Graded on a Curve:
Dio,
Holy Diver

There are 666 things you need to know about Ronnie James Dio.

1. Ronnie is widely credited as having invented the “Sign of the Horns.” Under patent law, you are legally obliged to pay Ronnie 15 cents every time you use it. Per hand.

2. Fact: In 2003 Dio lost part of his thumb to what he called a “killer garden gnome.” Afterwards Ronnie tossed the gnome in the trash, but it kept coming back. “It’s out there,” he would tell friends, peeking out the window. “Waiting. Just waiting.”

3. Ronnie was a big medieval music fan and used to get together with former Rainbow band mate and fellow medievalist Ritchie Blackmore to play flute, sing madrigals, and contract the Black Plague.

4. In a 1991 poll kindergartners were asked what historical personage they would least want to see added to the cast of Sesame Street. Ronnie James Dio came in next to last, just before Adolf Hitler.

5. Ronnie, who was 5′ 4″, was once quoted as saying, “I always wanted to be a basketball player.” He then added, “Preferably with the Delaware Dwarves.”

6. Dio’s first band was called Elf. The name led to a revolt in the Elven community. Haldir, Elf of Lothlórien, told his troops, “We must crush the man on the Misty Mountain before he joins Black Sabbath and lays waste to the band that bequeathed us “Fairies Wear Boots.”

7. The biggest difference between Dio and his predecessor in Black Sabbath was that Dio didn’t have a serious ant addiction.

8. The opening lines of “Shivers” are “Fingers scratching blackboards/Make cowards of the brave.” Evidently the Home of Brave is not a second grade classroom.

9. Dio was no more a heavy metal band than Van Halen circa 1984. They were a cross between Deep Purple and KC and the Sunshine Band, which means they were really great. They’d have been even greater if they’d duded themselves up with Flamingo Coast garb. And covered “Boogie Shoes.” But nobody’s perfect.

10. Like Robert Johnson before him, Ronnie went to the crossroad and made a pact with the devil. Johnson traded his soul for blues genius. Ronnie sold his for a cure to male pattern baldness. Satan later reneged on the deal.

11. “Hungry for Heaven,” Dio’s contribution to the film Vision Quest, is a great pop metal song, and if you can’t dance to it you’re as flat-footed as Bruce Springsteen in his video for “Dancing in the Dark.”

12. Dio’s Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly ’86 includes a guitar solo, a drum solo, and a keyboard solo. There is no bass solo, because bass solos are banned by the Geneva Convention.

13. Ronnie couldn’t write a decent lyric to save his hairline. Edgar Winter once said, “‘Frankenstein’ has better lyrics.”

14. I genuinely like Ronnie James Dio and enjoy his music and by all accounts he was a friendly guy. He never threw tantrums or knocked bowls of M&Ms out of the hands of underpaid flunkies who forgot to remove the brown ones, and so far as I know he never set fire to a single small animal. The only negative thing I’ve ever heard about him was that during his tenure with Black Sabbath he liked to sneak into the studio at night and make his vocals more prominent in the mix. But Lou Reed used to do shit like that all the time, the difference being that Lou was a bag of flaming dicks.

15-664. Dio has the best album covers in rock. They generally involve a giant demon named, I kid you not, Murray. On a side note. Murry was kidnaped and forced to act as the monster in the 2016 film Colossal. According to Entertainment Weekly, Murray was discovered in a Los Angeles parking garage a month after the film’s release, and would only tell police, “It was terrifying. But you know the worst part? They didn’t even give me a speaking part.”

665. If you remained seated during “Stand Up and Shout,” Dio would literally wade into the audience and punch you in the balls.

666. Dio was no more a Satanist than Pat Boone. In fact he was less a minion of the Devil, as anybody who’s ever checked out Pat’s 1997 release In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy can tell you. Pat’s cover of “Holy Diver” literally reeks of sulphur, and if you get too close to the turntable while it’s playing you’ll be turned to a pile of ash. Said Pat, “Ronnie’s a nice guy, but I would sacrifice him to Beelzebub in a Rated G second.”

GRADED ON A CURVE:
B

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