13 Things You Might Not Know About Dio's 'Holy Diver'

By Dave Basner

May 25, 2017

On May 25, 1983, Dio released their classic debut album, Holy Diver. To celebrate the record’s 34th anniversary, here are 13 things you might not know about it:

1. Singer Ronnie James Dio wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the album and produced it too.

2. The album cover features the band’s devil-looking mascot, Murray, whipping a chain at a priest who is bound by chains in a turbulent ocean. However, Ronnie once pointed out that appearances are misleading and the cover could just as well depict a priest killing a devil.

3. If you turn the cover upside-down, the word “Dio” could be read as “die” or “devil,” but Dio has said that is just a coincidence.

4. The album’s lyrical theme is one of good vs. evil.

5. The title track, which was the album’s first single, only made it to number 40 on rock charts but was one of the band’s most popular songs.

6. Following the September 11th attacks, “Holy Diver” was placed on a list of tracks with inappropriate titles. 

7. The lyrics of “Holy Diver” are about Revelations 12:9, which describes Satan being cast to the earth.

8. “Rainbow in the Dark,” the second single from the effort, peaked at number 14 on the rock charts.

9. “Rainbow in the Dark” is about an inability to release tremendous potential, and Dio once said it was inspired by his time fronting Black Sabbath

10. Ronnie wanted to cut “Rainbow in the Dark” from the album, thinking it was too poppy and didn’t belong on the album. The rest of the band persuaded him that wasn’t the case.

11. The original vinyl release had a photo montage in the liner. It included pictures of Ronnie during his time with both Rainbow and Black Sabbath.

12. If you recognize the riff in the song “Caught in the Middle” it’s because guitarist Vivian Campbell used the same one on the 1983 song “Straight through the Heart” with his band Sweet Savage.

13. The album was certified Gold for sales over 500,000 in 1984, then Platinum for sales over one-million copies in 1989.

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