Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Dio Appreciation Day


From 1984, here is Dio with "Mystery" from the band's album "The Last In Line."

I'm a fan of Ronnie James Dio. There's no question that he possesses one of the greatest singing voices of all time, beginning with his early rockabilly and doo wop sides with Ronnie & The Red Caps, to the underappreciated recordings with Elf, a band whose record covers belie the music found inside, through his hard rocking metal days with Rainbow, Black Sabbath and finally his own eponymously titled band.

I own most of his releases, and I consider a few, like "Rainbow Rising," Sabbath's "Heaven & Hell" and Dio's "Holy Diver" some of the greatest records of all time.

What I love about this track "Mystery" is that at its core, it is a terrific pop song. The guitars are louder, the vocals are stronger and the lyrics are typical Dio fare covering storms, darkness and more darkness, but I can't help but think that if this was Cheap Trick or even Dwight Twilley, more people would be all over it. 

"The Last In Line" was a disappointment to fans after the stellar Dio debut "Holy Diver," and All Music refers to this song as a power ballad, which is very misleading. A good record, with a solid melody, a few hooks, some harmonies and a great guitar solo is nothing to shake a stick at, and just because it isn't as aggressive as "Kill The King," or as epic as "Stargazer," doesn't mean it isn't pure Dio. And it is not a power ballad.



The music Dio created with Elf owes more to the good time, swampy rock of the Faces, and in some areas, even early Elton. And I know I am not the only Black Sabbath fan whose thinks "Heaven & Hell" is better than at least half of that band's original output with Ozzy. 

I can see through the wires of the internet some of you already scrolling by, rolling your eyes, heading for something else to listen to. But I woke up with the opening drums and bass from "Lady Evil" on my mind, and that gave me the push I needed to write about "Mystery," which has been in the on deck circle for weeks. One thing leads to another and so, today I'll be on a Dio binge. And maybe now, a few of you will be, as well.






Christine said...

Wow! I don't even know what to do with myself! A CUTE FREDDIE SIGN! DIO! STARGAZER! TOM JONES! (I wish I had appreciated him more, instead of rolling my eyes at my mother who was madly in love with him. I did enjoy his TV show, though.) Agreed--"Rainbow Rising," "Heaven & Hell" and "Holy Diver" all kick ass!

Love this: "the lyrics are typical Dio fare covering storms, darkness and more darkness..."

Thank you for making my day! STARGAZER!!!!!

dogbreath said...

You're preaching to the converted as far as I'm concerned. Always considered him to be one of the best ever rock frontmen, sometimes giving me an inadvertent chuckle with the more fanciful lyrics, but what a fabulous voice. Sadly missed. Cheers!

itsok2beright said...

One of the greatest vocals in R&R. And, contrary to Gene Simmons, Dio initiated the 'horns' in concert. From the Italian sign for wishing someone bad luck. My family used to give people the horns all the time, but not with their hands over their head.

Every once in a while, I get onto a Dio kick and play everything from him continuous on my iTunes. I start with three of his Elf albums (digitally of course), and listening through all of his rock albums, you hear a great evolution of his sound. Though, Magica is an acquired taste.

There's a version of War Pigs with him in Elf floating around. Not the greatest cover, but worth listening to.

I've said it before, I have to get here more often.

Softshoebanana said...

Funny you should post a Dio thread. The other day my friend and myself were having a laugh at the Ian Gillan fronted Black Sabbath period (what were they thinking!!!) and we got onto Heaven and Hell and I said that I had never gotten into that album...god knows why...I loved his Rainbow stuff.
Anyway I might just have to give it a listen and try again....christ I like Technical Ecstasy so I've got nothing to lose...have I.

A Walk In The Woods said...

This was a subject line I ne'er expected to see on a BW post...

Todd said...

"Rainbow Rising" is such an incredible album. Dio, Blackmore and COZY POWELL! I don't even remember the song title, but the Drum fill that started the second side of the vinyl still will make the hairs on my arm stand up!

Sal Nunziato said...

I'm sure the song you are referring to is "Stargazer," which is the last video in the post. And yeah, that intro is something else!