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As far as Greatest Hits compilations go, the earlier they are, the more coherent they tend to be. “Diamonds: Best of Dio” is pretty much Dio’s We Sold Our Souls for Rock and Roll, containing all of the most successful and well known of his early years before he went into his more experimental mode in the mid 1990s. It is chronologically ordered (minus the placement of “Hide in the Rainbow”) and thus it listens fairly smoothly and lacks the abrupt switches in style or sound that many greatest hits compilations tend to have.
As with any compilation, I was drawn to it when I first bought it because it had songs on it that I lacked, those being the Lock up the Wolves songs and “Hide in the Rainbow” from the Iron Eagle soundtrack. As I still have yet to procure a copy of the Iron Eagle soundtrack, this album has not completely outgrown its usefulness; hence it is not a completely pointless purchase for even the more rabid Dio fans that probably were only lukewarm to the other stuff on the Iron Eagle soundtrack.
However, much as is the case with “We Sold Our Souls for Rock and Roll”, I have a complaint about the songs that were selected. The conventional wisdom at this point in time (1992) amongst the Dio faithful was that Vivian Campbell was what defined Dio, thus in the interest of keeping the fan base happy, the Dream Evil stuff (which is superior to all the Vivian Campbell era stuff in my view) has been given the shaft and most of the compilation is dominated by the first 3 albums. I’m sorry, but “All the Fools Sailed Away” and “Sunset Superman” were far greater songs than “Hungry for Heaven”, and the fact that the former was good enough to be adapted to the music video form confirms my suspicions. Much as the famed Black Sabbath compilation of 1976, this compilation is a reflection of a mindset that robs the history of Dio of perspective. Craig Goldy was responsible both for keeping Dio’s most successful tour (Sacred Heart tour) from collapsing halfway through and was twice the showman that Vivian ever was, but apparently that counts for little according to the old guard of Dio purists.
As for who this album is geared for, it would mostly be old fogies who only have Dio albums on tape or vinyl and can’t afford to repurchase the entire discography on CD. Younger fans that are getting into Dio and want to do research are encouraged to pick up a copy of the “Stand Up and Shout Anthology” as it is far more comprehensive than this and doesn’t rob anything from Craig Goldy’s invaluable contributions to Ronnie’s career. This one is slightly less expensive, and it is a better listen than the vast mountain of pointless Dio Greatest Hits albums out there that are seemingly thrown together at random, but it is woefully incomplete.