"Holy Diver" as written by and Michael David/hoffner Scherchen....
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

Shiny diamonds
Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue
Something is coming for you

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
The vision never dies
Life's a never ending wheel

Holy Diver
You're the star of the masquerade
No need to look so afraid

Jump on the tiger
You can feel his heart but you know he's mean
Some light can never be seen

Repeat verse 1


Lyrics submitted by zekey baby

Holy Diver song meanings
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  • +10
    General CommentQuoted from ronniejamesdio.com. Interesting point -

    "It's simply a song about things that are not always what they appear to be. You need to look at more than what the package is, you need to look inside. The cover of the album hightlights that - Dio has said many times, why is a devil drowning a priest? well, maybe it's a priest drowning a devil! Bad people don't always look bad, many times they look normal. Also, good people may not always be the ones who are prettiest on the outside.

    He's actually somewhat of a prophet - think of the more recent problems with priests misbehaving with young kids (maybe we should have Murray drown them!)

    The song just uses lots of vivid fantasy metaphors. "Ride the tiger you can see his stripes but you know he's clean" - black stripes, could be dirt, but you know a cat is clean. "Jump on the tiger you can feel his heart but you know he's mean", again the tiger has a heart, but will kill you.

    "Holy diver, you're the star of the masquerade" - again, a clear reference to something being different that what it appears to be.

    Dio just takes a pretty old, basic proverd ("don't judge a book by it's cover") and writes a cool song, with lots of vivid metaphors, that people try to deciper."
    gmouraon September 05, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General CommentHoly Diver is about Jesus Christ's descent into Hades after being crucified.

    1.Holy Diver= Jesus Christ descending into Hades, the realm of the wicked not the holy.

    2.You've been down too long in the midnight sea= Midnight sea is Hades, the absence of God, God is light so this place is void of it.

    3.Oh what's becoming of me= What are you doing here? You don't belong here, this is the realm of the wicked, you are holy, what are you planning to do to me(us)

    4.Ride the tiger= tiger is a symbol for a couple things mainly Jesus Christ, but also followers of Buddha ride tigers to show their supernatural ability to overcome evil, Shiva the destroyer rode a tiger, and also Islam believes tigers punish sinners for God.

    5.You can see his stripes but you know he's clean, Oh don't you see what I mean= Jesus Christ again, by his stripes we are healed, by his blood we are cleansed. Also they(those in hades) can see his stripes(his marks of crucifixion), the marks of a sinner, even though they all know he is clean(innocent)

    6.Gotta get away Holy Diver= You need to leave this place, you don't belong here. You are innocent this is the realm of the wicked.

    7.Shiny diamonds, like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue, something is coming for you= Jesus is a beacon of light in Hades, everyone can see him coming. Cats are a symbol of power and warfare, the black and blue is the absence of light and all encompassing pain. It stands for Hades.

    8.Race for the morning= Run to Jesus Christ he is the morning star, Rev 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."

    9.You can hide in the sun 'till you see the light, Oh we will pray it's all right= Hide in the son(Jesus Christ) until you see the light.(God the Father is the Light) we'll put our faith in Jesus that he will take us out of this place(hades) and to the light(God)

    10.Gotta get away-get away= we have to get out of here, this place sucks

    11.Between the velvet lies= velvet is gentleness or caution, often concealing strength or determination and a profit or gain beyond what is expected or due. Jesus is the velvet lie. His intentions are not clear. Satan has been fooled, he thought he had won when he had Jesus crucified, in fact he has sealed his own fate. Jesus is here to claim what's his. All the souls of the fallen that will but believe in him can now be saved from Adam until now. Remember all fell short of the glory of God but one(Jesus), this means that all the prophets of the Old Testament were not reaching heaven. Not yet, but they are now.

    12.There's a truth that's hard as steel= Truth is the word of God. Steel is the sword of Jesus's mouth Rev 2:16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

    13.The vision never dies= The vision is the law, Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. The law will never die because Jesus has finally fulfilled the law, allowing us to have eternal life with God through him.

    14.Life's a never ending wheel= Death has been defeated. 1st Corinthians 15:56 "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law." Romans *:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."


    15.Holy Diver, You're the star of the masquerade, No need to look so afraid= Jesus played the part of the sacrificial lamb, allowing himself to be crucified for our sins. He was humiliated, mocked, beaten, and crucified when in reality he was God in the flesh, the lion, and could have called down the wrath of the heavens on his enemies. He didn't, he played the part of the masquerade(fooling Satan) allowing himself to fulfill the law and save mankind.

    16.Jump on the tiger= take a leap of faith and believe in Jesus Christ.

    17.You can feel his heart but you know he's mean= Jesus is the Lamb(Love and Forgiveness) be he is also the Lion(he will judge and punish the nonbelievers)

    18. Some light can never be seen= 2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

    19.Holy Diver, sole survivor, your honor's clean= Jesus Christ the only man to not fall short of the law but instead has fulfilled it. You are innocent, your honor is restored. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and all the souls who believe in him.

    20. Holy Diver, holy diver, never cut in the middle coming after you= To have you garments cut from the waist down or your beard shaven was an insult put on someone who offended to make them appear a fool or as a slave. No one who comes after Jesus will be cut in the middle because our sins are paid in full by Jesus Christ himself.
    Nightrain50on April 15, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationRonnie did an interview on this that revealed a little bit on this, so I'm going to communicate my interpretation based on what I got out of it. -KnightofhopeX

    Holy Diver
    You've been down too long in the midnight sea
    Oh what's becoming of me

    " Holy Diver " refers to the person listening the song.
    The midnight sea are the trials of life; These are choices
    we make between good and evil. It also refers to the night time
    that our character is walking through in the song. It might be that
    Ronnie is singing to us because he feels some distress
    about the choices he's made in the past. I support this by
    saying that each line has a special meaning to him and
    " What's becoming of me " is a reflection upon one's self.

    Ride the tiger
    You can see his stripes but you know he's clean
    Oh don't you see what I mean

    Ronnie has described the tiger as your personal strength;
    And he has described the stripes of the tiger as the exterior
    of those around us. Oh don't you see what I mean? This
    is telling us not to judge a book by it's cover. We have
    to be strong and choose our allies by their character
    and despite what would seem like their flaws when
    we have a challenge to overcome.

    Gotta get away
    Holy Diver

    Again, " Holy Diver " is us. When we see the stripes
    of the tiger, our first judgement is to run. Our first
    instinct can be wrong.

    Shiny diamonds
    Like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue
    Something is coming for you

    Shiny diamonds gets explained in the very next line,
    it's the eyes of our tiger and he sees us. We know what
    we're capable of and that strength comes in accepting
    our fears and facing them. That decision is coming a little
    bit closer for us every day.

    Race for the morning
    You can hide in the sun 'till you see the light
    Oh we will pray it's all right

    Race for the morning! Obviously our character the holy
    diver is running, but this makes me think of sleep.
    Personally instead of making a decision or working to
    solve a problem, I often find myself falling asleep and
    hoping that the next day everything will turn out alright.
    This is what this reminds me of.

    Gotta get away-get away

    Still running.

    Between the velvet lies
    There's a truth that's hard as steel
    The vision never dies
    Life's a never ending wheel

    Velvet is a traditionally comfortable cloth. Here,
    velvet lies are the things we're comfortable with
    believing out of convenience or comfort we wallow in
    instead of owning up to our mistakes and anxieties.
    The truth that's hard as steel makes you think of a
    sword. Again, this is another symbol of our inner
    strength. You think of a sword or a shield, hard
    enough to stop any enemy. We can overcome.

    Now as far as the vision that never dies, I tend to
    think of visions like those diviners believe they have.
    I think of tarot symbols and predictions. We never lose
    our destiny. No matter what, we'll end up discarding the
    velvet lies and seeing what lies beneath, because it's
    already determined that it will happen at some point.

    Life's a never ending wheel. This echos the previous
    statement, but people like Ronnie who are aware of
    symbolism are reminded that spinning wheels represent
    understanding and wisdom. In a way, he might be saying
    we never stop growing or becoming more understanding. We
    might take longer or shorter to do it, but we'll understand
    our problems, our friends, our enemies, as long as we
    try to find what lies beneath those velvet lies to the
    " truth that's hard as steel ".


    Holy Diver
    You're the star of the masquerade
    No need to look so afraid

    " Holy diver ", we're about to make a realization.
    Why would we be the star? Why would we not need to
    look so afraid? Because of course we realize we're
    running from the thing that will set us free. We won't
    deny the truth anymore. We can do whatever it takes to
    go on living. We can turn and face the tiger because
    his flaws, his " stripes " don't scare us anymore.

    Jump on the tiger
    You can feel his heart but you know he's mean
    Some light can never be seen

    Jumping on the tiger is obvious, we use our inner
    strength finally and the fear is over. He feels like
    a friend but you know to anyone else he would be an
    inescapable horror. This is how we know he's mean. The
    strength of accepting flawed people and having wisdom
    that lets us look through the velvet lies, the convenient
    truths in our lives, lets face any enemy; This is an
    ally that no one can defeat in the long run. Some light
    can never be seen? The real light, the real inspiration
    of human beings comes from their hearts and minds and their
    willingness to fight. The tiger's ferocity seems terrifying
    right? But not to us. Not to the holy diver. He has all his
    talent, all the wisdom, and all his hidden strength and
    reservation of judgment to rest upon. This is the light that
    others cannot see. This light is inside of us.
    KnightofhopeXon September 26, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think the song has a meaning, just not to anyone except Ronnie himself...
    masterosokon June 03, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHey, its better than Creed. Oh Yeah!
    Mutant_Muppeton June 16, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commentkillswitch engage did an amazing cover of this song. i love them so much. i mean the cover is mind blowing. limewire it for the love of god if u havent yet.

    About the meaning of the song.

    Quoted from ronniejamesdio.com. Interesting point -

    "It's simply a song about things that are not always what they appear to be. You need to look at more than what the package is, you need to look inside. The cover of the album hightlights that - Dio has said many times, why is a devil drowning a priest? well, maybe it's a priest drowning a devil! Bad people don't always look bad, many times they look normal. Also, good people may not always be the ones who are prettiest on the outside.

    He's actually somewhat of a prophet - think of the more recent problems with priests misbehaving with young kids (maybe we should have Murray drown them!)

    The song just uses lots of vivid fantasy metaphors. "Ride the tiger you can see his stripes but you know he's clean" - black stripes, could be dirt, but you know a cat is clean. "Jump on the tiger you can feel his heart but you know he's mean", again the tiger has a heart, but will kill you.

    "Holy diver, you're the star of the masquerade" - again, a clear reference to something being different that what it appears to be.

    Dio just takes a pretty old, basic proverd ("don't judge a book by it's cover") and writes a cool song, with lots of vivid metaphors, that people try to deciper."
    ChaDMcBaDDon August 28, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Commentsongfacts.com/…

    Here are song facts for this particular song and album. This song has nothing to do with addiction, but here we go again...people trying to link lyrics with addiction where they shouldn't be linked.
    DeborahJeanon June 09, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is about christ like figure but not where you would really expect it. Ronnie James dio said it himself in a interview on the Metal : a headbanger's journey double dvds set. It's not a violent song.

    On the album you can see a priest who is bond in chain about t drown and you can see a monster holding a broken piece of chain sugesting that he killed the priest. But who is to say that the moster is not a priest and the priest is not a monster. The song Holy diver had been banned after the 9/11 event because it was deemed to be inapropriate to sing at the time. It was also saw as a violent song.Which really pissed off dio.
    Bast1981on September 10, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentKillswitch engage did a badass cover of this song at one of their concerts i was at. it was fucking awesome.
    BalefullyBenignon April 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDunno why people can't have a legitimate positive opinion or thought without getting gnashed on these days. : / If that's how you feel about music, don't even bother listening to it.
    KnightofhopeXon October 20, 2009   Link

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