16 May 2010

R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio

Like many dudes my age, I grew up with a deep and abiding love for Black Sabbath. They were certainly my introduction to Heavy Metal, and their greatest hits album, We Sold Our Soul For Rock'n'Roll, was probably one of the first half-dozen records I ever bought with my own money, which wasn't from a job (I was too young), but rather from the $2/week allowance I got for taking the garbage out, washing dishes, and keeping my bedroom clean. Adjusting for inflation, it took me about 3 weeks to save enough money to buy that 2-record greatest hits set, and a pack of football cards, at Ben Franklin. (The store, not the long-dead statesmen.) Anyways, I must have been about ten years old at the time, and I seem to recall my mom not being too happy that I liked Sabbath, but still allowing me to listen to 'em. She was cool like that.

But you know what? For all my love for the original Sabbath, with Ozzy on vocals, I have to admit that my favorite album of theirs, to this day, is Heaven And Hell, with Ronnie James Dio on vocals. Simply put, it's one of the greatest Heavy Metal albums ever made, and as iconic and awesome as Ozzy was/is, Ronnie James Dio was always the better singer, and I think most fucking metal fans would agree with me on that count.

I had the great fortune to see Black Sabbath with Dio on vocals, and the even greater fortune of seeing Dio live on the Holy Diver tour. They played the Eagles Club in Milwaukee, a place that held maybe 1000 people, and at this general admission show, my friends and I were lucky enough to get right up to the front of the stage, a mere 10 feet away from the band. After hundreds, if not thousands of shows I've seen over the years, it remains one of the greatest shows I've ever seen.

I'd also note that to the best of my recollection, Ronnie James Dio was the first person I ever saw "throw the horns".

Rest in peace, Ronnie James, you were fucking awesome.

Hotcha! Hank

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