Yesterday (December 8th) marks a very tragic and dark date in rock and roll history! It is the day that both John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell Lance Abbott were gunned down by deranged fans, 24 years apart. Tonight we pay tribute to two fallen rock heroes, taken from us, way too soon!
First up, we lost the great Dimebag Darrell (Pantera, Damageplan) on Dec. 8th, 2004. Dime is definitively one of, if not the most, influential metal guitarists of the last 25 years! And another guitarist on that list, the mighty Zakk Wylde of Ozzy’s band and his own Black Label Society, was close friends with Dime and the two had collaborated together over the years. And Zakk like the rest of us was devastated by the loss of Dime. So much so that he pays tribute to him with a Black Label song called “In This River”. Zakk has also stated that every single time he plays a show, he will play it and “it will never leave the Black Label set.”
“In This River” is a song off of Black Label Society’s sixth studio album Mafia that was released in March of 2005. And again it is a common misconception that Zakk wrote the song as a tribute to his close friend “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott after he was killed, when in fact, he wrote the song many months prior to the incident, and began dedicating the song to him in all BLS live sets.
Dimebag stated in various interviews over the years that his riffs were largely influenced by Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. He also influenced his guitar tone and tunings. Pantera covered three Black Sabbath songs “Planet Caravan”, “Hole in the Sky” and “Electric Funeral” and they were on a few Ozzfest tours and even performed live with the Prince of Darkness himself and Zakk Wylde! Zakk also appeared on the one and only Damageplan album New Found Power. Dime also cited the late great Randy Rhoads as an influence and it can be heard in his playing as well. He once stated that another of his influences, Eddie Van Halen was heavy rock and roll, but Randy… was heavy metal! \,,/
The legendary John Lennon, singer, songwriter, musician, artist, activist, and of course co-founder of the Beatles, the most commercially successful and musically influential band in the history of popular music! He along with Paul McCartney are hailed as the greatest songwriting team in recorded history! Sadly Lennon was shot and killed on 8 December 1980. The Metal Godfather Ozzy Osbourne has claimed that his life was changed after hearing The Beatles song ‘She Loves You’. He says it changed his life forever, and at that point he knew what he wanted to do with his life, he wanted to be the singer in a band.” To this day he claims that he owes his career to the Fab Four and they heavily influenced his music over the years. He also admitted that the song he wished he had written the most was ‘I Am the Walrus’ by the Beatles. “John Lennon was so great with words,” he explained. “He had an amazing way of turning out ridiculous lyrics but making them sound interesting and clever. “Sometimes I like more straightforward lyrics, but at the same time, I’m a fan of lyrics that do a number on my head.”
On his 2005 Under Cover album he recorded versions of The Beatles “In My Life” along with John Lennon’s “Woman” and “Working Class Hero” and he helped mark what would have been John’s 70th birthday in 2010 by releasing a cover of his 1971 song, How?, with all the proceeds going to Amnesty International. It was available for purchase on iTunes only. And the accompanying music video, shot on the streets of New York, follows Ozzy all dressed in black and carrying a bouquet of purple flowers. He walks to the Lennon memorial in Central Park, where he lays the flowers beside the word Imagine. Ozzy has stated several times that John Lennon’s “Imagine” (from the same album as “How?”) was an inspiration for his own song “Dreamer”. Especially in the lines, “You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope some day you’ll join us, And the world will be as one.” And In the liner notes to his Prince of Darkness box set, he confirms that.
“Dreamer” is the third track from Ozzy’s 2001, Down to Earth album, released October 2001.
Watch Ozzy and Jack Osbourne Visit Cuba’s John Lennon Statue on an episode of Ozzy and Jack’s World Detour