Right, the fact that you’re here means that you KNOW who Ronnie James Dio is then ?? If not, maybe move along, I hear Jedward are doing something wacky….
Ronnie James Dio was, to many, a legend. I had the honour of meeting him a couple of times, when he would always take the time out after shows to chat to the fans and sign autographs. It’s a crying shame that after a decade of relative obscurity Dio was taken from us just as he was returning to his rightful place in the rock’n’roll firmament with Heaven And Hell.
Few would argue that his best post-Sabbath work is encapsulated in his first first three solo albums. Not many bands have released three pretty much undisputed classics in a row, but Dio managed it with Holy Diver, The Last In Line and Sacred Heart.
The first three albums have now been re-mastered and are about to be re-released. They have been given a spot of polish and re-packaged with a bonus CD containing a veritable shedload of extras in the form of b-sides, live tracks and additional studio material. The deluxe reissues also containing an expanded booklet with notes from Malcolm Dome. I know that there is often the whiff of record company cash-in with these posthumous re-releases, but this one has been put together with the approval of Ronnie’s widow Wendy Dio as a fitting legacy to the great man.
Pretty much everyone is familiar with the albums themselves, although the remastering has given them a bit of extra sparkle. It is the bonus tracks that make this a must have package for fans old and new alike. OK, so most of it has been available before but these reissues gather everything in one place, and this is the first appearance on CD for many of the bonus tracks.
“‘Holy Diver’ was the debut album from Dio, released 25th May, 1983. It was hailed by critics as some of his best work and in January 1986 it was awarded Silver certification. The upbeat sounding ‘Rainbow in the Dark’ was to catch MTV’s attention, with the title track also standing out”.
The bonus tracks on this one are a live recording from the time (one of the ultra-rare King Biscuit releases, I think) and the single B-sides which have never been released on CD before.
· Evil Eyes
· Stand Up And Shout
· Straight Through The Heart
· Stand Up And Shout
· Shame On The Night
· Children Of The Sea
· Holy Diver
· Rainbow In The Dark
· Man On The Silver Mountain
“‘The Last in Line’ was the second Dio studio album. It was released on 13th July, 1984 and was the first album from Dio to reach Platinum status as well as number 4 in the UK charts. This new album showcased the anthemic tracks ‘We Rock’ and ‘I Speed at Night’ as well as the seven-minute epic, ‘Egypt ( The Chains are On)’”.
Here the bonus tracks are B-sides and a live recording from the Pinkpop festival which I hadn’t heard previously.
· Stand Up And Shout – Live – B-Side Last In Line
· Straight Through The Heart – Live – B-Side Last In Line
· Eat Your Heart Out – Live – Mystery
· Don’t Talk To Strangers – Live – Mystery
· Holy Diver – Live – B-Side We Rock
· Rainbow In The Dark – Live – B-Side We Rock
· One Night In The City – Pinkpop Festival, Geleen
· We Rock – Pinkpop Festival, Geleen
· Holy Diver – Pinkpop Festival, Geleen
· Stargazer – Pinkpop Festival, Geleen
· Heaven And Hell – Pinkpop Festival, Geleen
· Rainbow In The Dark – Pinkpop Festival, Geleen
· Man On The Silver Mountain – Pinkpop Festival, Geleen
· Don’t Talk To Strangers – Pinkpop Festival, Geleen
“‘Sacred Heart’, released in October 1985, was the third studio album from Dio. The album reached number 4 in the UK charts and was to go on to be certified Gold. This was to become Dio’s most well known album and contained the tracks ‘Rock N’ Roll Children’ and ‘Hungry for Heaven’. The stage show that was to accompany this album was hailed as a spectacle, involving a mechanised dragon as well as laser’s. Ronnie and his band were to refer to the dragon as Denzil”.
Once again the bonus tracks are well worth listening to, and they include Hide In The Rainbow (from the Dio EP), the single B-sides and the full 8 tracks of the Intermission live album.
· Hide In The Rainbow – Dio EP
· We Rock – Live – B-Side Rock N Roll Children
· Last In Line – Live – B-Side Rock N Roll Children
· Like the Beat Of A Heart – Live – B-Side Hungry For Heaven
· King Of Rock N Roll – Intermission
· Rainbow In The Dark – Intermission
· Sacred Heart – Intermission
· Time To Burn – Intermission
· Rock N Roll Children – Intermission
· Long Live Rock N Roll – Intermission
· Man On The Silver Mountain – Intermission
· We Rock – Intermission
So, although you will already have the original versions of these albums (and if not, why not ??), there is certainly enough here to make getting hold of these re-issues well worth your while even if, like me, you’ve already got most of the bonus stuff hidden away on vinyl somewhere.