Jimmy Bain, Former Bassist for Rainbow and Dio, Dies at 68

Fin Costello/Redferns
Rainbow posed backstage at the Forum in Montreal, Canada on 10th November 1975. Left to right: keyboard player Tony Carey, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Jimmy Bain, drummer Cozy Powell and vocalist Ronnie James Dio.

Jimmy Bain, who played bass for Rainbow, Dio, and – most recently – Last in Line, has died. Vivian Campbell, bandmate to Bain in Dio and Last in Line (and guitarist for Def Leppard), shared the sad news on Facebook on Sunday, Jan. 24, though Bain’s cause of death has not been confirmed. Bain was 68.

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“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.”

“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. 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 continued.

“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,” he said.

Bain was born in Scotland in 1947 and played in several local bands. He got involved in the London music scene in the ‘70s with the band Harlot before joining Rainbow, alongside Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio. His time with Rainbow was short-lived, but he played on the studio album Rising as well as the live album On Stage.

Throughout his career, Bain also worked with Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott, Scorpions, and Wild Horses -- a band which he fronted -- among others.

Bain regrouped with Ronnie James Dio in the ‘80s to perform with him in the band Dio. He took part in the group’s debut studio album, Holy Diver, as well as The Last in Line, Sacred Heart, Dream Evil and the live album Intermission. He left the band in 1989, only to rejoin them again for the albums Magica and Killing the Dragon a decade later.

As of late, Bain was performing with Last in Line, and the band was scheduled to play on Def Leppard’s Hysteria on the High Seas cruise (at sea from Jan. 21 to 25). Rolling Stone points out that Campbell shared a rehearsal clip on Facebook on Jan. 18.

Megadeath’s Dave Mustaine, Motorhead’s Phil Campbell, former Guns N’ Roses member Matt Sorum, Halestorm's Lzzy Hale and various other artists paid tribute to Bain on social media upon hearing the news of his death.