May 16 should have been a normal day, I'd gone down to Total Rock to present my Sunday afternoon radio show and by the time I'd got there at 3pm the rumours of Dio's death had done the rounds online. It was with immense relief that I read his wife's statement on air that Dio was alive, but extremely ill and in his honour my show became dedicated to the strength and courage of a man who had informed my music taste, whether I knew it or not, throughout my life. He was, without doubt, the voice that inspired my musical heroes and as I discovered Rainbow and 'Mob Rules'-era Sabbath, he himself became my idol. The discovery, upon returning home from the studio, that he had passed away was shattering. I was consoled knowing that this incredible man, who left a impact on everyone he met or played to, live or in his immense body of recorded work, had left us only in body, his spirit will live on.
So it's fitting that in this issue, where features were promptly shifted to make space for Jonathan Horsley's moving tribute that metal's current torch bearers Grand Magus are on the cover. Who better to represent the continuing legacy of Dio's career than the band that have been outspoken time and again about his influence on their music? With traditional heavy metal at a deafening high with Grand Magus signing to metal powerhouse Roadrunner and their fellow countrymen Enforcer storming the UK on their recent Terrorizer-sponsored tour with Cauldron, Dio may have reached his last high note on this world stage, but his music and the music he inspired still soars in anyone who lives to bang their heads, pump their fists and throw the horns. They say that life's a carousel, he sure rode it well.
Ronnie James Dio 1942-2010 RIP
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