Ronnie James Dio/ This Is Your Life (Rhino, 2014)
This is a veritable who's who of elder statesmen of Heavy Metal paying tribute to one of the greatest vocalists that has ever lived. In the spirit of this album, I will pay my own tribute to Ronnie before beginning my critique. I heard a few things here or there, but it was not until the early months of 1985 that I really got into Dio with the song The Last In Line. Indeed, as corny as it sounds now, it was Dio and that album that showed me possibilities and thoughts of the world beyond my bedroom window at that age. For example, it was the song Mystery that first made me think about racism. I remained a Dio fan throughout the many ups and downs, from his solo career to Black Sabbath to Heaven And Hell, from arenas to clubs to theatres and back. From time to time I think about the many times that I saw him in concert and then frown that it can never happen again. It's like I lost a friend.
Anthrax nails Neon Knights. Tenacious D do a heartfelt take on The Last In Line. Jack Black was one of the few who truly praised Ronnie at a time when everyone else considered him a has been. Props to Jack Black for that. The Scorpions do an incredible version of Rainbow's The Temple Of The King. Rob Halford teams up with various Dio-band alumni for Man On The Silver Mountain. Metallica do several Rainbow songs on the Ronnie Rising Medley. Metallica never mentioned Dio when Ronnie was alive, not once, and their inclusion bothers me for that reason. While they do an okay take on my beloved Kill The King they strike me as opportunists. This is only my opinion, of course. They claim to genuinely love Dio. Who knows.
All proceeds from the sales of this album go to the Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.