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The singer that James Hetfield said was amazing

James Hetfield


The singer that James Hetfield said was amazing

Metallica was formed in 1981, when Heavy Metal music was already 11 years-old, if we consider the first Black Sabbath album as the birth of the music genre. Although it was only more than a deacade a lot happened and there were many bands, the oldest ones had already changed many members and were sounding different. With those influences, James Hetfield, Cliff Burton, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett were able to release their debut record in 1983, which also had many compositions by the band’s former guitarist Dave Mustaine.


They didn’t know at the time but they were also creating a new sub-genre of Rock and Roll, which would later be called “Thrash Metal”. That style also had other important bands like Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. But Metallica remains as the most influential and successful band from this kind of music. The have sold an estimated amount of more than 125 million records sold worldwide. James Hetfield has always been praised as an incredible rhythm guitarist but also as a singer, especially for his unique voice. During his career he always took every opportunity to salute his heroes. So he mentioned many times one vocalist, calling him amazing.

The singer that James Hetfield said was amazing

Nowadays Metallica is certainly the biggest Heavy Metal in the world that is still touring and recording new music, but back in the 80s they were the new guys on the scene. They were also one of the few Metal bands which managed to be successful in the 90s fighting against Grunge.

Over the decades, Hetfield had the chance to meet many of his heroes and become their friends. One of them was the late legendary singer Ronnie James Dio, who Hetfield said was amazing.  Dio first achieved fame as the vocalist of Elf, a band that was Deep Purple‘s opening act in the 70s. That tour was crucial to catch Ritchie Blackmore’s attention, since he would a few years later invite Dio to join Rainbow.

After leaving the band in 1979 he made history again by joining Black Sabbath. He was crucial helping them to continue after Ozzy Osbourne was fired. Then after a few years in Sabbath, he finally had the success to form his own group, Dio, which also produced many praised albums and hit songs.

In an interview with Music Radar in 2016, the Metallica frontman recalled how amazing Dio was and revealed that he really never warmed up his voice before a concert. “When we did the Ronnie Dio tribute record. We did this medley of a bunch of different Dio songs. I just realized how fucking amazing that guy was. And it pissed me off, because when I met him I said, ‘Hey, can I hear your warmup tape? What do you do? What’s your secret to all of this?’”

He continued:

“And he said, ‘Well, I just have a little glass of wine and go out and sing.’ What?! Yeah right! But I don’t think he was BS’ing me. He was just a natural singer and he had a range that had power all the way through it. He just continues to challenge me which is great,” Jamaes Hetfield said.

As Hetfield said, Metallica was part of the tribute album “Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your life” released in 2014. Dio had passed away five years before in 2009, at the age of 67, victim of stomach cancer.

For that album, the band created a medley which had four Rainbow songs. They were “A Light In The Black”, “Tarot Woman”, “Stargazer” and “Kill The King”.

Curiously, one year before they were selected to receive the “Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Gods Awards.

He chose Dio as the best singer of all time when the musician was still alive

In 2008, one year before Dio passed away, Rolling Stone asked many artists to list the best singers of all time in their opinion. Hetfield listed 20 names and on the first position of his list was Ronnie James Dio. At the time he was fronting Heaven & Hell, the Black Sabbath spin-off band. It was also formed also by Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice. He was in front of other names like Johnny Cash, Freddie Mercury, Steven Tyler, Robert Plant and Rob Halford.

In an interview with Newsweek in 2017, Hetfield was asked about being part of Dio’s tribute album. He said that it was the least they could do to honor the legacy of the amazing vocalist.

“(…) The ‘Ronnie Rising Medley’ was kind of a combination of all the good stuff we loved from Dio. It’s great to challenge myself with singing stuff like that. It helps me grow. And it also helps me push limits that I think I’m stuck in,” James Hetfield said.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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