The singer Ronnie James Dio died on this day in 2010 of stomach cancer. He was sixty-seven years old.
If anyone gave heavy metal a voice, it was Dio. Whether with Rainbow, with Black Sabbath, or within his own solo career, he brought a curious mix of power and clarity with his vocals. The themes of his songs ranged from fantastical elements of prophecies and wizards to more mundane struggles like lost love or the struggle of daily life. Each one was brought to life with the same sort of fire.
As a smaller legacy, Dio is the one who popularized the “heavy metal horns” gesture with the pointer and pinky finger; rather than being an obscene gesture, it was actually a gesture his grandmother used to ward off the evil eye. For whatever reason, the meaning of the gesture makes me smile.
Today is a good day to celebrate Dio’s towering legacy with one of his many songs.
Thank you for your music, Mr. Dio!