In some seriously sad news, legendary metal frontman Ronnie James Dio died this past weekend.
Dio is probably most well known as the guy who replaced Ozzy as the lead singer in Sabbath, but he also had some pretty good albums with Richie Blackmore's Rainbow and his own eponymous band. He received a bit of a late career bump after Tencious D included a tribute to him on their LP and featured him in their movie. He was set to tour with his latest group Heaven and Hell (actually, just him and Sabbath under a new moniker) before he succumbed to cancer.
Dio will leave quite the legacy. His soaring, operatic vocal stylings essentially created a new genre of metal music, and his obsession with medieval weaponry added an element of wizards and dragons that while not necessarily lacking in metal before Dio, certainly brought it into greater prominence. And of course, he is widely credited with being the first person to throw metal horns, popularizing perhaps the most recognizable hand gesture in the world.
For me, Dio's death is on par with the passing of Kirby in terms of losing my childhood heroes. While the poseurs and johnny-come-latelys have been acting like they like Dio now that he became ironically cool, I was a Dio fan of the highest order. In addition to owning all his albums, I was once a proud card carrying member of the Dio fan club. And even though my musical tastes have matured a little past metal, I still go back and dig out the Dio CDs fairly often. And it's no coincidence my metal side project covers not one, but two Dio songs.
Metal has truly lost one of the luminaries of the field. Somewhere in Hell there is most certainly a demon crying...