AW

Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm

“If you suddenly see, what has happened to me…you should spread the word around…and tell everyone here, that it’s perfectly clear…they can sail above it all on what they’ve found.”Ronnie James Dio

I was around ten years old when Rainbow (with Ronnie James Dio) released one of my favorite all-time albums entitled “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll.” At the time, I hadn’t even been introduced to the band yet.  But when a friend of mine turned me on to them at sleepaway camp a few years later, I was instantly hooked.  One of my first stops upon returning home from camp was the local record store, where I picked up the whole catalog of Rainbow albums.  I would sit for hours in my room listening to Rainbow through my headphones, and before long, I considered them to be my favorite band.  And though I loved the albums that they made with Joe Lynn Turner and Graham Bonnet, there was something about the early albums with Ronnie James Dio that made them truly unique and unforgettable.

When Dio released “Holy Diver” with his own band, I couldn’t get to the record store fast enough to buy it, even though I hadn’t heard any of the music yet.  It’s been around twenty seven years since the album came out, but I can still remember listening to it for the first time with one of my friends (in his room) as if it were yesterday.  We were in awe of how great the album was.  The entire album…from the first track to the last!  I expected nothing less, since Dio was my favorite singer and his music was always nothing short of brilliant.

This morning, I woke to find that Ronnie James Dio had passed away, but I was relieved to find out that it was just a rumor.  Or so I thought.  Later on in the day, it was confirmed that he had, in fact, passed away this morning at 7:45am.

It is not often that I am impacted by the death of a famous person, but I am truly saddened by this loss.  Although the prognosis for stomach cancer is not usually very good, things seemed to be looking up, and it looked like Dio was going to beat the odds.  Unfortunately, despite his determination and will to live to return to the stage (where he belonged), stomach cancer was one demon that he just couldn’t conquer.  There will be a void in the heavy metal world that will never be filled now that Dio is gone.

As sad as it is to see an idol gone before his time, for me, this goes beyond Dio’s music.

In 1999, while working in the music business, I was invited by a friend / client to a Dio record release party.  It took place at a cool bar in the east village of Manhattan.  Not some trendy bar where celebrities hang out mind you, just a regular local bar that blended in with all of the others in the neighborhood.  It would have been enough for me just get to hear the album before it was released, but I got so much more than that.

As I approached the bar to grab a drink, there sat my childhood idol, Ronnie James Dio, in the flesh.  Of course, I took the opportunity to tell him how much of a fan that I was, and that I owned the fairly rare albums that he made with the band, Elf.  Despite being in the music industry for a number of years, and having met a number of artists that I have great admiration for, my meeting with Dio was different.

He was the man of the hour, and it certainly would have been understandable for him to politely thank me for my support and move on, but he didn’t.  We sat at the bar talking for over an hour.  It was as if he had forgotten that he was at his own record release party.  I can’t recall what we spoke about, but I’ll never forget the experience as long as I live.

Today, I mourn the loss of more than just a great musician.  Ronnie James Dio was an innovator, an inspiration to others, a philanthropist (Hear ‘n’ Aid) and a heavy metal legend.  But more importantly, Ronnie James Dio was an incredible man who truly appreciated his fans in a way that most famous people cannot even begin to approach.

It seems appropriate that, on the weekend of his passing, I saw something that I have never seen before, and may very well never see again.  While at the pool with my family, my daughter kept looking up at the trees, which caused my wife to look up and see what she was looking at.  As she did, she saw a rainbow high up in the sky, but it wasn’t the typical rainbow…long and arching.  Rather, it looked like a straight, relatively small bridge connecting two clouds.  I like to think that the rainbow bridge appeared to illuminate Ronnie’s path to heaven.

“We are sunlight…we can sparkle and shine…and our dreams are what we’re made of…so just hold on…you can make it happen for you…reach for the stars and you will fly…you’re hungry for heaven.”Ronnie James Dio

Rest in peace, Ronnie.  You will be missed, but you will never be forgotten.  Your music left an indelible mark on me, my “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children” and the rest of the metal world. \m/

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  1. As usual Adam very well written, that is a great story.

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