Remembering RONNIE

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A young New York native, thick-haired boy walks casually along the street with his grandmother until she stops to throw an aggressive hand signal at a total stranger. Bewildered, he asked her what she just did. She explained that she was protecting them from the evil eye.

This was the birth of the “Metal horns,” only one of the many legacies left behind by the incomparable Ronnie James Dio.

Gifted to earth on July 10, 1942, then suddenly taken back on May 16, 2010, the mighty Dio left the greatest footprint upon the Metal world in ways unlike anyone else before or since. His voice blazed the trail for legends to follow, such as Bruce Dickinson and Leather Leone.

His music in Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Elf, and his own solo work has inked its mark upon the sounds of nearly every band in the tree of every genre, especially the Power Metal branch.

Though he was reluctant, he managed to gather the greats of the 80’s to perform a classic for charity – a song that still beats heavily in our hearts today. And of course, the pinky/index finger salute that would solidify Heavy Metal as a worldwide community.

He is known as the “Man with the Golden Throat” who had the Midas touch upon everything that crossed his path. His kindness infected every soul he encountered.

He shined in everything he attempted; He could have been a famous trumpet player. He could have been an athlete. He even could have been known as one of the greatest crooners that had ever lived, along with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. But, Ronald James Padavona, who renamed himself after a mobster, rode the winds into the Rock storm and rolled his own thunder, giving it a whole new life, never to be the same again.

Survived by his true love and manager, Wendy Dio — who continues to keep his name active in philanthropic pursuits with the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund — along his son, his father, and two grandchildren, our divine RJD is the raging wind that never died.

We hear him in every song, we feel his presence at every show, and we see his spirit every time a rainbow is accompanied by a bolt of lightning.

Even the name “Dio” means “god” in Italian…and he knew this.


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