Ronald James Padanova..better known as Ronnie James Dio. He passed away this past Sunday from stomach cancer. This one hit me hard (as hard as a death can of someone you don’t know personally). You see, Dio, musically changed my life. Up until my early 20s I was basically a British Invasion/60s rock guy. That was basically ALL I listened to. I was introduced to Black Sabbath by having to learn a few songs in a battle of the bands I was in just out of high school. I purchased Black Sabbath’s Greatest Hits and kept in on my record shelf, every now and then putting it on to “slum it”, or as I thought. I was young…
It was 1986. I was at THE local record store in my part of town, Rolling Stone. This was the ONLY place to buy records, they had everything…also hot chicks at the register..but I digress. I was there most likely looking to buy some old Yardbirds album or something, when my friend Nick (future WGN radio personality Nick Digilo..HA! Revealed!), who was somewhat of a metal head at the time, brought me over to the side wall, pulled out Heaven and Hell, said “buy this”, then pulled out The Last in Line, and demanded that I buy that as well. Yeah, those were old albums at the time, but I was slow…
That was it. It was over. After side one of Heaven and Hell, I was officially a metal head. All other bands followed, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, etc. I’ll never forget those first jammin’ chords of “Neon Knights”. The power of ROCK coursed through my body! Dio’s powerful, operatic voice inspired me to knock over tables, put one foot up on a chair and scream to Valhalla!!!!!!
You must understand…this completely changed how I listened to music forever! I was not a concert goer, but I saw Dio 8 times, 2 with Black Sabbath and 6 with his solo group. He, to me is simply the greatest voice in Classic Metal.
There are 3 albums with his first band Elf. If you know Dio, it’s kind of weird, because it’s basically Boogie-Woogie rock, or Dio..in New Orleans. It’s not bad, but different.
Then we get to Rainbow….classic. There’s a lot to cover, so I’ll just give the OKen’s Ultimate Rating and recommendations:
1. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow- 9/10..buy it
2. Rising- 9/10 buy it.
3. Long Live Rock and Roll- the best of the lot! 15/10 RUN OUT AND BUY THIS NOW!
Now we move on to Sabbath/Heaven and Hell
1. Heaven and Hell- 40000/10 CALL IN SICK TO WORK TO STAY HOME AND DOWNLOAD, OR GO BUY NOW
2. The Mob Rules- 10/10 buy it.
3. Dehumanizer- 7/10 not bad, but not essential if you are the casual fan.
4. The Devil You Know (as Heaven and Hell) – 7/10 if you like extra dirge, this is for you.
Now onto the solo lps
1. Holy Diver- 10/10 If you don’t have this in your collection…you will cry every night.
2. The Last In Line- 10/10..every song is a classic! Buy it!
3. Sacred Heart- 8/10..still..buy it.
4. Dream Evil- 10/10 my personal favorite. Buy it and do not go to sleep until you listen to it.
5. Lock of the Wolves-6.5/10 Great title…a chink in the armor.
6. Strange Highways- 7.5/10 Nice comeback. Buy it.
7. Angry Machines- 6/10 This was a stealth release…nobody knew it came out.
8. Magica-8.5/10 A concept album…buy it..it’s fun.
9. Killing the Dragon- 9/10 Back to the basics! Go get it!
10. Master of the Moon- 7/10 Solid effort on what would be his final solo lp.
He never lost it…ever…his voice always carried through…He was a true icon…thanks Ronnie…may you Rock the Heavens…