Jimmy Bain, bassist for Dio and Rainbow, passed away this weekend. He was 68. Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell, who performed with Bain in Dio and their new band Last in Line, confirmed the bassist’s death on Facebook. “It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I must confirm the news of the passing of our dear friend and Last In Line band mate, Jimmy Bain,” Campbell wrote. “It was Jimmy who gave me my first big break in the music industry and for that I am forever indebted.”
No cause of death was provided. “Jimmy’s struggles with his demons were well documented through the years, but over the last 18 months he had finally won that battle and he was bright and lucid and motivated throughout the writing and recording of the new record,” Campbell continued. “He leaves behind him a rich legacy of work from Rainbow, through Wild Horses, Dio, and finally, Last In Line. Jimmy was immensely proud of our new album and his input to it was immeasurable. He was a very kind and gentle and generous soul and our lives were greatly enriched for having known him. We will continue to celebrate his life through his music.”
Born in Scotland, Bain played in several Scottish acts before heading to London in the Seventies to perform in the band Harlot. Soon after, the bassist was recruited by former Deep Purple member Ritchie Blackmore to join that guitarist’s Rainbow alongside singer Ronnie James Dio. Bain’s yearlong tenure with Rainbow spanned one studio album – 1976’s Rising – and the group’s 1977 live LP On Stage.
Throughout his career, Bain also performed with John Cale, Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott, Scorpions, Gary Moore and Bain’s own group the Wild Horses. In 1981, the bassist reunited with the former Rainbow vocalist in Dio, starting with that band’s landmark 1983 debut Holy Diver; Bain is listed as co-writer on four of that album’s nine tracks, including their classic “Rainbow in the Dark.”
Bain remained a member of Dio for the heavy metal act’s first four albums (1984’s The Last in Line, 1985’s Sacred Heart, 1987’s Dream Evil) as well as their 1986 live album Intermission. Bain – along with Dio members drummer Vinny Appice and keyboardist Claude Schnell – left the band in 1989; a decade later, Bain would rejoin Dio for 2000’s Magica and 2002’s Killing the Dragon.
Recently, Bain had been performing in Last in Line, featuring his Dio bandmates Appice and Campbell. The band was scheduled to be on the Def Leppard’s Hysteria on the High Seas cruise that runs from January 21st to the 25th. On January 18th, Campbell posted video of Last in Line rehearsing in Miami in preparation for the Def Leppard Cruise. It’s unclear if Bain was aboard the ship at the time of his death.
Several members of the metal community remembered Bain on social media following his passing, including Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, who tweeted, “Jimmy Bain has passed away. I’m saddened by the loss of my friend. David [Ellefson, Megadeth bassist] & I were very close with Jimmy. Godspeed.”
Motörhead’s Phil Campbell added, “Jimmy Bain was a true musician and songwriter. He was involved and wrote more than you probably imagine.”