Playlists 101

"Kill the King" Covers

By: Frank Hill
Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2018
British hard rock band Rainbow released their third studio album 'Long Live Rock 'n' Roll' in 1978. It was the last to feature legendary vocalist Ronnie James Dio.

On that album is a song with a propulsive riff that influenced scores of power metal bands over the years--the phenomenal "Kill the King". Is it a metal song or a hard rock song? It's a judgement call, but as long as there are rock bands in the world, "Kill the King" will forever be covered.

I don't exactly know how to fly like a rainbow, but that's RJD for ya. Here's some of my favorites:

Rainbow - Kill the King (1978)
The original from 'Long Live Rock 'n' Roll'.

Heathen - Victims of Deception (1991)
Top spot for me goes to a lesser known thrash band from the late-80s who just didn't make it to the big time. I actually heard this version before the original and was so affected by their treatment that I had to get used to the sound of the original once I heard it. This one actually clocks in about a minute shorter than Rainbow's version.

Holy Grail - Seasons Bleedings EP (2011)
There's only two songs on this Christmas special release, so thank St. Nicolas that the Holy boyz put KtK on side B. Another thrashy treament, vocalist James-Paul Luna shreds the final section apart.

Metallica - Ronnie Rising Medley (4:20 in) (2014)
Bitch on about how much money they've made and prattle on about the Load/Reload/Lulu albums all you want. None of it matters, because Metallica has always done great covers and this is one.

Adrenaline Mob - Covertá (2013)
No stranger to covering Dio songs, the Mob put KtK on their all-covers release. Russell Allen's stout vocals and superior production earn them a high spot on my list.

Jorn - "Dio" (2010)
Jorn Lande went as far as name his covers album "Dio" with KtK the sole tune from Rainbow. His vocals are some of the closest to RJD on this list.

Liege Lord - Master Control (1988)
Man, this one's an all out, pedal to the floor, fire the guns, ripper!

Stratovarius - Intermission (2001)
Nice grinding guitars from these Euro-power metallers.

Cozy Powell Forever - Tribute (1998)
Minoru Niihara of Loudness and other Japanese rock and metal musicians slay this version.

Candlemass - Ashes to Ashes (2010)
Doom lords pay homage to Rainbow.

Tarot - To Live Again (1994)
This one from the Finnish power metal band might be a little tough to find in your local record store unless you have a bad ass store.

Primal Fear - Jaws of Death (1999)
Look for this one on the Jaws of Death Digipack Limited or the tribute album 'Holy Dio'.

The Reign of Terror - Sacred Ground (2001)
Power Metal Joe Stump is in there shredding high vocals

Grave Digger - Knights of the Cross (1999)
If you're a stickler for clean vocals, Chris Boltendahl's raspy growl may throw you off. You'll have to seek out the Japanese edition to get the KtK bonus.

Muro - El Cuarto Jinete (2013)
Solid version from this Spanish metal band.

Messenger - Captain's Loot
2015 cover from this German band's EP.

Commander - The High n' Mighty (1987)
Dated production suffers this version.

Rainbow - Kill The King (Live in Munich 1977)
I would feel remiss if I didn't include this concert version from their European tour in 1977. See how they played it--RJD, Ritchie Blackmore, Bob Daisley, Cozy Powell--all legends of metal with a big RAINBOW

Danger, danger, the Queen's about to kill
There's a stranger, stranger, life about to spill
Oh no, move away from harm
I need a spell and a charm

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