Dio – Holy Diver

Dio – Holy Diver – Meaning of the song

 

At its surface, this song is about Satan, and his descent to Hell. According to Dio, there’s a lot more to it, and the main character isn’t really The Devil.

 

“The song ‘Holy Diver’ is really about a Christ-figure, who on another place, not Earth, has done exactly the same as we’ve apparently experienced or were supposed to have experienced on Earth: dying for the sins of man so that man can start again and be cleansed and do it properly,”

 

“So, the same thing happened on this other far-distant planet, and all the people on this planet are calling him the Holy Diver because he’s about to go to another world to do what he did to the first: absolve them from their sins by having himself killed. And the people are saying to him, ‘Don’t go,’ with innuendos of tigers and stripes and hearts and being eaten. It was meant to show just how selfish humanity is, that this one form of humanity on this one world said, ‘No, don’t go down there and save anybody else. Stay here, we need you, you are ours.”

 

The malevolent imagery in this song is something that goes along with the genre. “If you’re gonna write a gothic song, you’re probably not gonna write it about how your love affair broke up,” Dio said:

“So, your subject matter becomes a little bit more narrowed and certainly evil is a great subject – evil is dark, evil is something that we know about but don’t understand why it happens, and we don’t really ever meet up with the devil. So it’s kind of having to use your own imagination. The themes around evil are just so much more cognizant to the music that we make because minor keys are so prevalent in most metal music. It’s hard to write a song in an entire minor key and talk about nice things. In my case, I’ve done it differently. I’ve always tried to be someone who has warned people that there is good and there is evil, and that you have a choice, and your best choice is probably not to be evil. This is what evil can do to you, this is what evil has done to the people that I know. It depends on your perspective of evil though. I mean, drugs are evil, too much indulgence in bad things is evil. Hanging around with evil people is gonna beget you to be an evil person. These are the themes that I’ve tried to deal with in a darker way. Not to say that the devil is lurking around the corner – I’m not one of those that goes to that kind of extreme. I think that has been a problem that people have taken metal music to that extreme socially. I have tried never to do that.”

 
 

Holy Diver – Lyrics

 

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?

 

Gotta get away

Holy Diver

 

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 ’till you see the light

Oh we will pray it’s all right

 

Gotta get away, get away

 

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

 

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!

 

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?

 

Gotta get away, get away

Gotta get away, get away, yeah

 

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

Hmm hmm hmm

 

Dio – Holy Diver – Live

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