Follow me down, down to Goblin Town, where a prince among men made music.
I fell for Ronnie James Dio’s vocals, in a shallow way, the first time I heard “Rainbow in the Dark.” My sister, actually, lifted the curtain on it back in 2008. That track, from the 1982 Dio (the band) album Holy Diver, marries cheesy keyboard, nasty guitar, and demon vocals. It’s a wonder of a song. I defy you to listen to it and not be charmed. Lyrics, performance, goblin-dancing, it’s got it all. When there’s lightning, you know it always brings me down.
After that, Dio and I had a casual relationship. I’d nod appreciatively when our paths crossed, but I never really investigated this vocal behemoth. I’m a nerd about amazing male vocalists, from Robert Plant to Freddie Mercury to Layne Staley. I’ll listen to live recordings just to marvel at the sound those superhumans could make – beyond the amazing music, I’d get down on the sheer virtuosity of the vocals. And make no mistake: Dio’s voice shines as brilliantly as any in history. The real revelation was that he sang as easily as an angel as a demon. Also, the dude really loved rainbows. Read the rest of this entry »