Over the course of his decades-long career as a singer, Ronnie James Dio (RIP 2010) became as well known for wizards-and-demons-and-swords-and-sorcery lyrical themes as for his astoundingly powerful voice. But, to our amazement, we were able to locate the actual word “sword” in only one Dio song, “Push,” from his eponymous band’s 2002 LP Killing the Dragon:
You’ve ridden on a carousel
So you know the feeling as the ring slips through your fingers
Sometimes you justify it
But there’s the sword and you’re bleeding once again
To discover this bit of nearly unbelievable trivia, I combed as closely as I could through all of the lyrics of every album he sang on looking for the word “sword”, starting with his early-’70s hard rock band Elf—a tedious and not at all illuminating enterprise that I quite regret undertaking—and the only other reference I found was from Rainbow’s “Lady of the Lake” off of Long Live Rock ’N’ Roll, the lovely “silvery blade” line in this post’s headline. If I missed something, please do tell in the comments, but all the same, his rep for medieval mysticism was justified, and underscored by his penchant for brandishing swords in LARP-y promotional photos. And next weekend, swords from Dio’s personal armory will go up for public auction.
The auction is being held by Julien’s (from whose catalog most of the photos in this post were culled), and will include plenty of ephemera from Dio’s life and career, including props like the animatronic sphinxes from the Last in Line tour, stagewear wardrobe, and his musical instruments—Dio was Elf’s bass player before becoming exclusively a singer full time. It also includes fan art from his personal collection, something I always love to see—some would say study hall is for studying, and sorrynotsorry I could not disagree more. Some of these could only be more awesome if they were drawn on Trapper Keepers.
The auction will be held next Friday and Saturday, September 14 & 15 2018, at the Hard Rock Café in New York, and naturally online bids will be accepted as well. If you’re planning to bid, we wish you the best of luck. We’ll leave you with this video interview with Dio’s widow Wendy, talking about the sword collection.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Devil’s Doo-Wop: Ronnie James Dio, teenybopper crooner
God Hates Ronnie James Dio: Westboro Baptist Church to picket memorial in Los Angeles this weekend
Sword for sale: Warning might be cursed and haunted
Stoner doom-mongers The Sword recreate Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ in doom metal style