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What is rock music's greatest enigma?

Could it be the death of Felix Pappalardi? The disappearance of Richey Edwards? Good candidates, but maybe the best is the exact birthdate of former Black Sabbath vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Can the pint-sized frontman really be eight months older than George Harrison and four years senior to Bill Clinton? (þ: Jason, who has a brand-new opera/jazz weblog that may at any time degenerate into a poignant realtime docudrama about obsessive-compulsive record collecting.)


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Comments (11)

I think the 1942 date is correct.

I live about eight miles from Cortland, New York, my family having moved here in 1974. My best friends hired Elf to play at one of their high school dances. We all graduated in '74 (although I did not go to their school), and although I wasn't at that show, me mates' memories are of Elf as grown men and serious working musicians when we were kids.

1942 would make Ronnie eight years older than me, and I think that's right. That impression has been pretty clear every time I've bumped into him. (Several times, here & there along the way.)

Ronnie's cousin, Dave Feinstein (a guitarist, and the only one in Elf who did not survive the graduation to Ritchie's Rainbow, for obvious reasons) still lives over in Cortland, where he's lately been recording during time out from his (really very good) Italian restaurant. I see Dave now & then (he's come to a couple of Coots shows), and I'll make a point of asking him about this, next time I see him.

While I'm thinking about it, a trip to the Cortland library to dig up that high school yearbook would probably be in order, too.

Christ, I wish I could edit that comment.

Ronnie would be fourteen years older than me, which is the impression I've always had. Don't ask about the blown math.

First of all love the new blog scheme and the fact you can comment now.

I have Elf's first album having seen it at my college radio station in the 80s. Wanted to get a copy and recently found it re-issued. Its actually rather good

RJD has aged rather better than most of his fellow rockers.

I have to take umbrage with the the thrust of this post. Aren't there like a hundred greater enigmas in the history of rock n' roll than the ones listed here? Off the top of my head, I could suggest the mysterious deaths of Sam Cooke, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, the thought process of Marvin Gaye Sr., and the ultimate prize, the life and death of Robert Johnson (how he died, where he is buried, whether he sold his soul to the devil, etc.).

Dudley Morris:

I dunno, I think the Richey Edwards case is certainly one of rock's great mysteries - moreso than Sid and Nancy, which is pretty straightforward once you strip away the conspiracizing.


The album cover to Emerson Lake and Palmer's Love Beach is something I'm still trying to figure out...


Put me down for "why the Beatles ever even thought of handing 'Let It Be' over to Phil Spector."

I don't know whether he murdered Lana Clarkson, but they ought to add the Wall of Sound to the charge sheet.

Well, Lennon defended Spector.

"He was given the shittiest load of badly-recorded shit with a lousy feeling to it ever, and he made something of it."

I can't imagine the environment was that great to work in. I haven't ever listened to "Let It Be...Naked." Is it that vastly superior? Or was Lennon right, and the material just isn't that great to start with?

The man behind the lyrics to "You're So Vain" should also be on the list, no?


I'm not sure that a sentence that uses excrement as both a noun and an adjective, and concludes with such an equivocal definition of the results counts as a spirited defense. I may be cranky - but I just dislike the Wall of Sound as technique: it might as well be a brass band, it's so overpowering.

Some guy paid $50k at a charity auction to hear the answer from Carly herself; so far he has kept his secret.

Take a good look at the photograph here. It's not exactly forensic quality, but go look.

Let's stipulate to the date.

Tell me that guy's nineteen years old.

(Getta loada Feinstein here. He makes that Les Paul look enormous. That's how short he is.)

Andrew: my band is going to pick up "Sit Down Honey", from that first Elf record. We're already doing "Gambler, Gambler". I'll see if I can post video from the next show. (June 29 at The Haunt in Ithaca.)


Ahhh, Dio. Man, that little bastard could really sing. I heard a bootleg version of "children of the sea" that would just make you shit.


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