Ronald Padavona

Seriously ill as he was for the last few months of his life, Ronnie Dio’s death (early on the morning of May 16th 2010) wasn’t quite the shock it might otherwise have been. Yet the sadness is not diminished, nor the feeling that part of our musical upbringing has departed with him. Thinking back to the mid-70s, the recollection of my first exposure to the Dio fronted epics that comprised side two of Rainbow Rising, whilst we listened on a transistor radio in a cramped student bedsit one Saturday afternoon, is still very powerful. The feeling that at last, following a slightly faltering first album, Blackmore had crafted his vision of a new rock music struck me then. And what made it work so very well was in no small measure thanks to Dio’s grasp of what was needed to spark the tracks into becoming something much more than your average hard rock album.

There will be plenty of potted biographies rehashed out there on an occasion like this, and it’s perhaps a shame in some ways that Ronnie’s work will be recognised and respected within the insular world of heavy metal, when he demonstrated a number of times an ability to outperform many of his contemporaries in a number of vocal styles.

I first glimpsed Ronnie Dio live back in 1974, though confess that getting to see Elf was largely forgotten in the excitement of Deep Purple’s return to the UK (which with hindsight was a shame, as some of these Elf recordings are well worth revisiting). So it was not until Rainbow reached these shores in 1976 that we got to understand exactly what had so excited Blackmore about Dio’s voice that he felt confident enough to walk from Deep Purple and throw his lot in with this diminutive and relatively unknown American singer. For no matter what Blackmore threw at him, Ronnie could deliver it back and then some. We always put his massive voice down to those early years playing trumpet, which gave him such sustain.

Ronnie’s tenure within the band lasted what seems now such a short period, yet that first touring line-up clearly laid the groundwork for everything that followed. Whenever a Robinson and a Galway chat, talk always gets round eventually to the merits of the band in 76/77 and a puzzlement over why it all went off at a tangent. Cozy Powell was later to call it quits, and though never one for dwelling too much on the past, he later often seemed to imply a huge frustration with Blackmore for throwing away the possibilities that the Blackmore / Powell / Dio axis had as he saw it offered.

As for Dio, he just got on with it. Having more or less defined the fantasy rock lyric (which he’d been trying out even on the later Elf recordings) he put his own outfit together and carried right on.

My own rock listening never really extended much beyond a narrow circle of bands and musicians, but if the band Dio didn’t work for me very often, that was my loss – for they certainly carved out a strong following if (like a lot of rock groups, including Rainbow in the early days) rarely making much of an impact on the wider public consciousness.

We met Ronnie a few times during the Rainbow days, and he was unfailingly courteous every time – signing material (including a rare Elf poster I’d got on that 74 tour), showing off an amazing embroidered waistcoat, chatting, and always interested in hearing what people had to say.

Our last exposure to the man live was during the Albert Hall shows in 1999 when Ronnie was invited along as a special guest to sing Sitting In A Dream, in part by way of an apology from Roger Glover for not being able to have Ronnie do the song in the very same building over twenty years before (for the Butterfly Ball show – the album version is without doubt one of my very favourite Dio recordings). Ronnie got a rousing and touching reception from the crowd, Gillan seemed to thoroughly enjoy working with him and it was a treat to have him there.

More recently Dio’s career certainly seemed to go up a notch with the band Heaven & Hell, and the DVD of the band’s early live shows demonstrated that vocally he still had enormous power and ability. 

We’ll all have our particular moments from past tours to remember and cherish; some with Rainbow, others from his days with Sabbath or Dio. For me I think it will be the memories of Ronnie and Ritchie smiling and laughing together as each tried to gainsay the other on the vocal / guitar responses they threw in to songs like Catch The Rainbow which will stay with me the longest. And not forgetting that sheer moment of rock magic on the band’s second album when he steams in with the “I see a rainbow rising” line – this still sends tingles down my spine whenever I play it (and even, as I write this, just thinking about it).

UPDATE – there’s a Ronnie Dio special tribute in the current issue of Kerrang (last week of May 2010).

UPDATE 2 – There is a lengthy interview with Ronnie Dio in a new book called ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MERCENARIES – INTERVIEWS WITH ROCK STARS: VOLUME I, covering his solo career and Heaven & Hell. You can get more details at the author’s sitewww.neildaniels.com

UPDATE 3 – Michael Eriksson has scanned the Ronnie Dio Classic Rock cover issue, which has some great photographs and writing about Ronnie in (June 2010).

classic rock Dio issue

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37 Responses to “Ronald Padavona”

  1. DFC Says:

    Ronnie was a hell of a singer but we really hope he went to heaven …
    the Russian Dio Fan Club

  2. Roy Davies Says:

    As a 15 year old I first saw Dio at the Birmingham Odeon in September 1976 with Blackers and the man Cozy ; a night that changed my life forever! But my fondest memory of the singer was a chance meeting circa 1979-80.
    A few miles outside my home town of Kidderminster in Worcestershire is a sleepy little village called Clows Top. One night a friend and I wandered into the tiny village pub (its been pulled down now) and there sat in the corner was one Geezer Butler (local resident) and none other than wee Ronnie.
    Ronnie was writing with Geezer at his house for ‘Heaven & Hell’ and I seem to recall they were waiting for big Tony to arrive before going for a curry!
    My mate and I had obviously recognised him and so Ron winked and said hello, breaking the ice and allowing us a few words and an autograph.
    A brief meeting but fondly remembered…..
    A small man in stature but a giant in music,
    thanks for the music Ronnie

  3. Peter Xuereb Says:

    Like many I was saddened by Ronnie’s passing. It took me back to one Thursday night in 1976 when a mate & I were walking through the Sydney CBD when we happened upon a dog with a basket collecting for a charity. Behind the dog was a stairwell leading down to an underground shopping arcade. In this arcade we found an import record store… a mysterious place for us wide eyed youths. We looked around inside this store when I spied the “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow” LP…!! We had a listen to it.. the opening bars of “Man On The Silver Mountain” confirmed “that’s Ritchie!!” That was the first time we’d heard the voice of Ronnie James Dio. I bought the LP and we both enjoyed it. We went back to that dog and made a donation as a “thank you”… I don’t remember what the charity was but it was as if we’d not found the dog we’d have not found that “stairway to Rainbow”. I later bought the 2nd “Rising” LP and we saw Rainbow in concert in 1977 complete with 30 foot rainbow!! Ronnie’s version of “Mistreated” was stunning. We saw them twice on that tour.
    I kept buying Rainbow LPs after that until shortly after Ronnie left which saddened me and I even got hold of a copy of Elf’s “Trying To Burn The Sun” LP which was quite good. I still have those original LPs to this day. I wasn’t ever a Black Sabbath fan so didn’t really follow Ronnie there, though listening to snippets of “Heaven & Hell” lately has me regretting that decision now. I intend buying the new remasters of the Dio era Sabbath. I didn’t get to hear the Dio band either.
    Someone here wrote that Ronnie didn’t sound like anyone else. That’s true. When I first heard Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, my immediate thoughts turned to his similarity to Ronnie’s voice which made Maiden all that more accessible to me (I’m a fairly recent Maiden convert – I like heavy rock groups with a great vocalist which is why it was hard for me to get into Sabbath as I didn’t rate Ozzy very highly).
    I’m a “retired” drummer who’s taken up playing again. I used to (& still now) practise to Rainbow tracks. The day Ronnie died I played to “Stargazer”, “Man On The Silver Mountain” & “Tarot Woman” with as much joy and energy a 52 year old man can muster. It was my way of saying “thanks Ronnie”.
    His voice was one of the greatest in rock. Nuff Said!

  4. Mark Worledge Says:

    It has taken me three weeks to get round to writing about Ronnie James Dio. Maybe that’s because I really don’t know how to begin to express my thoughts, after so many better-known people (and people who knew Ronnie personally, whereas I didn’t) have already published theirs.

    The most moving of them, I thought, were those of two musicians who grew up – as I did – not as contemporaries and colleagues of Ronnie’s, but as fans: Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Mikael Akerfelt of Opeth. Perhaps in a strange way we feel the loss more acutely. I know I will not be able to match the passion in their words, so I have to ask myself why I am even bothering to put pen to paper at all.

    And yet still I feel the compulsion to do so. Because, in the time since Ronnie died, I have been surprised at the depth and intensity of emotion that his death has caused in me. I recognise the feeling, from past losses – I have genuinely been in mourning. I have listened to his music a great deal in those three weeks, and yet only the act of writing and posting this seems to offer me complete catharsis. Why is this? I cannot claim to have lost a friend, as I never even met the man.

    And yet … Ronnie’s music was a profound part of my life – a musical and emotional soundtrack to the years that are most formative of one’s artistic tastes and of one’s emotional make-up. I first heard the early Rainbow albums when I was 15, the first Dio-era Black Sabbath albums a year later, and “Holy Diver” was released in the year I left school (1983). Although I have encountered and fallen in love with much great music since then, I know that nothing has ever or ever will again move me as much as the music I came to know and love in those three years.

    Three short years, and yet a lifetime’s worth of musical treasures, really: “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow”, “Rising”, “On Stage”, “Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll”, “Heaven & Hell”, “Mob Rules”, “Live Evil” and “Holy Diver”. Not forgetting Ronnie’s little gems on “The Butterfly Ball”: “Love is All” remains one of my favourite performances of his, leavening his usual “hard as steel” delivery with a touch of lightness and swing.

    There are songs on those records that “spoke” to me seemingly very personally. Ronnie’s lyrical style was to speak in metaphor and riddles, with words that had no specific meaning. This enabled the listener to place their own interpretation on them, such that his songs could seem to be about one’s own personal situation even when obviously they weren’t and couldn’t have been – “Catch the Rainbow”, “Rainbow Eyes”, “Wishing Well”, “Country Girl” and “Over and Over”. Even when a song did not relate in any way to me, I could still find lines of his powerfully moving – e.g. “There’s a break in the ground, like the swirling waters angry as they pull you down” in the wonderful climactic section of “Run With The Wolf”.

    And Ronnie’s was music of such emotional fire. A workmate once asked me in surprise why it was that I loved heavy rock/metal, as it seemed so out of keeping with my normal professional demeanour. To answer her, I played her “Falling Off the Edge of the World” and explained: “To me, this is music with such passion it sounds as though life or death depends on it – there’s such an intensity about every aspect of the performance. Why do I prefer this to other forms of pop or rock music, even good pop or rock music? I guess the same reason I prefer Beethoven, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich to Haydn and Mozart and even to Bach – it just sounds like it matters, desperately.”

    To those of us who inhabit this much-ridiculed semi-underground world of HR/HM, Ronnie was resolutely and uncompromisingly one of us. Never did he make any concession to fashion nor attempt to court the mainstream. He loved HR/HM and was shameless and unapologetic about that love. He communicated that love and that commitment through his recorded music, through his on stage performance and (according to seemingly everyone who met and knew him) through his face-to-face dealings with people. Everything Ronnie did “sounded like it mattered, desperately”.

    And he was a leader, too. Whilst solidly a member of the HR/HM community (unlike those like Robert Plant or Gary Moore who seem embarrassed to be associated with that community), he was truly a pioneer of the musical form. No-one before had made music like he and Blackmore created, but (although no-one has matched the quality of that music) many have followed his lead. Because his own vocal skill and style were so unique, one doesn’t hear people exactly “copying” him and so his influence is perhaps less obvious, but it is undoubtedly profound and widespread.

    All in all, to a depth that has really surprised me, I feel a huge hole left by Ronnie’s death. We have lost someone who was a huge part of our musical lives and a big part of our emotional lives; we have lost the further great music he could have made (the recent Heaven & Hell album has grown and grown on me since it was released – is there anyone else of that original HR/HM generation still coming up with such powerful and vital music in their 60s?); we have lost someone who was at the heart and soul of this musical community we share – someone who unfailingly embodied the passion we love in it; we have lost a huge and irreplaceable talent – an excellent songwriter and a truly great singer. Also, we have lost – by all accounts – quite simply a really nice guy.

    And so, we miss you deeply, Ronnie; we are grateful for the wonderful music you created and have left us; and you live on through that music and in our memories and hearts.

  5. Ian Douglas Says:

    In tears as I write – but those of Joy at having heard and enjoyed his music so enormously and since the beginning. I had been away a couple of weeks and only picked up the news last night reading through a bunch of old papers. . . . I was SO hoping he would get back again at least even for a short time with Heaven and Hell. . . Geezer was looking forward to that too. . . Anyway here in Australia we caught the ‘classic’ lineup of Rainbow a couple of times when Rising had just come out – probably the best show I’ve seen for sure. . . easily leaves Made in Japan looking lame. And the Black Sabbath / Heaven and Hell period(s) were awesome! God Bless Ronnie. Always in our Memories and Alive in our Recall. IAN

  6. Bill Pierce Says:

    We lost a true Rock God, when we lost Ronnie, and a true gentleman to say the least! I got the pleasure of seeing Rainbow in 76, when they were opening for (OMG) REO Speedwagon, To say the least I’ve been hooked ever since. He may have been only 5 ft 4, but he sang like he was 10 FT. tall! I’ve seen RJD probably 5 or 6 times in all, always twisting that mike stand having fun. All I can say is God must have needed a vocalist up there to complete his true Rock Band: Cozy must be smiling up there! (Great blog there Simon, great work!). Bill Pierce

  7. purplepriest1965 Says:

    As yet I have not been able enough to grasp in words what Ronnie James Dio meant for me. I recognise lots of names in the writings above. Like Bernard, werent you from Rotterdam as well? I started with the LONG LIVE ROCK AND ROLL era.
    To be more precise, I was already trying to get into the Deep Purple family when I was listening to Alfred Lagarde’s radio show and heard him introducing the title song as the new single by EX Deep Purple guitarplayer Ritchie Blackmore.
    Not long after that RISING and ON STAGE became holy grails for me next to Live In Japan. Never will forget the feelings it surrounded when we were sitting on that couch, being blown away with these majestic sounds.
    I always loved Ronnie, although I preferred him in Rainbow or without people like Aldritch. Although musicially in general inferior to Rainbow and Sabbath compositions, HIS VOICE never ceased to thrill my spine.
    He was such an inspiring man and one of the most sincere ones in the Purple Family. I have been blessed to see him live more than once starting with DIO in 1983 – though it never stopped hurting not (to have) been there in the Rainbow days. I just got into the music in 1977 and going to gigs was yet something far away.
    My last show was in Rijssen in 2005. Loved the addittion of The King Of Rock And Roll and Gates Of Babylon! Unfortunately I missed out Heaven and Hell gigs because I dont like festivals and hoped for a chance to see them in a more intimate indoor setting. So sad.
    Cheers for now, Mark Nolde, Rotterdam

  8. Guinadese Says:

    Ever wished you’d paid more attention. Rainbow at the Rainbow was about my 4th gig ever. Rising was my favourite album. I thought it was just the first of many times I’d see them. Heck, why would Ritchie dump a winning team? Hmm. Eternal rest Ronnie. Of course you were brilliant, you were Italian!!

    • simon robinson Says:

      Portsmouth, New Hampshire is in Italy?! But yes, that voice might well have ended up at La Scala had his family moved back there.

  9. Conny Brinck Says:

    Sadness is in my heart. From 1975 and on Dio and his music have been present in my life. He has given us, the fans different moments to remember through his music. The world of music has lost one of the greatest.
    God bless

  10. Andrew Melnyk Says:

    Since Dio’s death, enormous praise has been heaped upon him, and rightly so. I only hope that in life he had some glimmering of just how well regarded he was, both as a musician and as a human being. A piece of my youth died with him.

  11. scott wood Says:

    like many others i am quite upset, as i really thought ronnie would pull through at least temporarily. i never had the pleasure of meeting him, but have seen him live at least 4 times. as a matter of fact, my very first real concert was black sabbath on the mob rules tour 1982 in davis, CA.
    like many of you, i thought ronnie made mistreated his own, as good as the purple versions (as great as they are). i will still be listening to his work as long as i live. thank you ronnie for everything, and godbless.

  12. damien reid Says:

    It’s funny, but I never saw Dio as a great frontman. I didn’t think he looked as cool as Coverdale, or Gillan, or Hughes for that matter, and I found his between-song chat a bit awkward, but when I heard Rainbow Live for the first time (I’d never seen him perform then), I couldn’t believe how good he was. And there was a saying at school that he’d made 5 albums (the first Rainbow album to the second one with Sabbath – we’d never heard the Elf lps) and every one a classic. He generated so much power and had a massive range.
    The two songs which I’d put forward are Lady of the Lake and Rainbow Eyes. The first one massively under-rated, but typical Rainbow of the time and the second one which required a completely different singing style, but which showed his range off perfectly.
    And Heaven and Hell was my favourite Sabbath album. In fact I didn’t like them that much before he joined, and still don’t.
    Massively influential, but probably not given the credit he deserves.

  13. Tom Dixon Says:

    Like all of you, I was prpeared for the worst news – it did not make it any easier. The sense of loss I feel is disproportionate to the death of a ‘metal god’. Yet, how can I not feel such sorrow for a man that has entertained me since his voice first appeared on the grooves of R.B.’s Rainbow? Like Simon, I don’t really remeber Elf at the Purple concerts, although I have since come to appreciate their albums – particularly the first one (when he was still known as Ronnie Padovana).
    I could wax lyrical about this man – from seeing him in Rainbow, Dio, Sabbath & Heaven & Hell. He had a voice which could strip paint or melt a heart as he wanted and it was always ‘spot on’. I haven’t heard a concert (real, bootleg or official) where he is not on top form.
    In summary – Ronnie, you were a very special person, an exceptional vocalist and, in this heart and mind, you will continue to be so.
    Rest in Peace remebering that you will live on in your fan’s lives for many years to come. “The Chains are Off”

  14. Mike Galway Says:

    Over and Over- Mob Rules- did Ronnie ever sing better?
    “Too many flames and too much to burn, and life’s only made of paper”…

  15. Craig James Storey Says:

    I was very saddened to hear about the passing of one of my favourite vocalists of all time. I never had the pleasure of meeting the man in person, but was extremely lucky to witness the Dio band twice, and the mighty Heaven and Hell. My first memory of his music is buying the Dream Evil album too many years ago, and getting my Thompson Twins brother into it, which was no mean feat let me tell you. Of course then, I discovered the many projects that Ron had been involved with, and set about to collect his music. Many many classics, which are too hard to pick from, but maybe a fitting one would be the last two minutes or so of Stargazer, plus Temple Of The King.

    Bless you mate, and thanks for making me listen to one of the greatest voices the music industry has ever produced.

    God bless, and rest in peace.

  16. Andy DiGelsomina Says:

    The loss of Ronnie James Dio has devastated me, and the effects of this will reverberate in metal for years. My own music was massively inspired by him.
    The first heavy metal song I ever heard was “Man on the Silver Mountain”, and today it still gives me chills. Most of my favorite songs are by Ronnie James Dio, including my favorite ever, Stargazer. I’ve actually gone long periods where Ronnie’s music was practically the only music I’d listen to, period.
    Two years after I started playing guitar, a friend introduced me to Rainbow Rising, and once more my world changed. At the time, I was abandoned, homeless, and sleeping with my guitar. Rainbow Rising completely affirmed my drive to be a great musician; to stay strong through the heartbreaking loneliness and rejection of my then destitue situation.
    I never got over that album…it never stopped effecting on a deeply emotional level. But that goes for a lot of Ronnie’s output over the years.
    I have listened to Ronnie for 35 years, and will be listening for the rest of my life.

    • simon robinson Says:

      There is a well crafted obituary in The Guardian newspaper today (May 18) – a paper which doesn’t normally cover rock music overmuch – with a good photograph and resumé of Ronnie’s career. It’ll be on the paper’s website.

      • Andy DiGelsomina Says:

        I thought that was very well done. I’m grateful that the UK magazine, Classic Rock, has a cover feature. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

        I listen back to the songs that I wrote for Graham Bonnet, and I hear just how much Rainbow and Black Sabbath influenced them. The main difference is the Richard Wagner influence, otherwise all the tracks have that Dio-esque style.

        I can’t help it. For me, that whole Rainbow-Sabbath thing made me want to play guitar and write songs. Even more, those albums helped me to see the Rainbow inside of me, long before I recognized it from without.

        The influence is profound, and I would never WANT to completely put it away.

      • simon robinson Says:

        (Andy has a CD project due out 2011 which Graham Bonnet sings four tracks on – hence his comment in paragraph two. There is a news item on the DTB web site – http://www.deep-purple.net)

  17. vicente rojas Says:

    From Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) I want to express my sadness at losing of one of the ever best rock singers. I met him at Royal Albert Hall after show 09/26/1999 and we spoke (for) a few minutes about rock. What Magic! It was my only time I met him. I saw different shows with Deep Purple and Concerto for Group and Orchestra. I loved him since I heared “Sitting in the Dream” the first time. I didn´t know somebody could sing so softly and sweet. Ronnie, I´ll remember You ´til the day I die. Long Live Rock n´Dio.

  18. David White Says:

    Like so many, last night I played a series of RDJ albums.

    A glass was raised to: Snake Charmer, Catch the rainbow, Temple of the king, Tarot woman, Run with the wolf, Starstruck, Stargazer, Long live rock n roll, Lady of the lake, LA Connection and Gates of Babylon – all played terribly loud!

    Long live Ronnie James Dio you will be remembered by us all in your music.

  19. Bernard Maasdijk Says:

    Monday 17th at 06.00 a.m. I woke up to Dutch radio broadcasting news of Ronnie James Dio’s death. That evening the most upmarket newspaper to be found in The Netherlands had an obituary of more than 300 words with photo. The things hardrock artists have to do to get noticed!
    Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll was the very first record I ever bought. I go back to it regularly and still like it a lot. RJD provided the lyrics to much of the soundtrack of my adolescence and early aldulthood.
    What can I say. In his own words: He’s the man!

    • simon robinson Says:

      Someone told me this morning that the news about Ronnie was the second most searched for item on the BBC website yesterday (after people looking for updates on the air-travel scene).

  20. Xavier Rulló Guàrdia Says:

    I still can’t believe it. I was about to celebrate Futbol Club Barcelona’s new Championship when I received a message on my cellphone with the devastating news. Ronnie was like a member of the family, growing up with albums like Rising (my first encounter with his music back in 1983), Holy Diver, Heaven & Hell, Mob Rules… was an unique experience. It seems that each one of my favourite albums featured the man. I was fortunate enough to meet him five years ago during an interview for a Spanish magazine I was colaborating at the time. The scheduled time for the interview was 30 minutes, and Ronnie gave me twice that time. He was the most charming rock musician I ever interviewed, we even spoke about movies, sports, Big Bands… He signed each and every one of the albums I brought with me, very unprofessional, I know, but that was a once in a lifetime chance I couldn’t waste. I miss him very much.

  21. richard nicholls Says:

    Rest in peace Ronnie – being from Brisbane Australia we didn’t see as many shows as you guys but saw him in the 70s with Rainbow, 81 with Black Sabbath and a couple of years ago with Heaven and Hell – yep he is/was the best front man around.
    It goes without saying what great work he did in the studio with Rainbow, Sabbath/Heaven & Hell plus of course Dio.
    I’m listening to the Mob Rules now and it makes this grumpy old man very reflective.
    Richard

  22. Danny Fox Says:

    Simon, I echo your sentiments. The man had a presence way beyond his diminutive stature. I was lucky enough to see Rainbow in 76 and 77 in London. The Hammersmith 76 show was my first opportunity to see Blackmore as well. I can remember going down to the box office to purchase my tickets, the anticipation was unbelievable. That night I blown away by how powerful the band were. Ronnie was amazing. His ability to hold his own on the stage even with Blackmore and Powell present, was a credit to him. Stargazer, wow and suprisingly Mistreated I recall came over very menacingly rather than mournful the way Coverdale sung it.
    The opportunities lost for Blackers when he decided not to play the Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll album live, beats me. Gates of Babylon, LA Connection and The Shed to me would have been awesome. Ronnie sung incredibly well on that album.
    Dio live was a drop in status from Rainbow, but to me he still delivered, I saw him at Ipswich Gaumont, complete with dragons and flash bombs, it was entertaining, if somewhat corny now looking back. But the songs still delivered, Rainbow in the Dark, Egypt (The Chains Are On) etc. Some great songs.
    I have recently got into the Elf material and its not bad. I first heard some of this round my neighbours, and I guess I dismissed it then back in the mid seventies, but now I have to say its growing on me.
    I then saw Dio with Purple at the Albert Hall, he truly enjoyed himself and I felt he was almost in awe of being on stage with Purple, to me he reflected the true man he was, respectful of everyone and one of natures true gentlemen.
    Finally I saw him with Heaven and Hell in Manchester, he was still knocking it out, the classic songs from Heaven and Hell and my personal favourite, the Sign of the Southern Cross, awesome!
    All in all a talent sadly lost. May you rest in peace Ronnie.

  23. Mike Eriksson Says:

    Very well written. Me and my friends feel real grief today, but what can you expect after 35 years of listening and him always being there. My blog shot up 400% on monday, I heard Blabbermouth and a couple of other sites crashed. What a day. It will take a while to get over this. He shall be missed. MIKE

    • simon robinson Says:

      We first read the news on the BBC interactive TV page, which Ann likes to check in the morning (being old fogies, turning a laptop on can still seem a bit like work). I’d spoken to someone last week who said Ronnie’s condition had become a lot more serious so we’d kind of prepared ourselves. Last night we chose a few tracks to play – loud, and ended up with Lady Of The Lake, Gates Of Babylon and Temple Of The King, which Ann has always liked. I’ll save Rising for another day.

  24. STEVE McGRATH(aka purplecockney) Says:

    I saw Rainbow with Ronnie at Hammersmith on the 76 UK tour. Having seen purple at Wembley a few months earlier as you can imagine, there was no comparison.
    Rainbow were a great live band and I’m still amazed at the power in Ronnie’s voice coming from such a little guy.
    I saw him 3 times with Sabbath in the early 80’s and each show was terrific.
    I wasn’t to see Ronnie again until 2007 on the Heaven and Hell tour at wembley. Again a fabulous show. The last time I saw him was at his band’s show at the Astoria in summer 2008.
    Through a mates dad we had back stage passes and I got to meet him and have my pass signed. It simply says ‘Steve, you rock, Ronnie James Dio’.
    He came across as a genuinely down to earth character and I feel privileged to have met one of my heroes. He gave us all a hug as we left. A priceless memory.
    Ronnie you will be sadly missed.

  25. Ricardo Says:

    Well done. Well remembered. I miss a lot that period.

  26. Mike Galway Says:

    Catch the Rainbow-
    What a voice! Ronnie didn’t sound like anyone else- and there aren’t many singers you can say that about. Both live and in the studio Ronnie was always on top form. For me Ronnie made “Mistreated” his own (there, I admitted it). I love the first Rainbow album possibly even more than more than Rising, after all it has Catch the Rainbow on it- for me the most beautiful song Ritchie and Ronnie ever recorded, have a listen and a little cry……Then put a live version on!
    Ronnie always commanded the stage even in ’76 when Blackmore was god. When Ronnie left Rainbow I was devastated, until I heard Heaven and Hell. I was never a big Sabbath fan until then but the next two albums made up for some of the disappointment of Rainbow’s output post Ronnie.
    Ronnie made a big contribution to rock music and influenced loads of today’s bands…. AND Ronnie’s “Devil horns” have become the international sign for “ROCK”- how’s that for influence!
    I had the pleasure of seeing Ronnie with Rainbow, Sabbath, Dio, at the Albert Hall, and with Heaven and Hell and he always sounded great. I hope he knew how much pleasure he gave us and how fond we were of him. His music will live on and one day we will all have a big Rainbow ’76 tour reunion in the sky!
    God Bless Ronnie and Thanks

    • simon robinson Says:

      I’m up for the reunion, just so long as Elf can do the support (so I can see what I missed back in 1974) and we don’t have to bring the electronic rainbow…

  27. Ron Bellamy Says:

    Ronnie’s exquisite, soaring voice will always be with us. To this day I have never heard such power from a singer, his tone, phrasing and range were superb. Like Simon, the last time I saw Ronnie perform was at the Concerto concert in 1999 and it was a joyous occasion. I’ve been listening to his impressive body of work since I heard the tragic news – his interpretation of ‘Mistreated’ stands head and shoulders over David or Glenn’s.

    Thank you Ronnie for enriching the lives of so many, you will be sorely missed. If not for you I don’t believe Rainbow would have risen at all and Sabbath would have ceased to be. A one-off that all singers should aspire to be. I hope that there will be a concert in your honour where people can put their differences aside and pay you the tribute you so richly deserve.

  28. Petri Myllylä Says:

    What a day! So much memories have come to my mind over last 28 years I’ve been knowing artist Ronnie James Dio. Still have all those records like Holy Diver which I just listening, but I would have better seen him having more years to live.

  29. Dan Cavil Says:

    Yes, Ronnie’s contributions did as much to power the early Rainbow as Ritchie’s did. I heartily concur on the “I see a rainbow rising” line, followed quickly by “look there on the horizon, and I’m coming home”. I always felt he took a tired Sabbath and raised them several notches as well. “We believed we’d catch the rainbow, and ride the wind to the sun. And sail away on ships of wonder…”

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