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Rainbow In The Dark by Dio

Album: Holy DiverReleased: 1983
  • One of the great depression metaphors, in this song lead singer Ronnie James Dio is feeling isolated and trapped, unable to release the tremendous potential inside him - like a rainbow in the dark. Dio has mentioned his time as Black Sabbath lead singer as inspiration for the lyrics; he felt "alone and rejected" when he left the band. Along with Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice, he formed Dio in 1983.
  • Along with "Holy Diver," this is one of Dio's most popular songs. It's heavy on keyboards, which helped make the song more accessible to a Pop audience, something Van Halen did with great success on their album 1984.
  • VH1 named this #13 on their list of the Greatest Metal Songs. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Michael - Toledo, OH
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Comments: 14

The title and the lyrics actually sound like it could be an anti-Richie Blackmore song. Much in the way Deep Purple's "Bad Attitude" is. I mean everyone seems to have negative things to say about Richie and a "Rainbow" in the dark makes sense. I remember Tony Carey once being quoted as saying that if Richie's shirt was on fire, "I wouldn't tell him."John Michaelson - East United States
I was publisher of OnlyMusic Magazine (OM, their work and how great those songs STILL make you feel. Magazine) from 1984-1987 and had the chance to know RJD and his wife Wendy, as well as Jimmy Bain. Jimmy was a crazy dude and I loved all of them. RJD loved life, loved his fans and loved what he did for a living. I never saw him down, he was always talking how he was the luckiest person in the world to get up every day and create what he did. Truly a grateful man if I ever did see one. Beyond humble. I also got to speak with Claude Schnell who played keys on the 1984/1985 tour, and talked with his longtime manager Angelo. All I can say is music lost one of the greatest music angels when he died, and Jimmy is a great loss as well. The stories he could tell about Richie Blackmore were priceless. Who, except Wendy, will ever know the meaning of his part of the song (co-writers include Vinny, Vivian and Jimmy, remember) but what a song. Daunting to think of the legends we will lose in the next few decades, but remember them, their work and how great those songs STILL make you feel...they will be proud!Kirt - Houston, Tx
Ronnie's lyrics don't mean s--t, it's just a lot of random stuff about rainbows and dragons and being transgender.Ensign - Swindon, United Kingdom
Briny - are you bored of your life and in so much of a rut that you make s--t up about heavy metal?
Get a life.
Luke - Manchester, United Kingdom
Rainbow in the Dark is about several things simultaneously. Mainly it is about a closeted gay man's struggle with his feelings of isolation. Many surmise that it is specifically about Dio's "close" friend Rob Halford, the lead singer for the metal band Judas Priest, and Dio's feelings for him, i.e., "the love that dare not speak its name." For example, in the second verse Dio says:

"You're a picture - just an image caught in time
We're a lie - you and I
We're words without a rhyme"

This is about the hours Dio spent gazing adoringly at Rob on the cover of Unleashed in the East. Dio was commenting on the photograph, for one thing, but also the fact that "Dio" and "Halford" do not rhyme, which continued to bother him throughout his career. The rumor about him wanting to cut the song stems from his frustration at being unable to write a verse with both his and Halford's name in it, but simply couldn't come up with a way to rhyme the two.

The lyric "No sign of the morning coming" refers to Dio being awake at night, restless with thoughts of his friend, and looking out the window for a "sign" or some indication of the morning coming. Needless to say, he did not see one. It is well known that Dio never owned a clock or watch, and so the only way for him to tell time was by checking the sun's position. At night, he was left to restlessly watch for a sign of the morning coming" so he'd know to take a shower and get ready for work.

The second line of the chorus, "You've been left on your own" refers to Dio's feeling that Halford had been left on his own by society, forced to indulge his leather fetish under cover of a popular metal band.

And finally, the 3rd line of the chorus, the title, "like a rainbow in the dark" refers to someone being like a rainbow in the dark, i.e. something that makes absolutely no sense. In this way, Dio was trying to tell his friend that hiding in the closet made no sense. At the same time, he acknowledges that he (Dio) is no better, for he too hides, just like a "rainbow in the dark."

In a larger sense, this is a reference to the old Baptist spiritual "This Little Light of Mine" where the singer promises not to "hide my light under a bushel, NO, I'm gonna let it shine." A rainbow, that is to say, a proud gay man, can't be a rainbow if he is constantly in the darkness. He needs to be himself out in the light of day, in order to truly respect himself. Only then will he be able to find love, and happiness.
Briny - Beantown, Ma
Rodney's lyrics expose something deep within. There was a constant search for a greatness he could not comprhend. Heaven and Hell were literally on his mind. It is as if he could not flee the presence of the Lord which was the source of his gift. "Rainbow in the Dark" What a profound statment. A sign given to man by the creator, and a mans purpose trapped in the abyss of Rodney's soul. I know his keyboardest, Scott Warren, and another friend of Dio's that were at his bedside when he died. Dio's last jesture on earth was one where he finally heard the call to Heaven, and acknowledge his merciful creator as his Lord, then fell back with a smile and a wave, then passed into his true destiny.Charles - Lancaster, Ca
RIP RJD. Like his music or not, this guy was METAL. And by all accounts of everything I've ever read or heard about him, he was a genuinely nice guy.Jeff - Austin, Tx
RIP Ronnie James Dio, you will surely be missed. The originator of the 'horns' \,,/Eric - Lorton, Va
im surprized that they though this sound was to "poppy" i mean listen to the lead singer....nuff said. go dio!Luke - Saint Augustine, Fl
RJD nearly sliced the tapes because he thought the song was 'too poppy'. The other members of Dio convinced him to keep the track, which is one of Dio's most popular songs to date.John - Vilseck, Germany
One of Dio's greats. More general audience based, due to the more pop sound compared to some of their other works.Hayden - Tka, New Zealand
This is the Greatest Dio song ever.Trey - Kalamazoo, Mt
This is an absolutely amazing song but i noticed the lyrics to it, were completely wrong..without question so i took it apon myself to submit correct ones to the best of my abbility, enjoyAndrew - Adelaide, Australia
Wow.... what can you say about the lyrics to this song? A very sad sounding song but also beautiful.Jon - Oakridge, Or
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