Rainbow is without a doubt one of Heavy Metal’s superbands, Founded by Deep Purple’s Richie Blackmore. In this line up the band had Ronnie James Dio as the leader singer. “Catch the Rainbow” is by far their best song.
Yet another highlight from Rainbow’s debut album, the song is about a small, but weird, love story.
As explained by Ronnie James Dio in a 1975 radio special:
“Catch the rainbow is lyrically medieval in that it’s concerning a stable boy who makes it with a lady of the court. She sneaks off to sleep on his bed of straw every night and they think it’s all going to work but as we rudely find out, it never does and they kind of go their own way, but it’s a track that I think Ritchie and I are very proud of.”
[Verse] When evening falls She’ll run to me Like whispered dreams Your eyes can’t see Soft and warm She’ll touch my face A bed of straw Against the lace
[Chorus] We believed we’d catch the rainbow Ride the wind to the sun Sail away on ships of wonder But life’s not a wheel With chains made of steel So bless me Come the dawn Come the dawn Come the dawn Come the dawn
[Chorus] We believed we’d catch the rainbow Ride the wind to the sun And sail away on ships of wonder But life’s not a wheel With chains made of steel So bless me, oh bless me, bless me Come the dawn Come the dawn Come the dawn Come the dawn
Ronnie James Dio said the lyrics are about a Christ figure on another planet who sacrifices himself to redeem his people. When the people learn that he intends to leave them to save people on other planets, they selfishly ask him to stay.
[Intro] Mhhh-hm-hmm Yeah, yeah
[Verse 1] Holy Diver You’ve been down too long in the midnight sea Oh, what’s becoming of me? Ride the tiger You can see his stripes but you know he’s clean Oh, don’t you see what I mean? [Chorus] Gotta get away Holy Diver, yeah
[Verse 2] Got shiny diamonds Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue Something is coming for you, look out! Race for the morning You can hide in the sun ’til you see the light Oh, we will pray it’s all right
[Chorus] Gotta get away, get away
[Bridge] Between the velvet lies There’s a truth that’s hard as steel, yeah The vision never dies Life’s a never-ending wheel, say
[Verse 3] Holy Diver You’re the star of the masquerade No need to look so afraid Jump, jump; jump on the tiger You can feel his heart but you know he’s mean Some light can never be seen, yeah! [Guitar Solo]
[Verse 1] Holy Diver You’ve been down too long in the midnight sea Oh, what’s becoming of me? No! No! Ride the tiger You can see his stripes but you know he’s clean Oh, don’t you see what I mean?
[Chorus] Gotta get away, get away Gotta get away, get away, yeah
[Outro] Holy Diver, sole survivor You’re the one who’s clean Holy Diver, Holy Diver There’s a cat in the blue coming after you, Holy Diver Oh, Holy Diver Yeah, alright Get away, get away, get away Holy Diver, Holy Diver Oh, Holy Diver Mhhh-hmmm-hmmm
When you hear “Love is all” you are probably more reminded of something the Beatles may have done rather then a bunch of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal artists. Yet that is exactly who were involved in the creation of this beautiful, colourful even fairytale like tale and melody.
The song was released in 1974 and was written and composed by Jon Lord of Deep Purple and Eddie Hardin of the Spencer Davis group. The song was taken from the concept album “The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast” which featured artists like David Coverdale(Whitesnake) Glenn Hughes(Deep Purple & Black Sabbath) Les Binks(Judas Priest) Jon Lord(Deep Purple) and many more.
In 1973 Roger Glover left Deep Purple because of work pressure and tensions between him and Ritchie Blackmore. Together with Jon Lord he worked on a solo project. Their plan was to make a rock opera based on William Plomer and Alan Aldridge’s book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast , in itself based on the eponymous poem by British historian William Roscoe.
Eddie Hardin wrote the song Love Is All based on a song featured in The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast named Love’s all you need, which was inspired by The Beatles’ song All You Need Is Love (1967). The song was sung by Ronnie James Dio, although the single was credited to Glover. The B-side was Old Blind Mole/Magician Moth.
I always presumed that the song had been a global hit, but it only reached the no 1 position in the Dutch and Belgian charts.
The song came with an animated music video featuring a guitar playing frog gathering animals in the forest for the upcoming ball. The animation was created by the Halas and Batchelor studio and one of the animators was Harold Whitaker. The video received a lot of airplay over the decades, particularly as a fill-in during technical difficulties, such as on the French TV channel Antenne 2, and in the United States in children’s TV programs such as The Great Space Coaster and Nickelodeon morning shows. Those random airings, together with the psychedelic tone of the clip and the lack of subtitles, made it very popular amongst young viewers.
In 1980, the video was featured on the Australian music show Countdown, and the song entered the Australian Top 10.The video was also used regularly as an interstitial program on Australia’s ABC TV.
The song was covered by Sacha Distel in 1976. In 2002, Flemish singer Dana Winner released a cover version. Other artists who covered the song have been Gonzales (2008), Keedz (2010) and Playing for Change (2013).
If Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll, and if Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, then surely Ronnie James Dio must be the King of Heavy Metal. Not only was he the front man in bands like Rainbow, Black Sabbath,Dio and Heaven & Hell, he is also the one who popularized the sign of the horns in heavy metal.
He claimed his Italian grandmother used it to ward off the evil eye (which is known in Italy as malocchio). Dio began using the sign soon after joining the metal band Black Sabbath in 1979. The previous singer in the band, Ozzy Osbourne, was rather well known for using the “peace” sign at concerts, in an attempt to connect with the fans, Ronnie James Dio wanted to similarly use a hand gesture. However, not wanting to copy Osbourne, he chose to use the sign his grandmother always made. The horns became famous in metal concerts very soon after Black Sabbath’s first tour with Dio. The sign would later be appropriated by heavy metal fans.
Ronald James “Dio” Padavona was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Italian-American parents from Cortland, New York. His family moved to Portsmouth from Cortland as part of his father’s service in the U.S. Army during World War II, and they resided there for only a short time before returning to Cortland. Ronnie James listened to a great deal of opera while growing up, and was influenced vocally by American tenor Mario Lanza. His first formal musical training began at age 5, learning to play the trumpet. He participated in his high school’s band program.
It was also during high school that he formed his first rock-n-roll band, The Vegas Kings, which would later be named Ronnie and the Rumblers and then Ronnie and the Red Caps.
Dio’s musical career began in 1957, when several Cortland, New York musicians formed the band, The Vegas Kings. The group’s lineup consisted of Dio on bass guitar, Billy DeWolfe on lead vocals, Nick Pantas on guitar, Tom Rogers on drums, and Jack Musci on saxophone. The band changed its name to Ronnie and the Rumblers. In 1958, the band again changed their name to Ronnie and the Redcaps. Musci left the band in 1960, and a new guitarist, Dick Botoff, joined the lineup. The Redcaps released two singles: The first single was “Conquest”/”Lover” with the A-side being an instrumental reminiscent of The Ventures and the B-side featuring DeWolfe on lead vocals. The second single was “An Angel Is Missing”/”What’d I Say” featuring Dio on lead vocals for both tracks.
Explanations vary for how Padavona adopted the stage name “Dio”. One story is that Dio was a reference to mafia member Johnny Dio.
Another has it that Padavona’s grandmother said he had a gift from God and should be called “Dio” (“God” in Italian), although this was debunked by Padavona’s widow, Wendy, in a February 2017 interview. Padavona first used the name on a recording in 1960, when he added it to the band’s second release on Seneca. Soon after that the band modified their name to “Ronnie Dio and the Prophets”. The Prophets lineup lasted for several years, touring throughout the New York region and playing college fraternity parties.
In the history of metal, there are good singers and then there are legends – vocalists who are identifiable with the first note of song. Dio’s operatic vibrato was unmistakable and extremely versatile. His was a voice that could sooth like a soul crooner one minute and roar like vengeful tyrant the next. Even when he was embellishing tunes with melodic interjections like ‘alright,’ ‘yeah’ or ‘ooooohh-oooohhhh,’ he loomed high above most vocalists of his era – even though he stood at just about five-feet-four-inches tall.
In 1974, Dio sang on the Roger Glover conducted and produced concept album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast. Along with other guest-singers, the album featured Deep Purple alumni Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale. Dio provided vocals for the songs “Homeward”, “Sitting in a Dream”, and the single Love Is All
But of course we all will remember him for his Heavy Metal work and especially that from the band named after him’Dio’. I think it is safe to say that there is no such thing as a bad Dio song.
Unfortunately he died on May 16,2010 from stomach cancer.
Vital Signs is a 1984 album released by one of my all time favourite bands Survivor. I was a bit reluctant to buy the album because Survivor had changed singers, from Dave Bickler to Jimi Jamison. However it turned out to be one of their best albums.
On it there was a track called “It’s the singer not the song” and I actually forgot how good that album and that particular track were.
I also think it is a true statement that a good singer makes the song. I was never a great Bob Dylan fan but I like a lot of his songs , sung by other singers.
This blog is a tribute to some of the finest Rock singers, well at least in my opinion. So sit back, relax and enjoy.
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