The down low

A legacy of musical runts
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  April 30, 2009

Ronnie James Dio

Get shorty: Lady Sovereign hits new heights. By Daniel Brockman.
Lady Sovereign's first EP was named Vertically Challenged, she named her imprint Midget Records, and she's repeatedly proclaimed herself "officially the biggest midget in the game." At a towering 5'1", the S-O-V joins a long line of famous popular musicians who would probably have a hard time getting on a roller-coaster. Below are five of the more renowned Napoleonic frontpersons in recent history (in descending order, from tallest to shortest):

UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER OF ACCEPT (5'5") | This feisty German fireplug had, in his prime, the powder-keg lunacy of a man at least 5'8". Best known for the guttural adenoid bursts of the not-at-all-homo-erotic '84 hit "Balls to the Wall."

GLENN ANZALONE a/k/a GLEN DANZIG (5'4") | From his fronting the Misfits and Samhain to his solo work, the pissed-off Joisey lunkhead with the basso profundo that launched a thousand "whoa"s is living proof that you can make up in attitude what you lack in stature.

RONALD JAMES PADAVONA a/k/a RONNIE JAMES DIO (5'4") | Just as Napoleon Bonaparte (5'6") was able to crown himself emperor in an age when there weren't even phone books to sit on, so did Dio elevate himself onto the highest pedestal in metal history with not much more than a stunning voice, a wicked cackle, and a limitless ability to come up with ways to call women evil.

KYLIE MINOGUE (5'0") | Kylie proves once and for all that being a diva ain't about being tall. When the whole world is on a first-name basis with you and your hotness, you probably have a coterie of servants to get that bag of crisps off the top shelf for you.

RICHARD SHAW a/k/a BUSHWICK BILL OF GETO BOYS (3'8") | Bill and the Boys were easily the most aggressively vicious of the late-'80s gangster-rap crews, and some might speculate that Bill's nasty streak was his way of compensating for his stubbiness. Nevertheless, the venomous flow on cuts like "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" truly belies his size.

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