Ronnie James Dio was destined to be a solo star.
After years of honing his craft in Rainbow and Black Sabbath, Holy Diver made Dio a star without any major band behind him.
While the songs on his debut are iconic, not all of them were meant to be solo songs.
Before going solo, Dio had mentioned parting with Sabbath after losing creative control in the studio saying,
“Something had come to a head and it was the whole avoiding confrontation thing, which Geezer [Butler] and Tony [Iommi] specialize in. Geezer phones me and says, ‘I don’t think this is working out. We really want Tony to produce the album on his own.’ I say, ‘So if you don’t want me involved with this album, are you saying it’s over then?’ And Geezer says, ‘Well, er … yeah, I suppose so.’ It was all a device to force me out.”
During a recent interview, Dio’s widow Wendy had mentioned that the original demos of ‘Holy Diver’ were meant to be used for Sabbath saying,
“None of us realized how successful it was going to be. We really had been toying around with things and he had written “Holy Diver” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers” during the time he was in Black Sabbath, so they were supposed to be Sabbath songs.”
When Dio parted ways with Sabbath after the album Mob Rules, Wendy talked about securing him a solo deal saying,
“When he left Sabbath, we had a solo deal for him and he just put those songs [on the album] and got the band together, wrote more songs and it came out.”
Since he didn’t have to write to Tony Iommi’s riffs, Wendy discussed Dio finally blooming as a songwriter saying,
“Ronnie was unleashed and able to do whatever he wanted to do for the first time in his life. There was so much excitement and so much fun making the album and writing those songs.”
While the Dio-era of Sabbath had iconic tunes, Holy Diver laid the groundwork for power metal.