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Ronny James Dio Barber Ronny James Dio Barber
A little over three minutes into “Temple Doors,” the opening track from the debut album by Philadelphia doom metal band Crypt Sermon, frontman Brooks Wilson sings the seemingly nonsensical phrase “fool, fool.” The words float there, isolated, between the song’s first chorus and second verse, and they don’t appear again. The phrase doesn’t add any apparent meaning to the lyrical narrative, but for those who are acquainted with the work of Ronnie James Dio, it’s extremely revealing. The origin of “fool, fool” is Black Sabbath’s “Heaven And Hell,” one of the precious few Dio-led tracks that has ascended to classic-rock radio-staple status. Like so many of his best lyrics, this one is comforting in its near meaninglessness. Dio was a master of heavy-metal poetry, uncannily capable of spinning mixed metaphors, clichés, and references to dragons into mantras that would be sung in unison by tens of thousands of his long-haired pupils. Even so, hearing “fool, fool” invoked by a new—and relatively cool—band in 2015 comes as a surprise. Dio hasn’t enjoyed the same deification as the metal gods of his generation, especially among young people. (It’s not unusual to hear a teenaged or twentysomething metalhead say they’re only into the Ozzy Osbourne-fronted Sabbath records.) Motörhead, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest remain sacred cows, more or less, but Dio’s career highlights are partly to blame for bringing Dungeons & Dragons imagery to the metal mainstream, inadvertently inspiring countless half-baked power-metal projects. Fair or not, that’s tarnished his legacy. It’s a little premature to suggest that a name-check by a band on Dark Descent means Dio’s critical reputation is undergoing a renaissance, but it’s nice to think it might. Dio’s path to metal stardom will never be replicated. Born Ronald James Padavona in 1942 to Italian American parents in New Hampshire, Dio started playing rock ’n’ roll in its mid-’50s infancy, first as a trumpet player and then as a singer and bassist. He played with a laundry list of mostly forgotten acts from the ’50s to the mid-’70s: The Vegas Kings, Ronnie & The Rumblers, Ronnie & The Red Caps, Ronnie Dio & The Prophets, The Electric Elves, The Elves, and finally Elf, whose stints opening for Deep Purple on tour exposed him to heavier rock music and finally put him on stage in front of big audiences. Those gigs represented the first major turning point in his career, as they led to the formation of Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s next project, Rainbow. Dio was invited to sing for the new band, and in 1975, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow reached #11 on the U.K. charts. For Dio, the record launched one of the greatest individual decades any metal performer has ever enjoyed. From 1975 to 1984, Dio sang on the following studio albums: Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Rising, and Long Live Rock ’N’ Roll by Rainbow; Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules by Black Sabbath; and the solo records Holy Diver and The Last In Line. If none of those records are quite perfect, they’re all within spitting distance. Yet that run is rarely cited alongside metal’s other legendary hot streaks like Metallica’s first four, Sabbath’s first six, or Maiden’s first seven. If the looming fifth anniversary of Dio’s death from stomach cancer on May 16 gives erstwhile skeptics an excuse to revisit his discography, this is where they should look first. The run is the beating heart of the Dio mythology, and reveals a man uniquely suited to channeling the epic regality and high camp of metal’s heyday, hitting his stride and then doubling down on every triumph. The three Rainbow full-lengths that Dio provides vocals for are masterworks of hard-rock pomposity, even if they aren’t exactly metal in the modern sense. “Man On The Silver Mountain,” another track that’s found its way into heavy rotation on FM classic-rock stations, leads off Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow with a simple, stomping riff. When Dio’s voice comes in, the stakes change entirely. He seems to be conjuring his lines from somewhere deep within his soul, deeper than most rock vocalists at that time seemed willing (or capable) of reaching. That’s especially remarkable given the song’s lyrics, which are vaguely religious, fantastical, and, essentially, nonsense. The chorus gives us a few perfectly Dio turns of phrase: “Come down with fire / Lift my spirit higher / Someone’s screaming my name / Come and make me holy again / I’m the man on the silver mountain.” It’s not clear which man or which mountain the lyrics are referring to. What’s clear is that when Dio sings those words in that order, it sounds awesome. Rising and Long Live Rock ’N’ Roll would see Dio soar even higher. “Stargazer,” an eight-and-a-half minute epic from the former record, is the pinnacle of the Rainbow experience, and it’s indelibly stamped with Dio’s powerful personality. For the last several minutes of the song, Blackmore just locks in and repeats the main riff while a string section reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” doubles it, essentially providing a blank canvas for Dio to sing over. He delivers, providing enough variations on the chorus (“Where is your star? / Is it far?”) to keep things interesting while continuously ratcheting up the song’s intensity. “Stargazer” remains a heavy-metal classic, one that’s been covered regularly by Dio acolytes. Unfortunately for Dio’s place in the critical discourse, the most high-profile of those bands include prog-wank specialists Dream Theater, Viking-cosplay dorks Týr, and the frilly-shirted Jorn Lande side project Mundanus Imperium. The pattern of Dio becoming underrated partly because of the bands he influenced begins with Rainbow, which to this day has never quite assumed its rightful place in the early heavy-metal firmament alongside Sabbath, Priest, and Purple. By the time Sabbath enlisted Dio to replace Ozzy Osbourne, a lot of people had already written off the metal founders as has-beens. Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die! were cocaine-drenched fiascos, uneven at best and unworthy of the Sabbath discography at worst. The sessions for the next album began in Beverly Hills with the original foursome—Ozzy, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward—but nothing was getting done, and the band realized they had to boot Ozzy or break up. Iommi had been familiar with Dio’s work from his Rainbow days, though the other members hadn’t heard him sing. The album that finally resulted from the lineup turmoil—Butler also left during the sessions, though he returned before recording finished—was Heaven & Hell. Dio’s presence as a lyricist and driving songwriting force revitalized the rest of Black Sabbath. Iommi’s riffs and solos, previously rooted almost entirely in the blues, began to incorporate the neoclassicism that Dio learned from Blackmore in Rainbow. The songs began to shift between high-tempo (for Sabbath) blasts and moody, atmospheric passages. And, of course, Dio’s fantasy lyrics were a departure from Butler’s tales of war, women, and drugs. Despite the album’s commercial success, the change in direction led to an exodus of old fans. The Dio era is still a point of contention among Sabbath fans, though a string of successful reunion tours from 2007 to 2009 under the name Heaven & Hell renewed interest in his records with the band. (And the follow-up to Heaven & Hell, Mob Rules, was nearly as strong, though a thin production job marred it somewhat.) After Mob Rules, it was clear that Dio’s idiosyncrasies were too big to be contained by other people’s bands forever. Holy Diver, the first album credited simply to Dio, remains the purest expression of his personality and his most-loved record. It works so well because it takes everything uncool about Dio and proudly flaunts it. The main riff to the hit single, “Rainbow In The Dark,” is played on a wimpy Casio keyboard. Dio turns in some of the strongest vocal performances of his career, and uses them to deliver lines like, “In the palace of the virgin lies the chalice of the soul” and, “Between the velvet lies, there’s a truth as hard as steel.” The album cover gave metal a new mascot in the priest-dunking demon Murray, and Dio’s goofy devil-horns hand sign, his most defining contribution to metal culture, became ubiquitous. The Last In Linematched Holy Diver in almost every regard, and its Egypt-themed stage show set the bar for metal-concert-production value excess, non-Iron Maiden division. It’s fitting that Dio’s most flamboyantly unhip era has had the most profound impact on his legacy. His biggest pop-culture moments of the last decade have come in places on the far margins of the critical discourse. It’s the Dio of Holy Diver and The Last In Line who breaks out of a poster on the bedroom door of a young Jack Black in the gloriously juvenile Tenacious D And The Pick Of Destiny. It’s “Rainbow In The Dark” that lent its name to NYC’s recently defunct DJ night for gay metal fans, a group that sadly remains marginalized, despite the widespread acceptance of Rob Halford’s sexuality. Metalcore crew Killswitch Engage even saw their played-straight cover of “Holy Diver” hit Billboard’s mainstream rock singles chart in 2007.
My favorite cars
Where to Go You can find the Edmunds used-car appraisal tool in three places: the "wired" or traditional Web site, our mobile site and our app for smartphones and tablets. The order of the appraisal steps is a little different for each, but the same information will apply. Web Site: From your desktop or laptop, mouse over the "Used Cars" tab at the top of any page on Edmunds.com. When the tab expands, click "Appraise My Car." You can also access "Appraise My Car" here. (Bookmark it for the next visit.) If you're getting the value of a vehicle that's older than 2001, use the traditional Web site. As of this writing, our mobile data doesn't go back any further than the 2001 model year. Edmunds.com Mobile Site: If you visit Edmunds.com from a smartphone or tablet, you'll most likely see the site's mobile version. Scroll down and touch the "Used" tab. The "Appraise a Used Car" link is a bit farther down the page. Edmunds.com iPhone and iPad App: On the Edmunds.com iPhone and iPad applications, start out by choosing the year, make and model of the car you want to look at. Next, touch the "Pricing" button. (On the iPad app, look for the "Options & Packages" tab.) Edmunds.com Android App: The Edmunds app for Android devices is currently being overhauled. When the major update goes live, its functionality will be very similar to what you see on the iPhone and iPad. Style and Options Once you've entered the year, make and model of your car, you will need to supply some more specific information about it for an accurate appraisal. In this next step, you'll select the style, also called the trim level. The style can refer to the type of engine, standard features, or whether it has four doors. Here's a refresher on trim levels. Major features, such as the car's transmission, engine type and whether it has all-wheel drive, can have a big impact on the value of the car. The same goes for options like leather seats, navigation, a sunroof or automatic climate control. If you can remember your car's options off the top of your head, great. If not, here are some suggestions on where to get the information you need. The vehicle's original window sticker is the best place to find option information. Unfortunately, few people actually hang onto the sticker. Without it, your best bet is to sit in your car and make a note of its options. If you're using a smartphone, tablet or laptop (assuming you're within WiFi range), you can complete the options check from the driver seat. Otherwise, print out the options page from the Edmunds.com Web site and check off the items as you sit in your car, and then enter the information online. It is crucial to get the style and options right. Without them, you may be under- or over-valuing your car. Condition Levels The Edmunds car appraisal tool has five condition levels: outstanding, clean, average, rough and damaged. Most people who use the tool will likely be dealing with just three: clean, average and rough. You might be tempted to choose outstanding, the top condition level. After all, you've pampered your car the entire time you've owned it, right? But the truth is that few cars qualify for this rating. Outstanding condition is reserved for older, low-mileage vehicles, where well-preserved examples are otherwise hard to find, says Richard Arca, senior manager of pricing for Edmunds.com. "A good example would be a 1996 Chevy Impala SS with 70,000 original miles that has been garaged and still has the gloss on the paint," Arca says. Another good example, Arca says, would be a 2001 Honda Prelude SH with 50,000 original miles that has very little wear on the interior and the factory paint that's still glossy. Edmunds True Market Value (TMV®) used-car prices are all set at "clean" condition, Arca says. The price of a car in less-than-clean condition is adjusted downward from there, and reflects what it would cost to get the vehicle up to clean condition. In the case of a 2001 Honda Prelude in average condition, the dollar adjustment is $1,411. That's how much a private-party seller would have to spend to bring it up to clean condition. If your vehicle was in an accident, it could still be considered "clean" — if it was repaired with factory parts and according to the manufacturer's specifications, Arca says. "In reality, cars that have been in accidents tend to lose market value, but there is really no way to gauge how much," Arca says. He adds that some of the factors that affect the value are severity of the damage, quality of repair and the demand for that particular model. Be honest and objective about the condition level you choose. Try to see things from a potential buyer's perspective. Understanding the Price Regardless of the method you use to appraise your vehicle, you will be given three or four prices: trade-in, private party, dealer retail and certified used. As the name suggests, the trade-in price is what you can expect the dealer to give you if you trade in your vehicle. This is always the lowest figure. If you want to improve on that number, there are some alternatives to trading in that you should consider. The private-party price is what you can expect to get for the car if you sell it on your own. This is always a higher amount than the trade-in price, but it takes more work. Here's a quick guide to selling your used car that will give you more information. The dealer retail price is aimed at used-car shoppers. This price is an average amount you could expect to pay if you bought the car at a dealership. Here's a quick guide to buying a used car for more information. The Edmunds.com Web and mobile sites also list the certified used price if the vehicle is still relatively new. This also is aimed at used-car shoppers, showing what that vehicle's listed price would be if it were being sold as a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle. This price will usually be the highest among the trade-in, private-party and dealer retail prices, since CPO cars sell at a premium over non-certified cars. The buyer is essentially paying for the thorough inspection and added warranty. It's Easy To Be Real Getting a realistic value for your car is key to what you do next, whether that's selling the car, trading it in or even keeping it for a while longer. By using the Edmunds.com car appraisal tool in any of its forms, you'll have a clear-eyed assessment of your car's real worth, not a number based on guesswork and high hopes.