When Metal Ruled the World, Dio was King!

When Metal Ruled the World, Dio was King!

When I put the question of what artists to feature in this series to our readers here at The Retroist, a name kept appearing like a shining beacon through a steel hued haze of demonic miasma, chanted by a chorus of voices a thousand strong (o.k., it was two readers, angela(toao) and MZA, but I assure you they shouted it really loud)! That name? Dio!

As I mentioned before, Def Leppard’s Rock of Ages was the prototypical metal video, but 1983 was a year fraught with all things heavy, and while Rock of Ages was like the video equivalent of a comic book version of a yarn from Weird Tales, Dio’s Holy Diver was the equivalent of 80’s sword and sorcery fare such as the Roger Corman produced Deathstalker series, or D’Amato’s Ator the Fighting Eagle, as it presented barbaric action filmed with grit on an ultra-low budget.

So what does the video contain? Let’s see: Dio fights an overweight dude who turns into a pile of rats, there’s a demon shadow superimposed over lava, an unimpressed blacksmith, evil eyed creatures in robes, and branches…lots and lots of branches. But, you know what the video contains the most? Pure Awesome!

Dio was one of metal’s finest voices. A true talent that was taken away from us too soon, and while the video may be low budget; it does nothing to diminish the quality of the song or the legend that sang it. Check it out here and relive a time when metal was the world, and Dio it’s king!

Until next time, Stay Spooky!

Daniel XIII

Daniel XIII: equally at home at a seance as he is behind the keyboard! Raised on a steady diet of Son of Satan comics, Kaiju flicks and Count Chocula, ol' XIII is a screenwriter, actor, and reviewer of fright flicks! What arcane knowledge lurks behind the preternatural eyes of the Ouija Board Kid?

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Thanks! I’m having a great time working on this series, and I can’t wait to do up that Alice Cooper piece you suggested!

  2. I hate to be an idiot, but what does it mean? I’ve always wondered and no one can tell me.

  3. If you’re an idiot, so am I because I have never had a clue what Holy Diver means, even though I love the song! Maybe some one can comment and tell us both!

  4. I have no confirmation on this but I remember talking to a friend of mine about this who was a DIO fan and he said that it was a reference to Satan’s fall from heaven or something like that. Anyone else heard something like this?

  5. That would fit with the overall theme of the album. Some of the lyrics make it sound like it’s about someone that uses religion as a cover for all of their evil deeds…Well, time to listen to the track again for more research!

  6. My favorite Ronnie James Dio memory is finding this album in the Goodwill, bringing it home and my jaw hitting the floor when I heard it:


    A little different than what we are used to…

  7. Elf is a weird time in Dio’s career for me. You can hear so many elements that would continue to develop in his vocal style, but the music itself is lightyears away from what he would do solo and with Sabbath. Thanks for sharing this!

  8. I’m not sure of the meaning of the song, but if you check out the cover of the album that may be a clue that “someone that uses religion as a cover for all of their evil deeds” may be dead on. Regardless, awesome song, awesome band, awesome singer. One of the “chorus of thousands” thanks you!!

    Another Suggestion: How ’bout Iron Maiden’s mascot “Eddie” throughout the 80’s? My parents hated those album covers, so they must be spooky cool.

  9. Yeah, the cover definitely backs up that claim I think! Thanks for suggesting this song (and Eddie from Maiden…that’s got to happen as well)!!!

  10. If you jump from Elf to Rainbow, there is quite a bit of style continuity, even though I don’t think he had any say with Ritchie Blackmore running the show with an iron fist. Say what you want about Blackmore, he could really pick out good vocalists.

  11. I agree with you about Blackmore 100%, he may have been a tyrant, but he got results with his aesthetic choices…

  12. A classic song, for certain.
    Interestingly, it was put on a “do not play” list after 9-11. It’s hard to see a reason why though, the only thing I can see is that the attacks were supposedly part of a HOLY war, and if you stretch it enough you might argue that the planes DOVE into the buildings. *shrug* That’s the best explanation I can come up with.


  13. Whoa, I had no idea! That is insane, but those were insane times for sure…

  14. There’s a lot of odd choices on that list (walk like an egyptian?), and some equally odd omissions (I’m amazed they didn’t ban ozzy’s “fire in the sky”).

  15. Yeah, I agree…pretty much every song on that list is a stretch at best…

  16. Another great retro rewind, Daniel!

    Dio really rocked our teen world.
    He had the powerful vocal presence to take over Ozzy’s big, big shoes in Sabbath, and gave the band a second life (for which I was very grateful).

    Loved the Mob Rules album (and its inclusion in the Heavy Metal movie).
    Apparently, during touring with Black Sabbath at that time, he popularized the ‘metal horns’ hand thing that became the Masonic signal for fellow metal-heads for years.

    But yeah, the Holy Diver album really cemented his status as a metal god.
    We welcomed its thunderous clamor and sword-swinging imagery with sweaty open arms.

    Great lookback on the Metal Years.
    And I believe the man would be proud of that glorious illustration that tops the page!
    It’d be on the next album cover.

  17. I’m so glad you liked the article!! I’m honored beyond words that you think Dio himself would have liked my illustration!!!

  18. I have a feeling that Holy Diver is about addiction, in one form or the other. Maybe religious addiction, or drug addiction. Either way, it’s one of my favorite tunes.

  19. I am inclined to agree with that analysis as well!

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