Holy Diver is a landmark track that title the landmark debut album through the tape Dio, front by well known Rainbow and Black Sabbath vocalist Ronnie James Dio. The tape was additionally made up by vinny Appice (drums), Vivian Campbell (guitar), and Jimmy Bain (bass). The album has been compliment by critics and also fans alike as a classic staple in the heavy metal genre.

You are watching: What is the song holy diver about

The monitor that ended up specifying the band, and also pretty lot the remainder of Ronnie James Dio’s career, was created by RJD himself and was among the very first songs he created after leaving black color Sabbath in 1982.

The break-up with black Sabbath had not to be a good one, and also his tenure in Rainbow had also ended sourly. Rainbow was Ritchie Blackmore’s band, and when he want to change to a much more commercial direction you might follow along or leave. Dio left. Similarly, Sabbath was pretty much Tony Iommi’s band, and also would at the finish of the day acquire his way there together well.

RJD knew one thing: his following band would certainly be his. The was tired of other people calling the shots.

Some that Dio’s many memorable songs approximately that point had been grandiose, huge-sounding and also epic – such as “Stargazer” (Rainbow) and also “Heaven and also Hell” (Black Sabbath) – and Dio felt another song of that form was essential again to collection a particular baseline because that what the new band and the comes album to be going to it is in like.

Vinny Appice, who left Sabbath to follow Dio come a new project, ended up demoing songs v RJD prior to the other members to be in place. Holy Diver was among those at an early stage songs, through RJD adding some bass and basic guitar. It was an evident winner.

With songs prefer that in their ago pocket, they collection about in search of other tape members to finish the puzzle. It occurred pretty organically – Jimmy Bain had played base in the best version the Rainbow, and also he to be the one that recommended Vivian Campbell.

When the complete version of the band obtained to hear and attempt the demo the Holy Diver, the band leader could not have actually been an ext happy with how it come out. He later on said the everybody “did wonderful points with it and also made it come lively the way we understand it today”.

There to be no particular formula or ide planned because that the album. It to be all about what the musicians would certainly come up with when they started working ~ above the songs. While it clearly was RJD’s band, it to be a collaborative one. Castle all wrote what they want to write, and also if the felt good, it ended up being a finished song. This method the song on the album space individual stories fairly than being component of a bigger whole. There are of food red subject running v the album musically and thematically, by method of gift made by the very same guys during a specific time.

The an interpretation of the Holy Diver song has actually been lengthy debated. If girlfriend look online, there are many theories outlined. Several of them watch the tune as describing Jesus Christ’s descent right into Hades after gift crucified. Others mention it possibly being about astral projection, about purity as opposed to false righteousness, around Satan’s own descent into Hell, or simply – if you want a much more meat-and-potatoes concept – about Dio’s frustration through the stifling absence of an innovative control he had actually felt towards the end of his tenure in black color Sabbath (and the feeling of betrayal about being fired indigenous the band).

Ronnie liked writing lyrics the were open to different interpretations. He was happy come make world think, which in turn made it end up being their own songs. “I compose for them,” he would certainly say. “Use friend imagination. Do it your own. When it’s out there, it’s no longer specifically mine.”

Holy DiverYou’ve been down too long in the midnight seaOh what’s coming to be of me?Ride the tigerYou deserve to see his stripes yet you know he’s cleanOh don’t you view what i mean?Gotta get awayHoly Diver

For that reason Dio seldom explained any kind of of his songs. Once specifically asked what the song was around by Banger in 2004, he chose to open up up a bit. “Holy Diver is a spiritual song, based upon a religious attitude. <…> The song divine Diver is really about a Christ number who in an additional place – not planet – and who has done precisely the exact same there as we reportedly experienced ~ above Earth. He passed away for the sins of guy on that various other far and distant earth so that mankind there can be cleansed, begin again, and do things appropriately this time. The human being on this world are calling that the “Holy Diver” because he is about to walk to an additional place to one more planet, dive into an additional world, to carry out what the did first on our world – save human being from the sins or absolve castle from their sins by having actually himself killed.

“The civilization are speak to him, ‘don’t go, no no no.’ The innuendos that tigers and stripes, hearts and also being eaten and also you’ll die, every come from that. The tiger symbolizes strength, while its stripes suggest impurity. The present “Ride the tiger. You have the right to see his stripes but you know he’s clean” means that you have to take benefit of the strength you have and also not referee the heart of others by what seem to it is in impurities. These stripes – in the package it comes in.”

Between the velvet liesThere’s a reality that’s hard as steel, yeahThe vision never ever diesLife’s a never-ending wheel

“The tune was supposed to display just how selfish humanity is. The this one type of humanity on this one people said ‘no no no, don’t go down there and also save anyone else. Remain here. We require you. You’re ours.’ That’s what that track was about.”


Only when the song were done did lock start occupational on the visuals and also overall presentation of the album and also project. This consists of the controversial album cover. That was straightforward decision to name the album after the Holy Diver song, and also the artwork finished up showing a adversary figure drowned what looks choose a priest. Lock knew this would certainly stir things up, but Dio knew that would offer him plenty of opportunities to define what it was about.

The artwork on the Holy Diver album was supposed to have world ask the concern “why execute you have a monster drowned a priest?” Dio’s an answer would be, “how carry out you understand it’s no a monk drowning a monster?”

The entirety idea to be to look beyond appearances, in ~ what’s within the package, prior to making up your mind about what things room like. Look at the heart and the heart of the person before you blame to them for something that you don’t see. Dio got plenty of possibility to gain into that, therefore the controversial angle functioned well from the perspective. He would likewise later point out “controversy sells as well, and also sometimes you need to be a businessman”.

See more: Why Can The Sphenoid Bone Be Called Keystone, The Axial Skeleton Flashcards

The track was released together the lead single from the album in august 1983, and also although it only reached number 40 ~ above the Mainstream absent chart at that time, it has never been forgotten and is a clip on standard rock radio come this day. The is easily one the the most popular songs the its genre from the 1980s.