It’s May 16, 2018, which means it’s been eight years since Ronnie James Dio, the best goddamn heavy metal singer who ever lived, passed away from stomach cancer. If somehow you don’t know who he was, he was the lead singer for such groups as Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his own solo group, Dio.
No one can fill his shoes, and to the credit of the entire human race, nobody’s tried to. Even Ozzy Osbourne, the man he replaced in Black Sabbath, has grudgingly admitted on numerous occasions that the man could sing his ass off.
Apart from being a huge fan of his music, I also owe the man a personal debt. He wrote the foreword to my 2003 book, The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal, and I can never express how much this meant to me. It conferred a level of credibility to the book that it would never have had otherwise, and without that, my mighty tome might as well have been called Don’t Buy This Book.
In any case, the man is gone, but my life’s mission remains — to make everyone I encounter listen to more Dio, which I will do for as long as I draw breath. So get out your cape and scepter, put on your mystical wizard robe, and play this thing as loud as you can. Your neighbors will thank you someday.