Why has Paul Gilbert recorded an album of classic Dio songs?

Paul Gilbert
(Image credit: Paul Gilbert)

Nope, we absolutely did not see this one coming. A whole album of Paul Gilbert covering Ronnie James Dio's solo, Rainbow and Black Sabbath-era songs? But who doesn't like this music, and if anyone can pull off an instrumental guitar tribute to Ronnie…

At the very least it will prompt more people into checking out the legacy of the much-missed vocal powerhouse, but the idea came about for the Ibanez maestro in an unexpected way, too.

According to the press release, Gilbert was in his car when he saw a baseball cap with the word ‘Dio’ emblazoned across the front. A seed was sown and by the time he got home a plan was cooking. Frankly, we love how Gilbert's love for the music was the only justification required for this project, which finds him translating not only Ronnie's melodies into guitar lines, but also the wonderful parts of Viv Campbell, Tony Iommi and Ritchie Blackmore.

Paul Gilbert

(Image credit: Sam Gehrke)

“Playing all these metal riffs like Stand Up And Shout, Neon Knights and Kill The King gave me serious chills," enthuses Gilbert. “The guitar parts of Ritchie, Tony and Vivian brought no small number of goosebumps. 

“These amazing riffs are the steel girders of the songs, upon which everything else rests,” he adds. “It had been a while since I’d been this deep into metal rhythm guitar playing, and it felt like I was digging up gold nuggets of fire with a magic platinum shovel. All while wearing a star-covered wizard hat! The guitar solos in these songs came screaming from distant mountaintops. Ritchie, Tony, and Vivian set the standard breathtakingly high.”

Gilbert handles all the instruments for the Dio Album, with the exception of Bill Ray's drums. 

  • The Dio Album tracklisting

    1. Neon Knights
    2. Kill the King
    3. Stand Up And Shout
    4. Country Girl
    5. Man On The Silver Mountain
    6. Holy Diver
    7. Heaven And Hell
    8. Long Live Rock 'N' Roll
    9. Lady Evil
    10. Don't Talk to Strangers
    11. Starstruck
    12. The Last In Line
Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.