All The Fools Sailed Away was part of a heavy metal video compilation. We absolutely loved his music and his voice, but because we were rather superficial at the time, and Dio didn't have the typical rock star look, we didn't become instant fans. It wasn't until a couple of years later, when our friend Asle Rasmus Seljseth showed us a song called "Stars", that we really became aware of the coolness of Dio. It was the most awesome voice we had ever heard, and here he was singing with Geoff Tate of Queensryche, the Maiden guitarists and a lot of other cool people. We knew then that this was a very special guy.
But it took another couple of years before I became a real fan. I remember we were on vacation in Germany, and I found Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell album. It was really cheap, and didn't find anything else to buy, so I thought I'd give it a listen. I was *very* sceptical to Black Sabbath. From the little I had heard, I thought it was slow, dark, boring and old fashioned doom music, and didn't like it at all. But I put it on, and like punch in the face, on came Neon Knights. It was one of the best and most ass-kicking songs I had ever heard, and on top of this song was the crystal clear pipes of Ronnie James Dio. I was like "Why the hell didn't I listen to this sooner?"
After that I bought Mob Rules, Holy Diver, Long Live Rock And Roll and everything else. It was like I had found a pot of gold. It was all so great and sooo cool!
I became a fan of hard rock and heavy metal, as grunge music took over the world and real rock music and talents like Ronnie James Dio was considerer to be "jokes". I didn't care about trends or hit-lists, so I just listened to what I liked. I was nostalgic about the 80's already in 1992, because that's when I realized what I had been missing out on, and where rock music was heading. Dio, among a few others, was a huge inspiration during this period. He never, ever cut his hair and turned his back on metal music. His music in the 90's became a little too heavy for my taste, but it was still metal. And I really respected him for that.
It was *very* difficult to be a true metal head in the 90's, because all of a sudden you were the only one with long hair and a leather jacket. It was a lonely and tough period for true rockers, but luckily there were artists and idols like Ronnie James Dio around to keep your spirit up and show that metal never died.
Ronnie James Dio has, without doubt, been one of the biggest influences on my singing, song-writing and image. He showed that you could combine amazing operatic singing, melodic vocal lines, profound and abstract lyrics and great harmonies with cartoon-like evilness and dark and mysterious metal riffs. He also showed all rockers that looks and image isn't everything, as long as you've got great talent. And he also showed us that even though you're the singer of one of the biggest bands in the world, it's still possible to act like a gentleman and a nice guy.
It's been two days since he died, and I find it too painful to listen to his music yet. But I know that Dio's music is something I will listen to for the rest of my life, and he will always be one of my favorite artists ever. Dio went out on a high note, with the best album he's released in 20 years (The Devil You Know), one of their most successfull tours and leaving millions of fans wanting more. It's great to see other great artists pay tribute to him, and it really shows what a big loss he is to the music world. It's also great to see how united rock fans and artists really are.
Rest in peace, Ronnie! Thanks for all the great inspiration and the amazing music!
My name's Marita. I'm a musician and songwriter from Norway. I'm interested in music, books, movies, clothes and more.
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