RIP Ronnie James Dio - a metal legend

Singer Ronnie James Dio, one of the most influential musicians in metal, passed away yesterday of stomach cancer at the age of 67. He was a prolific artist who produced several legendary albums during stints in Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and his own solo project. Dio possessed a powerful mid-range voice that retained its strength all the way until the end of his career. His fantasy-based lyrics always had a positive side, encouraging people to live their lives in the best way possible. He also popularized what is now a rock-n-roll cliché, the devil horns hand gesture.

Dio's work has had a huge impact on the metal scene since the '70s. Virtually every single power metal band in existence has its roots in his fantastic imagery and highly projected vocal style. His music has inspired recorded references from artists from Killswitch Engage to Tenacious D.

Over the years, Dio's recordings have had a large influence on my life, as he was one of the first metal artists I listened to. I still remember when one of my friends first got his license and we piled into his car, screaming around the student parking lot while blasting "Stand Up and Shout." I also had the fortune of seeing Dio perform with Black Sabbath's latest incarnation, Heaven and Hell, in 2008. I remember getting shivers as the whole amphitheater sang along with Dio to guitarist Tony Iommi's mighty riff in the classic heavy metal track "Heaven and Hell." It was simply epic.

Here's the video for Dio's classic hit single "Holy Diver."

Dio performing "Neon Knights" with Heaven and Hell in 2007.

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