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DIO – HOLY DIVER “40 years since the release of the record, a milestone in the history of Heavy Metal”

On this day, 40 years ago on May 25, 1983, the Album “Holy Diver” was released, a landmark record in the world of Heavy Metal scene and adored by critics and the public and is probably one of “Dio’s” best works. It was just that Ronnie Jame “Dio” Padanova had left Tony Iommi’s Black Sabbath, forming his own band called “DIO”, followed by Drummer Vinny Appice, who according to Dio, was very close to him and his best friend. The lineup was completed by ex-Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain and guitarist Viavian Campbell from British New Wave Heavy Metal band Sweet Savage. In the search for a guitarist Dio had stated that he was looking for a British guitarist, it was nothing racial he just knew what sound he wanted and he liked the way they played. At that time American guitarists wanted to quickly become “Van Halen” and he didn’t like that.

Rumor has it, that Dio’s departure from both bands, Rainbow and Black Sabbath, was not in the best way. These two bands with Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi respectively wanted to make a “turn” in a perhaps commercial direction and Dio had a decision to take, stay and follow or leave, so he left, it was time to form his own band and so he did not like the idea of a solo career in any case but he was tired of others taking the decisions.

Dio having in his “possession” of interpretive masterpieces such as Stargazer, Temple of the King, Catch the Rainbow, Man on the Silver Mountain from his tenure in Rainbow as well as Heaven and Hell, Falling of the Edge of the World, Sign of the Southern Cross with Black Sabbath, Level without the oversight, lyrically, lyricist, and musically deprived of what the band and the upcoming album will be. This track is the masterpiece “Holy Diver”.

According to Dio’s words: “there was no specific formula or any theme for the Album. Each track was thematically separate. It was a collective effort. Without entering into molds, this necessarily had to be written one way or another, in a certain way by a member. Everyone wrote the way they liked, wrote what they wanted and if we all felt right with it, the song just came out.”

The cover art work for the album “Holy Diver” illustrated by Randy Berrett, shows the band’s mascot, the demon figure Muray, pulling a broken chain from a chained, possibly Catholic priest, with the latter in the water. Album artwork was meant to make people wonder “why do you have a monster choking a priest?” Dio’s response was always “how do you know it’s not a priest drowning a monster?” Dio was quick to argue that sometimes appearances can be deceiving, wanting to tell people not to “judge a book by its cover”.

Also, his wife and manager Wendy Dio, a few years after his death, stated in an interview that the songs “Holy Diver” and “Don’t talk to strangers” were written by Dio long before he created the band “DIO”, when he was still a member of Black Sabbath.

He also stated: “He had a proposal to pursue a solo career, wrote a few songs, got the band members together, put a few more songs on the album and just “came out”. What I love about this particular Album every time I listen to it, was not only the masterful pieces by legendary members, it was that the members who made it up wrote and played freely without any specific formula and without stereotypes, simply out of love for the genre and that’s what I hear on the record. No matter how many times I listen to the record, I am amazed by the vitality in Dio’s vocals, how freely and with vitality he interprets each note, how the other members hit the notes, as if they were playing… with the vitality of the first time…




Side one
No. Title Music Length
1. “Stand Up and Shout” Dio, Jimmy Bain 3:18
2. “Holy Diver” Dio 5:53
3. “Gypsy” Dio, Vivian Campbell 3:40
4. “Caught in the Middle” Dio, Vinny Appice, Campbell 4:17
5. “Don’t Talk to Strangers” Dio 4:54
Side two
No. Title Music Length
6. “Straight Through the Heart” Dio, Bain 4:35
7. “Invisible” Dio, Campbell 5:26
8. “Rainbow in the Dark” Dio, Appice, Bain, Campbell 4:14
9. “Shame on the Night” Dio, Appice, Bain, Campbell 5:29
Total length: 41:46

   Ronnie James "Dio" Padavona

July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010