Following on the Ronnie James Dio Story Part 1 the Early Years, here is the sequel. The story of Elf (1970-1975), another name change. The band began to take a more professional form. There are now even regularly released LPs. The lineup now is Ronnie James Dio, vocals and bass, Doug Thaler on keyboards, Gary Driscoll on drums and David Feinstein (Dio's nephew) on the guitar.
In February 1968, the band was involved in an automobile accident which claimed the life of Nick Pantas. The accident forced a shuffling of the band member roles as original keyboardist Doug Thaler moved to guitar (after recovering from his injuries) and the group hired Mickey Lee Soule to take over keyboard duties.
(Upon leaving the group in 1972, Doug Thaler moved to New York and got a job as a booking agent — Elf was one of the bands he booked.)
Elf's self-titled debut album was produced by Deep Purple members bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice, who happened to see Elf auditioning in 1972. For the next few years, the band enjoyed mild success as an opening act for Deep Purple.
Ronnie both sang and played the bass guitar until, following the release of Elf's first album, Craig Gruber was asked to join as bass guitarist. In August 1973 David Feinstein quit the band and was replaced by Steve Edwards.
Ronnie's voice gained the attention of Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who was beginning to tire of Deep Purple and was looking for musicians to record a solo album. Apart from guitarist Steve Edwards (and percussionist Mark Nauseef), he decided in early 1975 to use the musicians in Elf for this album, and the band Rainbow was soon formed.
Though Elf had been writing and recording its third album, Trying to Burn the Sun at the same time, following the completion of that album and the Rainbow album, Elf was no more. Trying to Burn the Sun was eventually released in the U.S. in June 1975.
David Feinstein formed the heavy metal power trio The Rods, in 1980.
Although there had been occasional speculation (beginning in the late 1990s) by some of the former members about an Elf reunion, nothing formal ever took place, and with the death of Ronnie in 2010 it would lack a key member.
Two other members have also died, Gary Driscoll in 1987, and Graig Gruber in 2015.
Live! And My Soul Shall Be Lifted (1973) (bootleg)
Carolina County Ball (1974) (US title: L.A.59)
Trying to Burn the Sun (1975)
The Gargantuan Elf Album (1978) compilation of 1974 & 1975 albums
Ronnie James Dio: The Elf Albums (1991) compiles 1974 & 1975 albums
And Before Elf... There Were Elves (2011) - as The Elves features 12 songs from 'Live at the Bank' bootleg.
Ronnie James Dio – lead vocals (1967–1975), bass (1967-1973, 1975; died 2010)
Gary Driscoll – drums (1967–1975; died 1987)
David Feinstein – lead guitar (1967–1973)
Doug Thaler – keyboards (1967–1968), rhythm guitar (1968-1972)
Nick Pantas – rhythm guitar (1967–1968; died 1968)
Micky Lee Soule – keyboards, backing vocals (1968–1975), rhythm guitar (1975)
Craig Gruber – bass (1973–1975; died 2015)
Steve Edwards – lead guitar (1973–1975)
Mark Nauseef – percussion (1975)
Randy S. Thomas - bass guitar