The rocker who replaced Ronnie James Dio in Rainbow has paid tribute to the late star, who lost his battle with stomach cancer on Sunday, May 16. Graham Bonnet admits he felt "horrible" upon hearing the news that Dio had died at a Houston, Texas hospital, and he has released a statement offering his respects to his "good friend".
He writes, "I want to thank him for being a good friend, and drawing the map for me, when I was in doubt of the role I would play in Rainbow. My musical background was so different from his but I listened and learned the way to be a replacement, as such and followed the master of hard rock singing... Thanks, Ron!! My love goes out to him and his family... Only one Ronnie!"
Meanwhile, Queen guitarist Brian May has taken to his website to remember Dio, calling the rocker "one of the creators of the genre of heavy metal". May adds, "Our paths crossed many times over the years, and I had clear glimpses of his unique spirit and personality. He was in many ways the antithesis of the current mould of TV-bred singers. He had no apparent desire for fame... He was not a TV face, a celebrity. He just loved doing what he did."
"To his millions of fans, there was an unquestionable feeling of reality to his persona, his songwriting, and his performances. His lyric-writing was very distinctive, and set a style in heavy metal which has influenced many bands over the years. To me, it was as if his mind operated in layers - on the surface, a hard-working honest singer, with a great humanity and strong sense of humour - and underneath, in the world of his songs, his subconscious seemed to be populated by hobgoblins of all kinds, and palpable evil forever on the march."
"I don't know if he invented the devil-horn salute, but he was certainly the man who, more than ever, made it a universal symbol, a worldwide salute of metal. He was universally loved in the community of rock music, and will be sorely missed."
Previous tributes to Dio have come from Ozzy Osbourne, Lars Ulrich and Slash.