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Something epic is about to happen

Our favourite opera singer continues fangirling over Ronnie James Dio with her analysis of Rainbow’s Gates of Babylon.

Bonus: how her descent down the rabbit hole started a few month prior — Heaven and Hell from RJD Sabbath tenure:

Thanks to The Charismatic Voice for both videos.

23 Comments to “Something epic is about to happen”:

  1. 1
    uwe hornung says:

    If my husband were still alive and I was Wemdy Dio, I’d be seriously worried!

  2. 2
    Adel Faragalla says:

    For all the lucky ones who witnessed the great RJD on stage with black Sabbath I would say you have been to Heaven and the one who didn’t sadly it will feel like hell.
    As much as people will always say Ozzy is the face and voice of Black Sabbath I would kindly say to them when it comes to ‘Heaven and Hell’ no one can even come any where near as good as RJD not even the greatest opera singers.
    I would love to see the day the RJD will get inducted into the R&R hall of fame and I admire Glenn Hughes for leading the fight for justice for RJD

  3. 3
    Adel Faragalla says:

    uwe hornung @1
    This so true and so hilarious 😂😂😂
    Love it👍

  4. 4
    Mike Mazur says:

    This just proves to me that Ronnie James Dio is and will always be the man on the silver mountain! The greatest singer ever!

  5. 5
    James Gemmell says:

    Saw Dio with Sabbath in Saginaw, Michigan in March 1982, and again in 1992 on the ‘Dehumanizer’ tour at Pine Knob (DTE Energy Center) in Clarkston, Michigan (between Flint and Detroit, roughly). And solo on the ‘Last in Line’ tour in ’84 at Pine Knob. But I feel deprived, having never saw him with Rainbow. The great “On Stage” album will have to suffice.

  6. 6
    Terry Dickinson says:

    I love how she asks what is going on in the guitar player’s head? , a question that has been asked many times without any chance of an answer. 🙂

  7. 7
    uwe hornung says:

    It’s never occurred to me before, but Gates of Babylon is like a musical piece, it is THAT evocative. You could imagine it as an introductory part of a play on some ancient civilization, with Dio as the narrator/conferencier setting the atmosphere.

    It’s a pity how Ritchie inexplicably grew tired of this music immediately after he peaked with it via this masterpiece. I would have liked to have heard a couple of more GoBs.

    It strikes me that to this day there is no such thing as a Rainbow compilation entitled “The Dio Years” that actually concentrates on his work with Blackmore. That is criminal, really. Just like there has never been a DP Mk III/IV compilation.

  8. 8
    MacGregor says:

    I suppose that Blackmore has never cared for looking back in a retrospective way (until the recent so called ‘Rainbow’ nostalgia cash in). Hence there isn’t any official collection of a certain era of Rainbow. Sabbath did a Dio years collection of course, but they were back together & moving forward in 2005. I own that appalling ‘official’ double cd set of the best of Rainbow. It is all over the place as to the set up of different songs, with no common sense order of the different eras taken into account. That is why we make up our own ‘best of’ collections I guess. The Dio era Rainbow is a good one to make up. They should do a official release no doubt, but which songs end up on it & which do not, usually leaves a query or two. Gates of Babylon would be at the top of the list no doubt, such an epic Rainbow song. Cheers.

  9. 9
    MacGregor says:

    My Dio era best of Rainbow collection I made up for a friend a few months ago. Man on a Silver Mountain, Self Portrait, 16th Century Greensleeves, Catch the Rainbow, The Temple of the King, Tarot Woman, Starstruck, Stargazer, A Light in the Black, Kill the King, Lady of the Lake, Gates of Babylon, Rainbow Eyes. He really enjoys it & he wasn’t interested in any Deep Purple at all or other Rainbow eras. He only wanted the European influenced Neo classical Medieval style of Blackmore & Dio. Cheers.

  10. 10
    uwe hornung says:

    How’s this?!

    MOTSM (classic, majestic riff, interesting chord structure)

    Black Sheep of the Family (because it started it all)

    Self Portrait (hey, it’s 6/8!)

    Temple of the King (lovely)

    16th Century Greensleeves (Uriah Heep’s Gypsy never sounded better)
    Catch the Rainbow (a particularly nice version of Hendrix’ Little Wing)

    Tarot Woman (classic, that synth intro and how Blackmore comes in, soaring vocals)

    Lady Starstruck (it was a single after all)

    Stargazer (classic, though I still think more could have been done with it had they had sufficient time)

    Light in the Black (not my fave, monotonous, but a lot of people like it for its frenzy)

    LLRnR (another single)

    Kill the King (the intro song of that particular era, but not my fave, I’m generally not a fan of songs faster than Burn or Highway Star)

    Lady of the Lake (underrated, nice synth guitar)

    LA Connection (inter alia for its biographical content re Tony Carey’s ousting)

    GoB (Rainbow at its absolute peak)

    Rainbow Eyes (some people think it’s twee, I always dug it, I remember a review along the lines of “any other guitarist would have sensibly used an acoustic guitar for this song, but Blackmore being Blackmore, out comes the tried and trusted Strat and the Marshall is turned down a little, yet the results are profound”)

    Bonus live tracks: Catch the Rainbow (again, for the improvisation) and Still I’m Sad (because of Ronnie’s extra vocals), and I guess you have to stick Mistreated in there too (DP legacy) though I was never a friend of Dio’s rendition of that song, he lacked Coverdale’s wounded animal machismo singing it.

    And while they are at it, the debut album could use a crisp remaster and Rising a remix that reveals that there was a bass player on it too! I still consider that album the worst mix Martin Birch ever did, Ritchie and Cozy probably held him at gun point to turn the bass that much down. Even Blackmore is on record for saying that it sounds weird because there is no bass on it (actually on both official mixes though one of them – I forgot which one – is even worse).

    LLRnR (the album) sounds good even today to my ears. Very dry, almost like a Bad Company record, but in a good way. Tonally, Martin Birch got Bob Daisley (on the few tracks he played) down a lot better than he did Jimmy Bain.

  11. 11
    MacGregor says:

    I remember Blackmore saying a few years ago that Rising should be remixed because of the lack of bass guitar in the mix. You could also be right regarding Cozy ensuring the bass was inaudible, us drummers do not want to hear a bass guitarist getting in the way, he he! I also think LLR&R needs a remix, I think it is too dry a mix, not enough drive, it needs some warmth to it. There is no way Mistreated would be on my collection, Dio would have loathed having to sing that. What is that comment he makes on the Munich dvd, ‘a song from a previous band, who’s name escapes me at present’. Or words to that effect & good on him for saying it. I am glad Rainbow Eyes is a Strat & not an acoustic guitar, it has always sounded perfection to my ears. I am not sure about the Little Wing comparison, not in melody at all. Unless you are talking about the chord structure on the guitar. 4ths isn’t it or is that Rainbow Eyes?
    A Light in the Black has to follow Stargazer because of the lyrics. I wasn’t aware until a few years ago it is a continuation of that story apparently. I just remembered I left that song off my collection for my violin playing friend, as he doesn’t like up tempo fast rock music at all. I am not sure what he thinks of Kill the King. Yes indeed the Catch The Rainbow live version is a must have as a bonus. Now to submit this collection to a major record company & include the price of my commission & I should be able to make a fortune me thinks. Cheers.

  12. 12
    uwe hornung says:

    Catch the Little Wing? ; – )

    The chords, the groove, the guitar intro and melodies, Ronnie even swiped the “she comes to me” lyric part (though that was probably a tongue in cheek homage).


    You can sing the Dio verse melody over the Hendrix chords nicely.

    Or listen to this comrade here, he (very skillfully) plays both:


    Ritchie never made any bones about his admiration for Hendrix – the guitarist, the visual performer, the songwriter and singer, the whole package. I guess Hendrix’ artistic restlessness must have also appealed to him. And you can clearly hear that Ritchie adapted his lead guitar style from the early sixties once he had heard/seen Hendrix (and come away impressed), hell, even the Strat is a nod to Hendrix who made the instrument palatable to a new legion of British guitarists that had identified it before only with the omnipresent Hank Marvin/Shadows and therefore deemed it uncool! With Hendrix, the Strat all of the sudden looked sexy.

    I’d go as far as to say that Hendrix’ style is the most obvious influence of another contemporary guitarist in classic Ritchie’s Strat playing from 1970 onward. You didn’t notice it as much as with Robin Trower who made the music to match too, but it’s always there in Ritchie’s playing.

    Even on albums where you don’t immediately suspect it!


  13. 13
    MacGregor says:

    The Blackmore & Hendrix comparison is not something I usually think of when I hear Blackmore, that intro & song Rainbow Eyes is close. I suppose like many guitarists he picked up a few ideas from Jimi no doubt, that early DP song Emmaretta smacks of Hendrix. Maybe the Fireball album ‘funk’ style here & there. However the sound of that Stratocaster cranked through those Marshalls is one worthy of comparison. Hendrix Band of Gypsys era is an incredible guitar sound & Hendrix’ playing of course & Blackmore’s sound from the ’74 era is very similar. But Catch the Rainbow? I just don’t hear Hendrix there at all! Cheers.

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    Maybe Blackmore has cast a spell on me over all these years. Those alleged seances he was into have performed a trick or two on me. I have never heard or thought of any similarity with those two songs & I have been listening to them both for many a decade & I am glad & surprised that I didn’t notice it.. Axis is my favourite Hendrix studio album by a long shot. Naivety can be a good thing at times & I surely do not want to spoil the colours of the Rainbow by comparing too much. I usually do not have any problem when I hear a similarities of a musical piece. If I do hear something I don’t pay too much attention to it if I can help it, as it could easily ruin a decent tune in some ways. Although there have been many blatant rip offs as we know over time & when I have looked into what other music aficionados are talking about, it can be annoying. We know who some of those artist are. My violin playing friend said to me when I saw him for the first time after giving him that Rainbow collection cd, ‘I can hear some Hendrix influence in a song or two’. From memory I don’t recall the conversation going too much further, especially in regards to which songs. I appreciate that Russian guitarist link, good on him. Difficult to Cure album, definitely the best JLT Rainbow album, some great tracks on that. Robin Trower definitely moved in the Hendrix circle, I really enjoy Trowers playing & many songs & albums. A class act & under rated in many ways. Cheers.

  15. 15
    Coverdian says:

    ad MacG and Uwe… you still, still, still … keep on forgettin´ ONE track… an´ it´s a bit unbelievable for me as you are so educated (NO DISRESPECT oh no) in all these things ´bout Rainbow:

    RUN WITH THE WOLF !!! How can you (v)omit it in your discuss I don´t understand! Absolutelly monster (cause it´s not so transparent and not straight between your ehmmm eyes?) RIFF and marvelous vocals lines. Oh sorry, I love this track, that´s all)

    Lately I watched dear-late RJD interview when he “in one sentence” discribes his Rainbow LP participation.


    “Rainbow Rising – great side one but crappish side two”

    “LLRNR – very unhappy album and period”

    “debut RBR – this is the best Rainbow album”

    oooh, I take his oppinion… but still (I am NOT sad)… time DID TELL… an´ I am very happy bout that… LLRNR is just now the BEST album Rainbow did, Rising ruuner up an´ RBR at third

  16. 16
    Robin Hood says:

    #8 MacGregor

    If you think the few Rainbow nostalgia gigs a year, 15 over 3 years, is a cash in then what is the Guns and Roses reunion?

  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Run with the Wolf isn’t a bad track (certainly better than the noisy/inane Do You Close Your Eyes), but it doesn’t have a chorus to speak of, does it? ; – )

    The Rainbow debut album is certainly the grooviest/musically nuanced one of the three Dio era studio releases. You cold hear how good a band Elf were und how long they had been playing together. The interplay between Gruber and Driscoll alone was a wet dream of musicality.

    Cozy Powell didn’t really communicate with bassists, he expected them to follow bis Barbarian beat and fill what little space he left.

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    @ 17 – ‘Cozy Powell didn’t really communicate with bassists, he expected them to follow bis Barbarian beat and fill what little space he left’. Comical & no doubt that is why Jeff Beck wanted him in his band & Jack Bruce loved playing with him & Greg Lake wanted him in that version of ELP & Neil Murray enjoyed playing with him & on & on & on………..Cheers.

  19. 19
    uwe hornung says:

    Ah, Herr MacGregor, I know you (inexplicably) luuuuv your Cozy, but do your research! Neil Murray has said that it was physically exciting to play with Cozy, yes, but that there was no other drummer he had a better instant and career-lasting rapport with like Little Ian.

    Cozy got hired by Blackmore because he was a character and his sheer power in pushing a band forward (sometimes too much —-> Whitesnake). His audition with Rainbow says it all, half an hour of a heavy metal shuffle at incredible speed without letting up. I don’t recall Ritchie saying to him “You’re real sympathetic to Jimmy’s bass playing, you’ve got the job”! If you want to listen to a rhythm section that really had a rapport, then listen to Gary Driscoll and Craig Gruber, those two guys were Siamese Twins, conjoined at the hip.

    The proof is in the pudding: Name me one bassist that had Cozy adapt his style even slightly? Cozy plays like Cozy, whether it is Neil Murray, Jack Bruce, Jimmy Bain, Bob Daisley, Roger Glover, Chris Glen, Colin Hodkinson or Greg Lake “backing his bass drum”.

    Let’s turn to Little Ian: He tweaked his drumming with the advent of Glenn Hughes (and peaked IMHO in his technique with Mk III/IV) and he did the same with Paul Martinez of PAL and Neil of Whitesnake. Always unmistakably Ian Paice, but he listens to bassists. Cozy is a (lead) guitar listener – probably has to do with his early days with Jeff Beck.

    Glenn Hughes once had a very lucid moment when he was asked what his crowning achievement with DP was. He said something quite unusual, not Glenn Hughes-chest-beating at all: “Getting Ian Paice to leave his shell and play like he did with Mk III.” True words. Hughes penchant for funk rhythms, sudden stops, leaving space and general mayhem on bass really inspired Little Ian. That is often forgotten. Roger doesn’t get in Ian’s way, Glenn edged him on to try out new things,

  20. 20
    MacGregor says:

    @ 19 – I like many drummers & others musicians also & like most of us there are musicians & music we do not like. Pretty simple really. It is just that you don’t like Bonham or Powells drumming style, attitude or feel etc, we GET that. It is apples & oranges again isn’t it? It doesn’t matter, it is all good. I am glad I like them though. Your comment, Cozy Powell didn’t really communicate with bassists & he expected them to follow his ‘Barbarian’ beat, says it all. Happy Days. Cheers.

  21. 21
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Ok, ok, I’ll admit it! Ian Paice has spoiled me. Thanks to him, DP never lost/lose their swing, no matter how heavy they were/are. That set them apart from a lot of heavy bands which in Germany we would call “Holzhacker-Rock” (wood chopper rock). The swing in their music is a unique quality of DP and Little Ian is mainly responsible for that.

    And as a bassist I admire his ability to gel – all the while retaining his own idiosyncratic style – as a rhythm section with bassists as varied as Nick Simper, Roger Glover, Glenn Hughes, Paul Martinez, Neil Murray, Craig Gruber and even that obscure guy from an English harbor town, name escapes me for a minute …



    Would Cozy have received an invite to that particular gig? ; – )

  22. 22
    MacGregor says:

    I will have to give it to Ian Paice, he certainly laid down the law from the beginning with Roger Glover. What was his introduction, ‘by the way I lead, you follow’, classic. All the other drummers in the world at that time didn’t get that McCartney / Gilmour gig. Was it because of drumming alone or was it also a connection of friends etc or both? Either way that happens all the time in music. It is pointless wondering about those hypothetical scenarios. Look at Cozy Powell’s band in the early 80’s. Many outstanding musicians biting at the bit to be involved in that. I have been thinking about the Drummer vs Bass guitarist scenario. Ginger Baker probably started it all with his style, aggression & the size of his drum kit. No wonder he & Jack Bruce had issues with each other, he he he. What about John Entwistle & Keith Moon, Entwistle held his own & excelled there me thinks & that is saying something. Poor old John Paul Jones had to contend with John Bonham, no wonder he retreated to the keyboards at times. Those pesky drummers bludgeoning poor bass players into submission. Although, think about Bill Bruford having to contend with Chris Squire with that Rickenbacker & also bass pedals to boot. Pun intended! Bruford then had to contend with the ‘Bass Beast of Terror’ as Robert Fripp calls John Wetton. Mind you back then the drums were not miked & as audible as other instruments, so they had to try to assert their dominance, so to speak. What about Rush & Geddy Lee & he played a Rickenbacker back then with accompanying bass pedals. Having to contend with Neil Peart & even guitarist Alex Lifeson had bass pedals, a futile attempt to try & hold back the drummer & his ‘over the top’ playing playing. Poor old Cozy Powell, never left room for any bass guitarist, in any way shape or form, he certainly did get it down pat didn’t he. What is that saying, bass players should be seen & not heard. Or should that be the other way around. Cheers.

  23. 23
    MacGregor says:

    I am being pedantic & I knew that gig was late 90’s from memory, but too late for Cozy unfortunately to have received an invitation. He may have, who can tell. The mystery deepens. Cheers.

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