CANTO: Let’s Immortalize Dio in Downtown Portsmouth!


Good morning, everyone! I’m coming at you this fine Wednesday monrning with a special edition of the Canto. This is partly I’m working in Boston today and probably won’t get to do the real Canto tonight. But more importantly, there has been a recent push to build a statue of the late Ronnie James Dio in his place of birth, Portsmouth, New Hampshire (which, of course, I also call home). This, my friends, is something that deserves all the attention and support it can generate. So as Literati Overlord here at Nine Circles, I made it my duty to alert the masses.

Dio was born in Portsmouth and spent his early years here before his family relocated to New York. Yet, the iconic father of heavy metal and undeniably influential musician across all genres currently holds no presence in his hometown. I don’t need to get into his lifetime success. Just look at his album sales (47 million and counting) or his time with Black Sabbath (Mob Rules is amazing, to pick one. Just a reminder if you needed one… which I’m sure you didn’t)… his importance is blatantly obvious. We all know that and we all celebrate him. Oh, and we can all thank him for the metal horn gesture. He is one of the most beloved contributors to heavy metal globally. What I’m getting at is heavy metal — and music overall — would not be the same without him.

In a town where the arts are continuing to become more prominent through a number of local concerts venues and theaters opening up, there is no better way to showcase how important the arts actually are here than by immortalizing the most prominent musician (as far as I’m concerned) to come out of Portsmouth. The push is fronted by Brian Kelly, administrator for the “Keep Portsmouth Loud” Facebook page, and the concept in mind would be Dio depicted as in the “Holy Diver” music video. The statue would be constructed of metal and placed in Prescott Park, near the waters edge. Epic, right?

Will we be able to actually make this happen? Who knows. Should it happen? You better believe it. But either way, nothing will happen if we don’t voice our support. I understand that many of you do not call Portsmouth home as I do. And I know many that do call Portsmouth home will find some reason to frown upon this idea (South End *cough* South End). But surely you all at least understand how important Dio is to everything we are passionate about in music. And based on that alone, I urge you all to sign this petition and further Dio’s immortality. Now I’m going to leave you with a couple videos: The aforementioned “Holy Diver” and his live performance of “Rainbow in the Dark” at Wacken 2004.


“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey

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