Ronnie James Dio has died.
I was a total metalhead as a kid, and although my tastes have expanded and matured quite a bit since fifth grade, I never really stopped liking it. And Dio was an amazing singer; a tiny little man with a gigantic, operatic voice.
I first became aware of RJD during his first stint in Black Sabbath. Heaven and Hell is a fucking awesome album, and I really dig Mob Rules. Oddly enough, I never cared for his eponymous band, although I did like the Holy Diver record.
Dio got back together with the Mob Rules-era Sabbath lineup as "Heaven and Hell," since they couldn't call themselves "Black Sabbath." The put out a live DVD, which is awesome, and a CD of new material, which is OK (read my mixed review here).
But if you really want to hear him belt his ass off (and hey, who doesn't?) check out Rainbow's "Stargazer." This cut is Eurometal at its finest. The late great Cozy Powell beats the shit out of his drums, Ritchie Blackmore contributes a typically over-the-top guitar solo, and, but of course, backing from the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Of course, what gives the track that extra little push over the cliff is Dio's powerful singing, especially in the fade-out. EPIC.
So when the news broke that Dio had passed away today, I went straight for "Stargazer." And when it gets near the end, and Dio is singing about "going home" and "take me back, take me back" (and of course, "My eyes are bleeding"), I got goosebumps.
Farewell, RJD. You were a total badass.