Over at Last Rites, we rounded up our favorite Dio tunes and distilled it to a mere 13 (the man had at least a Devil’s Dozen more without any considerable drop in quality). I was able to jot down my thoughts about my very favorite Dio song, Rainbow’s “Man On the Silver Mountain”:
After 25 seconds of Purple-esque vamping from Ritchie Blackmore, Dio opened his golden throat and the world changed. “Man On the Silver Mountain” wasn’t only Rainbow’s opening salvo, it was the genesis of 35 years of Dionic excellence. What came before is crushed by the unstoppable wheel that time and again would lift Dio higher and higher. With all due respect to Elf (or “the shit Faces”, as a friend named them years ago), their style of blues rock never showed what that voice could truly do. The control, the build, the restraint and release, was finally all in place; the quivering rises, the dropping growl, the shivering break on the “silver” of the first chorus. This was the template, the ur-tune that shaped a legend.