|Ronnie James Dio||vocals, bass|
|Gary Driscoll||drums, percussion|
|Mickey Lee Soule||piano|
After recovering from the car crash and getting new pianist to replace Doug Thaler, the band changed their name from The Elves to Elf. They played at clubs, colleges and bars looking for a record contract. Roger Glover and Ian Paice of Deep Purple happened to see them auditioning for Columbia in January 1972 and offered to produce an album for them.
In April 1972 the band went with those two Deep Purple members to record an album at Studio One in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The studio sessions yielded band's first LP and it was called simply Elf. After the release of it, the band played as the support band for Deep Purple on at least two US tours; August - September and November - December 1972. However, those dates aren't necessarily fully correct, Elf may've toured with Deep Purple at other dates, too.
|Ronnie James Dio||vocals|
|Mickey Lee Soule||keyboards, vocals|
After losing Feinstein in early 1973, the band got a new guitarist, as well as a new bassist. Ronnie James Dio had decided to quit playing bass and concentrated only on singing. Besides playing keyboards, Mickey Lee Soule also began singing with Ronnie.
In the summer of 1973, Elf signed a new record contract with MGM Records in USA and with Purple Records in the UK. In early 1974 the band travelled to UK to record their second album at The Manor Studios. It was produced by Roger Glover and was called Carolina County Ball. However, the USA release was under different name, L.A. / 59, and had totally different sleeve. The reasons behind the name change are not known.
After release of Carolina County Ball, Elf toured supporting Deep Purple on their UK tour in April-May 1974. At the same time Ronnie James Dio and Mickey Lee Soule participated also Roger Glover's solo project called Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper's Feast. Ronnie sung three songs on that album.
In the summer of 1974 Elf travelled to USA to support Deep Purple on their US tour. At least some of the shows featured also Aerosmith - this happened at least in August 1974 at Dillon Stadium in Connecticut, USA.
Elf also went to studio with Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple to record a single called Black Sheep Of The Family. Besides Elf, there were other musicians, for example keyboardist Matthew Fisher from Procol Harum as well. The song was supposedly originally written by a band called Quartermass.
After some time Blackmore contacted Ronnie James Dio and asked if he would be interested in doing another track together with him. Ronnie wrote a song in the same night and went to record it with him. The song was called Sixteenth Century Greensleeves. It was meant to be released as a B side for the Black Sheep Of The Family, but for some reason the single was never released - the version of Black Sheep Of The Family on the first Rainbow album should differ from the original version at least to some extent. Existence of an acetate of the original recording has been rumored, but at least this far no-one has come up with one.
Right after the recording of Sixteenth Century Greensleeves Blackmore asked Ronnie whether he and rest of the Elf would be interested in putting a band together with him. Elf was supposedly already recording Trying To Burn The Sun at this time, and they decided to form Rainbow right after the album was recorded.
|Ronnie James Dio||vocals|
|Mickey Lee Soule||keyboards|
After Elf recorded Black Sheep In The Family with Ritchie Blackmore, they returned back to UK in early 1975 with one new man, Mark Nauseef, who had joined the band in December. Elf went to record their third album at Kingsway studios, again with Roger Glover as producer.
After recording the album, Elf splitted up immediately, even before the album was actually released. Mark Nauseef left on his own and guitarist Steve Edwards was fired, since the band formed Rainbow with ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Blackmore had followed the recording process of the third Elf album but he didn't play on it, despite some rumors at that time.
This third album, Trying To Burn The Sun, was not released in the UK because the band wanted to avoid a clash with the first Rainbow album which was released shortly after the release of Trying To Burn The Sun in the USA. There are some rumors around about a live album, simply titled as "Elf Live", that should've been released in 1976, but those rumors have not been confirmed as no-one seems to have a copy of it.
Trying To Burn was the first album where Ronnie James Dio used his second name. He started to use it when Blackmore once asked him 'What's your second name? Why don't you use it as a part of your name?'
This page is maintained by Tapio Keihänen,
The page has been updated on 13.05.1999
Biography URL: http://www.dio.net/biography/, the front page http://www.dio.net/.