Tag: Ronnie James Dio

Album Cover of the Week: Rainbow — Rising

Album Cover of the Week: Rainbow — Rising

Album Cover of the Week, Music
I'm going to save my longer writeup of Rainbow's Rising for one of my Desert Island Discs posts, but for the moment let's just gaze upon the awesomeness that is the cover. If you had never even heard of Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore, or Ronnie James Dio, one look at this would probably give you a clue as to what the music sounds like. I mean, it's a titanic fist rising out of misty mountains and clenching a rainbow. Oh and don't forget the castle on the right and the mysterious cloaked figure in the foreground. Yes folks, 1976's Rising is one of the prototypical metal albums of our lifetime. And this painting was created by Ken Kelly, one of the greatest fantasy artists ever. Kiss fans know his work well, as he depicted the band on the covers for Destroyer and Love Gun. His work als
So fresh: 10 Black Sabbath songs that will never get old

So fresh: 10 Black Sabbath songs that will never get old

Music
Last Friday the original, legendary Black Sabbath lineup -- Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward -- announced that they are reuniting once again for a tour and a 2012 Rick Rubin-produced album. I'm holding out hope that it won't be a disaster, as the quasi-Sabbath Heaven & Hell project (R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio) was quite good. So to honor the godfathers of heavy metal I've put together this compilation of ten songs (from the original foursome) that are not their biggest hits, but are still true genre classics. 1 -- "Black Sabbath" (from Black Sabbath, 1970) This is it, people. Scholars can debate the origins of metal all they want, but for my money it starts with the first song from Sabbath's first album. Those opening three guitar chords from Iommi ar...
“Hope I die before I get old” — Do famous musicians really die young?

“Hope I die before I get old” — Do famous musicians really die young?

Featured Posts, Music, People
With her tragic and untimely death, Amy Winehouse became the latest member of a grim group -- the so-called Club 27, whose only entrance requirement is to be a famous musician and to die at age 27. The club also includes legends such as Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain. This got me to thinking -- is it really true that the brightest stars burn out the earliest? Or does it just seem that way because of our fascination with stars who die young? Curious, I decided to conduct a little research so I compiled a list of famous and influential dead musicians. Of course that list could be limitless, depending on your standards for fame and influence. I ultimately opted to use Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, first published in 2004/05 and...
Album cover of the week: Mob Rules

Album cover of the week: Mob Rules

Album Cover of the Week, Music
It's hard to believe, but we lost Ronnie James Dio one year ago today. It seems only right to pay small tribute to his musical legacy, and so here we have 1981's Mob Rules. It was the second and last studio album Black Sabbath released with Dio as frontman until the one-off reunion disc Dehumanizer in 1992. It's every bit as sinister and metal as the cover indicates. The cover painting is by fantasy/science fiction artist Greg Hildebrandt. It's essentially a recreation of his 1971 work, Dream 1: Crucifiers. Here's the original: I'm guessing the addition of the band and album names didn't escape your notice, but did you catch the fact that the hook on the left side of the original was changed to a crucifix for the album cover? Also, the blood stain in the fabric (skin?) was ma...
Listening Booth – Dio, “Mystery”

Listening Booth – Dio, “Mystery”

Listening Booth, Music
It was a sad weekend in music my friends.  Heavy metal icon and all-around decent guy Ronnie James Dio passed away from stomach cancer at age 67.  Dio carved out a damn good career for himself and his powerful voice, fronting Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and then his own band.  Here's one of his solo tracks that I've always been fond of - from 1984's The Last in Line, it's "Mystery". RIP Ronnie, you will be missed.  Let us all throw the devil horns in his honor.  
2009 – The year in recorded musical performances

2009 – The year in recorded musical performances

Music
I swear that each year I have less and less time to spend listening to new music.  It seems like a losing battle anymore to keep up with all the new albums coming out, but I have to keep trying.  So rather than pontificate on the albums of the past year - as I've been known to do - I'm going for brevity in an attempt to get more done.  And I'm adding one new feature to this year's year-end music wrapup (and future releases as well), by introducing a grading system.  Here's the rundown: Dig It - You can safely part with your hard-earned money for this and not feel like a sucker. Download It - Still worth a listen, but you'll probably want to just download it and cherry-pick the best tracks. Ditch It - If you can find something of lasting value, you're a better person than I. Got
In Concert: Queensrÿche at the Nokia Theater

In Concert: Queensrÿche at the Nokia Theater

Music
It's been nearly 10 years since I've seen Queensrÿche in concert, and that was for the group's ill-fated jaunt in support of Hear in the Now Frontier. That tour was canceled after the band's record label, EMI, went into the crapper. A lot has changed for the group since then, not the least of which was the departure of co-founder and guitarist Chris DeGarmo. For 2006, Queensrÿche went back to the future and released a sequel to their 1988 magnum opus, Operation: Mindcrime, cleverly titled Operation: Mindcrime II. While not quite the classic the first one was, OM:II was good enough to rekindle my interest in the group. It was that rekindled interest that brought me to see them perform at a sold-out Nokia Theater last Friday night. The theater, I must say, is a very nice ven
Album review – Queensrÿche, Operation: Mindcrime II

Album review – Queensrÿche, Operation: Mindcrime II

Music
I've had about a week to digest the latest release from Queensrÿche, Operation: Mindcrime II. It was an album I dreaded listening to when I first heard the group was planning a sequel a year or two ago. In most cases, sequels serve only to reinforce the fact that one was enough. Notable exceptions to this rule are, of course, The Godfather Part II and Superman II. Oh, and The Empire Strikes Back.  Which was Part II at one point, and now is just Part V. So first things first -- for all the positives of this album, it is no Operation: Mindcrime. Oh, the effort is clearly there. But what is lacking is the grand vision and sheer power of the first installment. OM:I is the product of a band clearly firing on all cylinders. OM:II runs at about ¾ speed.  I can appreciate that while Queensrÿche