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Rainbow / Elf Bassist Craig Gruber Dies at 63

Craig Gruber
Fin Costello / Redferns, Getty Images

Sad news to report as Craig Gruber, bassist in the Ronnie James Dio groups Elf and Rainbow, passed away on Tuesday, May 5, at the age of 63 after battling prostate cancer.

The band Elf started out as the Electric Elves in 1967 before becoming the Elves in 1968 and eventually just Elf in 1972. Originally, the legendary Ronnie James Dio handled both vocals and bass duties, but in 1973, Craig Gruber took over the bass position as Dio concentrated on vocals, and appeared on two of Elf’s albums — 1974’s Carolina County Ball and 1975’s Trying to Burn the Sun.

When Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore formed the band Rainbow, he not only recruited Dio as the singer, he tapped most of Elf to flesh out the group. Gruber appeared on the band’s first album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, but was let go along with the other members of the band, except for Dio, after the release of that debut disc.

Gruber went on to perform with legendary guitarist Gary Moore. He also would form the band Bible Black with fellow former Rainbow member Gary Driscoll.

The bassist most recently had been a member of the bands Raven Lord and Zvekan before passing away.

We’d like to send our condolences to Craig Gruber’s family, friends and bandmates during this difficult time.

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