Ronnie James Dio: A light in the black, by Joshua Ploeg


Wow—Dio passed away today. At first I thought people were pulling my leg. Even though he had been ill, he’s one of those people that you just think will always be around. And he will—that sums it up pretty much. I always liked his shit but didn’t really think a lot about “feelings for Dio” until now.

Ronnie James Dio, left, during his time with Elf

I give this man much respect. 50 years of music—yeah, 50 years!

What I love about him is he always had some aspect waiting for your discovery. It is so cool to grow up listening to Rainbow, Sabbath and Dio, and then be able to find Elf and hear all of the cool shit he did with the Prophets and his other bands (thanks for putting that shit out there, everyone). It is good stuff too—from practically rockabilly and doo-wop all the way through metal. And he was never ashamed of any of it (Watch the exclusive playlist).

You gotta have balls to roll up into a band with Ritchie Blackmore or Tony Iommi, and RJD had that, and heart, and sleeves. Motherfucking sleeeeves! It may seem like a trivial detail to some but I tell you, it adds to the mystique of a hand on the hip or a wave of the magic finger. It’s called flair people! (and it spawned the term “sleevy sleeves” as well, which changed my life). Devil horns, sure, but sleeves—fuck yeah!

“Man On the Silver Mountain,” speaking of devil, if you were a pagan or gnostic metal nerd or witch, you know what I’m talking about—this song fucking rules. Critics thought it was ‘tarded. Beg to differ, I love hearing all of the different interpretations of the lyrics from everyone that still gets the chills from it (getting high, affirmation spell, sun salutation, individualism, fallen angels). If anyone were to ask me, how do you feel spiritually? Or alternately—What was the first spell you ever cast? I would tell them, listen to this. I liked that you couldn’t really tell where he was coming from on all of that witchy business, he didn’t feel like he needed to spell it out for you. I never need to know, it is what it is, and how we feel about it and what we take from it.

Advice can be simple, like “lookout” or longer, like a whole song, or even longer than that—a whole 50 year career. You can take what you will from that.

Respect the man, people say we lost a great voice—but it remains, a light in the black.

Much Love, RJD—best represented through your own music.

The Ultimate Ronnie James Dio playlist compiled by Joshua Ploeg

Direct links for iPhone users, etc.:

Ronnie & The Red Caps—”An Angel is Missing”

Ronnie Dio & The Prophets—”Love Pains”

The Elves—”West Virginia”

Elf—”Ain’t It All Amusing”

Rainbow—”Black Sheep Of The Family”

Rainbow—”Tarot Woman”

Rainbow—”Kill the King [LIVE IN GERMANY]”

Black Sabbath—”Neon Nights”

Heaven & Hell—”Sign of the Southern Cross [LIVE IN BINGHAMTON]”

Dio—”Don’t Talk To Strangers”

Dio—”Stand Up and Shout [LIVE ON TV]”

Roger Glover & Guests—”Love Is All”

Joshua Ploeg is a vegan chef, traveler, cookbook author and blogger. He sings for Warm Streams. Read more about Joshua here

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