Today would have been Ronnie James Dio’s 70th birthday.
I was just talking to a friend two days ago about Dio, what a shock it was when he passed away. It shouldn’t have been, he had been sick for quite a while and he wasn’t young anymore. Still, he was one of those people who was immortal, because he had ALWAYS been there. Every year, pretty much, he would release something. A new album, a live video, live album, best of, whatever – I mean, there was always so much LIFE in him. He was a part of my life since I was 13 and first discovered heavy metal.
The first album I ever heard that Ronnie was singing on, was Rainbow’s Rising. It’s probably not “rock’n’roll politically correct” to say that I never got into that album, but I was never much of a 70’s fan. I didn’t like the sound and the production – I’ve always been more of an audio-nerd who loved the clean, clear, powerful productions of the 80’s…
Anyhow…. Holy Diver was great but my favorite Dio album was always The Last In Line. It was great all the way through – not ONE weak track! The album that followed, Sacred heart, had a few great songs as well – I could listen to King of Rock’n’Roll over and over. There were no CD’s back then so I couldn’t put it on “repeat”. Instead I recorded it on a tape a few times – guess that was how you created your own “repeats” back in those days…
I met Ronnie a few times as well. Fantastic, kind man.
I remember particularly one time when he was playing in Malmo and we had an interview and a photo session scheduled – but the band was late. I don’t remember why but they arrived so late that they barely even had time for sound check. 99% would have told us “sorry – another time“. But not Ronnie.
He walked up to us, smiled and apologized for the “inconvenience” and said: “If you think you are able to do the shoot and the interview in 10 minutes tops, we can do it”.
It was more than enough, we got a great interview and great pics. I just wish that I knew WHERE the hell that material IS right now.
He ALWAYS took time for everybody. Back in 1998 (maybe 1999) he walked out of the elevators at SAS Royal Hotel, also in Malmo, only to be stopped by a bunch of fans who wanted their things signed.
He smiled and signed everything, had a kind word for everyone and actually looked everyone in the eyes. It’s THAT kind of acknowledgement that means everything to people who love an artist’s music. Ronnie knew the value of that, or maybe that’s just what came natural to him. Either way, I always had the utmost respect for him.
Happy 70 th birthday Ronnie – hope you are celebrating it over there on “the other side” with Jim, Janis, Jimi, John and all the other legends. To us you will always be The King of Rock’n’Roll.