Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Song of the Day: Dio, "Rainbow in the Dark"

When Das Racist, who just announced their break-up, first grabbed my attention, one thing that impressed me was their tribute to Dio's "Rainbow in the Dark". It's not a well-known song among non-metalheads, and with many music fans still dismissing Ronnie James Dio as being Black Sabbath's Sammy Hagar, I was thrilled to hear the alternarap trio give the man his overdue props (this was before Dio's passing in summer 2010).

Almost 30 years later, that synth riff still grates. It sounds a little like Journey, and you can hear why Dio didn't want to include "Rainbow on the Dark" on Holy Diver, or why he delegated more attention to the guitars when he played "Rainbow in the Dark" live. But you can also hear exactly why he's Jack Black's favorite singer. That impassioned, slightly goofy fury is a line that few singers ever walked so well, and the combination of Dio's usual fantastical lyrics with his then-discouragement over leaving Black Sabbath treated the world to one of metal's best performances.

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