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Remembering Ronnie James Dio

Tuesday, May 18: 5:02 p.m.
Posted by Jason Hanley
Heaven and Hell pose with Rock Hall staff Kathryn Metz, Jason Hanley and Reena Samaan on Aug 22 2009

My heavy metal heart is hurting – Ronnie James Dio is gone.  When Dio died of stomach cancer on Sunday May 16th the rock world lost one of its greatest voices.  Passionate heavy metal fans love to argue about their favorite bands, but no one disagrees about Ronnie James Dio.  You could claim that you liked one singer more than another, or that Maiden was better than Priest, but if you brought up Dio people would always say, “No fair, no one compares to Dio!”  It’s the reason why Jack Black and Kyle Gass made Dio the ultimate rock icon for Tenacious D and even featured him as the voice of rock in The Pick of Destiny.  (If you have not seen Dio play himself in the film’s song “Kickapoo” go find it now!)

Dio’s voice had ultimate power and ultimate control.  It was often called operatic in much the same way that people think of Roy Orbison’s voice.  While Dio’s voice came to represent heavy metal, he reached early success as a hard rock singer in the band Elf.  Listen to his vocal and emotional range on “Never More” from Elf’s self titled debut ...

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