Raise your horns to Ronnie James Dio’s 80th birthday with deluxe ’Holy Diver’ reissue

The late Ronnie James Dio would’ve celebrated his 80th birthday on Sunday.

Dio was born Ronald James Padavona on July 10, 1942, and died of stomach cancer May 16, 2010. His career included fronting Black Sabbath after Ozzy Osbourne was fired in 1979 and forming his own, namesake band, Dio, releasing the classic album Holy Diver in 1983. Along the way, he popularized the iconic “metal horns” gesture.

In honor of the milestone occasion, Holy Diver has been reissued as a deluxe box set, including remastered and remixed audio, live recordings, outtakes and B-sides. For original Dio drummer Vinny Appice, the reissue allows him to reminisce about the “ball” he, Ronnie and the rest of the band had recording the now double-Platinum album.

“It was a fun time in everyone’s life, and that shows in the music,” Appice tells ABC Audio. “The music’s pretty kick-a**.”

For Appice, having fun recording an album was the most he expected out of the Holy Diver experience.

“I remember one of my drum techs saying, ‘It’s gonna go Platinum, man!"” Appice recalls. “I said, ‘Come on, nah’… And then sure enough.”

“Album comes out, we start playing theaters,” he continues. “Then about three months, four months later, we’re playing arenas. It’s the typical rock story.”

The remix for the Holy Diver reissue was done by Joe Barressi, who’s worked with bands including Tool and Slipknot. He worked from the original analog tapes to put a new spin on the audio, such as including an ending on the song “Holy Diver,” which just fades out on the original released recording.

“I don’t know what else [Barressi] might’ve found on those tapes,” Appice laughs. “Probably a lot of cursing and swearing.”

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