DIO: Ronnie James Dio (vocals, keyboards); Vivian Campbell (guitar); Claude Shnell (keyboards); Jimmy Bain (bass); Vinny Appice (drums).
Ronnie James Dio's first solo release after departing from Black Sabbath was 1983's surprise hit HOLY DIVER, which featured such metal classics as "Rainbow In the Dark" and the riff-heavy title track. While most heavy metal bands of the '80s favored either glam or thrash, Dio specialized in "thinking man's metal." Dio was one of the first hard rock vocalists to sing in an operatic style. His lyrics also strayed from metal's beaten path, dealing not with partying and cruising for girls but with the battle for personal success and with a magical combination of swords, sorcery, dungeons, and dragons.
Dio's 1984 follow-up, LAST IN LINE, benefited greatly from MTV's airing of the video clip for the title track. Guitarist Vivian Campbell (who later joined Whitesnake and Def Leppard) establishes himself as one of the genre's top shredders of the day, while keyboardist Claude Schnell gives the music a gothic feel. The album earned Dio his second gold record (LAST IN LINE was later certified platinum), and the band was soon headlining in arenas. Highlights include the anthemic "We Rock," "Mystery," "I Speed At Night," "Evil Eyes," and the epic album closer "Egypt (The Chains Are On)."