What can you say about Ronnie James Dio?
After the news broke of his death yesterday, I honestly felt a little numb. I clicked around on many websites, reading comment after comment by upset fans. Most were all two sentences of less, thanking Dio for the lifetime of music. Beyond that, everyone seemed shocked.
I was (am) shocked myself. I knew full well Dio was fighting stomach cancer. I kept up on the news and knew that he was through multiple rounds of chemotherapy. For whatever reason, I believed the PR hype that Dio was getting better, continuing to fight and would one day return to the road. I guess I believed the spin because I wanted it to be true. I never got to see Dio live. I kept thinking "Next time."
Now there is no next time.
It's true: cancer is a bitch. That's a crass statement, but it's to the point. The disease strikes the rich and poor alike and yes, not everyone dies from the disease. When celebrities die of cancer, a spotlight is once again shined on the disease -- maybe some researcher, somewhere will somehow find a cure. Until then we wait.
Dio's music will live on forever and generations from now will be able to hear his powerful voice. In fact, I'd argue Dio had the single best voice in metal. However it happened, Dio was able to keep his voice in top form until the end, hitting soaring notes with ease and generally singing every other vocalist under the table. Of course, he was too polite to say anything bad about those lesser vocalists.
I first became a Dio fan after watching the documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey. I was absolutely enthralled with the Dio part and his fancy house, his explanation of "creating" the devil horns and his cat.
If you're paying attention, you know by now I came to Dio late. After all, Dio wasn't Glam - he was all metal, all the time. This isn't to say I didn't know of him and didn't watch his various videos back in the day. I certainly enjoyed his music and never flipped from MTV when "Rainbow in the Dark" came up in the rotation. Still, I needed that special connection I felt after the documentary to really get into Dio's music.
So, here we are. I feel sad and empty and there isn't a damn thing anyone can do about it. It's just another reminder that our favorite musicians are getting older and we need to remember to catch them live whenever we have the chance.
Some of my favorite Dio songs: