Friday, April 04, 2014

Let's not forget who played guitar with Ronnie James Dio, whippersnapper.

Let's get a few things straight.

The late Ronnie James Dio was a singular, iconic singer whose metal legacy is purely stunning. The new tribute album of covers dedicated to Dio's music is richly deserved. Just yesterday morning, I listened to the albums Rainbow Rising (with Rainbow; 1976), Heaven and Hell (with Black Sabbath; 1980) and Holy Diver (Dio's own band, with future Def Leppard member Vivian Campbell on guitar and the estimable Vinny Appice on drums; 1983).

Here's the point: Reading (the link) below as Lars Ulrich of Metallica lists the Rainbow songs that comprise his group's new Dio memorial medley, it's fairly consequential to remember that Rainbow was (a) former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's band, and (b) without Blackmore at the peak of his powers contributing one memorable riff after another, we'd probably not even recall Dio's vocals. Much the same can be said of Tony Iommi's guitar work on Heaven and Hell, and while Campbell is less well known than both, there's nothing shabby at all about his contribution to Holy Diver, his feud with the singer notwithstanding.

Go to YouTube and listen to Rainbow Rising, the full album. It was the group's second release, and as with its predecessor (Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, the group's debut), I was the first kid in my peer group to have it. Pay close attention to the second side of the original vinyl: "Stargazer" and "A Light in the Black." Dio is fabulous, but Blackmore is better -- and drummer Cozy Powell may well top them both.

I understand that Dio's lyrical contribution at this stage is immense and worthy of note. At the same time, both Lars Ulrich and Kory Grow might consider doing some homework.

Metallica Talk 'Effortless' Dio Tribute: Hear It Here First ... "[Dio's] music is so much a part of what's in Metallica's DNA, Lars Ulrich says,", by Kory Grow (Rolling Stone)

Metallica couldn't pick just one Ronnie James Dio song to record for the tribute compilation This Is Your Life, so they picked four. Rolling Stone is premiering the thrash metal group's contribution today: a nine-minute mélange of four riffy, fantastical tracks, titled "Ronnie Rising Medley," that the group culled from the iconic metal singer's mid-Seventies band Rainbow ...

 ... "[Dio's] music is so much a part of what's in Metallica's DNA, the harder, edgier, blues-based hard rock from the Seventies," he says. "It was fairly effortless to put this together, because it's something that we were all reared on. I don't recall sitting there in a band meeting or anything deciding what to play. Somebody starts playing 'Stargazer' – which is sort of just like something that's in our arsenal to jam – and then that whole period there, 'Tarot Woman,' 'Kill the King,' 'A Light in the Black ' – that's just really effortless to jump into."

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