May 172010

Dio has rocked for a long long time…

As you’ve probably heard, legendary metal singer Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer yesterday.  The man fronted a an impressive list of heavy metal bands, popularized the devil’s horns and inspired the Tenacious D song from which the above line comes (which he apparently took in good humor).  He rose to superstardom as Ozzy Osbourne’s replacement in Black Sabbath, so today we take a look at the Godfathers of Metal.  Technically Dio only sang one of the songs covered here, but is it our fault that “T.V. Crimes” didn’t have quite the impact of “Paranoid”?

Hellsongs – Paranoid
Minor key metal covers are this German Swedish band’s stock in trade, which would get old if they weren’t so darn good at it. Their 2008 album Hymns in the Key of 666 is a must-own.  [Buy]

Bill Patton – Fairies Wear Boots
The self-described “sad bastard singer-songwriter” turns this rock sprint into a lonely ballad.  Like a metal-obsessed Fleet Foxes, the harmonies break your heart as the lyrics warp your brain.  [Buy]

Dr. Sin – Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor
In 2005 Brazil metal band Dr. Sin released an album of doctor-themed songs like “Dr. Rock” (Motörhead) and Doctor Robert (The Beatles).  A silly theme perhaps, but the São Paolo trio proves themselves more than capable of bringing the noise.  [Buy]

Natubella – N.I.B.
In the best Lucifer-sung tune since “Sympathy for the Devil,” the Hell dweller woos his maiden fair.  Satan…what a softy.  [Buy]

The Bad Plus – Iron Man
The jazz cats get their rock on.  Piano instrumental please, and don’t skimp on the drum solo!  [Buy]

Cake – War Pigs
The “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” crew has recorded some weird covers (see “I Will Survive”), but they stay more grounded here.  Comparatively, at least.  [Buy]

Gov’t Mule – Sweet Leaf
Warren Haynes busted out a double-decker Sabbath set during the Mule’s Bonnaroo ’07 set, following “Sweet Leaf” up with the second “War Pigs” of the evening (the Flaming Lips had covered it earlier).  Haynes honors Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi with a face-melting solo.  [Buy]

The Cardigans – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
The fact that the Swedish band between 1998 hit “Lovefool” has ever covered Sabbath is surprising.  The fact that they’ve done it twice is bizarre.  [Buy]

Queensrÿche – Neon Knights
The only song on this list that Dio originally sang.  Also perhaps the reason he didn’t remain in the group very long.  [Buy]

Wroom – Black Sabbath
If you like your sonic crescendos really, really slow, this one’s for you.  It gets loud around minute seven, but is more of a mood piece than anything.  [Buy]

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  4 Responses to “Black Sabbath (R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio)”

Comments (4)
  1. Ronnie James Dio fans might also enjoy this lost interview with the singer from May 22, 1986 on Mr. Media Radio.

  2. Hellsongs are a Swedish band, not German.

  3. Thanks for the correction!

  4. Damien Jurado did an amazing cover of “Holy Diver” after Ronnie James Dio’s death but it was pulled down from his MySpace page for copyright reasons almost immediately. I wish I’d managed to grab or capture it. Unbelievable. I keep hoping he’ll do the Mark Kozelek thing and release a full cover of Dio/Sabbath interpretations.

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