It’s hard to believe that Ronnie James Dio has been gone for a year. It seems like such a short time ago yet such a long time. I still remember when I heard that Ronnie had been diagnosed with cancer and all I could think was that another great was soon to be taken from us. Ronnie’s attitude and determination to slay the dragon was felt all throughout the music world. He was very optimistic and talked of future tours, his book and not once did he allow himself to fall weak. Just when we all thought it looked like he was going to beat this demon, the cancer came back and suddenly it was inevitable that we were going to lose Ronnie. On May 16th, 2010 as I had my coffee and logged onto my computer, I read the terrible news that Ronnie had passed away with Wendy Dio and close friends by his side. I felt myself breathe a heavy sigh and as I played “Children of the Sea” I felt my eyes get heavy and the tears started to fall.
I didn’t even cry when I heard that my grandmother had passed away yet here I was crying over the death of a man that I had never met. Why did his death hit me so hard? Maybe it’s because that much like Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden and countless other metal bands, Ronnie James Dio was there for me. His songs were written as anthems for the lonely outcasts like myself who felt like nobody understood them. As a fat kid who was picked on, had no friends and felt like nobody understood him, Ronnie let me know that he did understand me. I was a “Rainbow In The Dark.” I was one of the “Rock N’ Roll Children” and one of those lost “Children of the Sea.” To hear a “grown up” singing songs like this not only made me feel understood but they also made me feel that someday I would be a grown up and that not all grown ups are lame and not understanding. 30 plus years later Dio’s influence and inspiration was still a huge part of my life so seeing him fall ill and pass was definitely something that hit me hard.
When Ronnie James Dio died, he left behind a legacy for not only the long time fans but for generations to come. For as long as there are kids that feel left out, outcasts and kids who feel that nobody understands, Ronnie James Dio will always have an audience. Dio’s words and music will continue to inspire, influence and raise the spirits of fans both old and new. The spirit of Dio lives on through the music of others who share his songs with the masses. Dio is without a doubt a legend eternal. Not a day goes by that I don’t listen to a Dio song and smile to myself and in my mind thank him for being there. I’m so lucky that I had the chance to see him live numerous times but I never got the chance to meet him in person. I’ve always wanted to meet him and thank him in person. Somehow, even though that never happened I can’t help but think that he knew. Thanks Ronnie.