Greatest Song of All Time: “Holy Diver” by Dio from “Holy Diver” [1983]

Here is a brand new column on GOR called the Greatest Track of All Time.  The purpose of these posts is to list and discuss some thoughts on worthy songs that are just flat-out awesome and will stay flat-out awesome forever and ever.

To get things started we should focus on the brilliance of Dio’s “Holy Diver,” a monumental and badass all-around song.  That chugging main guitar riff releases all sorts of immortal heavy metal bliss that no one can deny. It is like a bullet freight train ripping through the Carpathian mountains.

The song structure of “Holy Diver” is not at all typical; meaning, no predictable verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-verse-chorus-outro.  Instead, you get a couple variations of your typical refrain, or bridge if you will, which is one of the elements that makes this song so sick because it is done in a matter of excellence.

The vocals of the late Ronnie James Dio are insane.  Especially the high G# scream he employs at the end of the line: “Life’s a never ending wheel.”  The ad-lib “jump jump” and “look out” he tosses in the verses are also as mighty as the broad sword he wields in the music video.

The guitar solo is a sweet C-minor lick-fest performed by Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard & Sweet Savage).  Bringing the thunder is drummer Vinny Appice, Carmine’s younger brother, while Jimmy Bain administers the bass attack.  Appice and Bain provide the perfect rhythm section during Campbell’s break.

Several years ago, Killswitch Engage honored this classic with a high octane rendition of their own.  And in 2001, the nut bars at Clear Channel put this song on their crack-head list of songs with inappropriate lyrics.

On your next drive to work, be sure to smash “Holy Diver” loud and proud with the windows down.  Let out your relentless inner beast and you will have one victorious day.  Look at you sitting in front of the computer, you are already a dirty little demon destined for power and glory.

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