King Diamond Biography
King Diamond is a Danish heavy metal musician and vocalist, who has had an exciting career spanning over three decades, and still continues to be active. His latest album, ‘Give Me Your Soul…..Please’ which earned a Grammy nomination, is amongst the most critically reviewed records from his varied and impressive discography. He first came into the limelight as a heavy metal songster when he teamed up with ‘Mercyful Fate’ and soon after embarked on a career as a soloist. He was instinctively attracted to heavy metal after listening to pioneers like Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath), and Ian Gillian (Deep Purple). During the early phase of his career, he performed with some local Danish bands before joining forces with ‘The Brats’. ‘The Brats,’ which comprised of the quintet of Diamond, Michael Denner (guitar), Hank Shermann (guitar), Kim Ruzz (drum), and Timi Hansen (bass) metamorphosed into ‘Mercyful Fate’. The heavy metal band created waves throughout Europe by releasing classics such as ‘Don’t Break the Oath’ and ‘Melissa.’ Mercyful Fate disbanded eventually and Diamond has been on his own since then. He produced a series of solos in the 1980s and 1990s, including ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘The Eye,’ ‘Into the Unknown,’ ‘Dead Again,’ ‘The Graveyard,’ ‘Voodoo,’ ‘Fate,’ and ‘In the Shadows’. However, Diamond’s first three solo albums, ‘Fatal Portrait’, ‘Abigail’ and ‘Them’ are regarded as his best by popular choice.
- King Diamond was born as Kim Bendix Petersen on 14th June 1956 in Hvidovre Municipality, a suburb in Copenhagen, the Danish capital. During the early years of his life, Diamond developed a penchant for offbeat musical genres—heavy metal, black metal, and hard rock.
- Heavy metal and hard rock luminaries, David Byron, Arthur Brown, Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne, Ian Gillan, and Alice Cooper influenced him profoundly.
- King Diamond’s professional career took off in 1974 when he signed up with the Danish music band, ‘Brainstorm’ at the age of 18.
- After attending a live show of Alice Cooper, he was hugely impressed by the wild, frenzied antics and the outlandish make-up of the band, and decided to emulate the bizarre style. Consequently, he left Brainstorm to join ‘Black Rose’, a local band, in order to have his way with expressing himself the way he wished.
- Kind Diamond was in his elements as long as he performed with ‘Black Rose’ staging bizarre acts. Eventually, he felt that he had outgrown the need to contribute to Black Rose and in 1980 he joined forces with ‘Brats’, a hardcore punk music band.
- Diamond’s teaming up with ‘Brats’ proved to be a turning point in his career. However, ‘Brats’ comprising the quartet of King, Timi Hansen, Hank Sherman, and Michael Denner, soon split up. Diamond then paired up with Hank while Michael and Hansen bonded up to establish ‘Danger Zone’.
- It was providential that the ‘Brats’ foursome were reunited when Diamond helped out Michael Denner with Danger Zone’s demo act following a request by the latter. Brats morphed into ‘Mercyful Fate’ and became a quintet with the induction of Kim Ruzz, a drummer.
- 'Curse of the Pharaohs,’ one of the first demo recordings by Mercyful Fate went on to become a smash underground hit. Mercyful Fate inked a deal with Ebony Records, an UK label, in 1982 and released three singles, ‘Metallic Storm’, ‘Black Funeral’, and ‘Walking Back to Hell’.
- Mercyful Fate released their debut EP in September 1982, endorsed by the Dutch label, Rave-On-Records. Recording for the EP which remained untitled was completed in a record two days.
- Roadrunner Records signed a recording contract with Mercyful Fate in July 1983 and released the band’s first album titled ‘Melissa’ in October that year. The record which was well received by the fans played a key role in enabling the heavy metal band to shed their ‘underground’ tagging.
- In 1984, Mercyful Fate recorded and released an album named ‘Don’t Break the Oath’ which was actually a sequel to ‘Melissa’. The excellent reception of the album encouraged the band to set off on a musical tour of the US. The quintet eventually disbanded owing to ego clashes between Diamond and Sherman.
- King Diamond set about constituting his own self-titled band following his departure from ‘Mercyful Fate’—a group where he had truly evolved as a heavy metal singer. Timi Hansen (bassist) and Michael Denner (guitarist) from Mercyful Fate, Mikkey Dee (drummer), and Floyd Konstantin (guitarist) were members of the new band fronted by Diamond. Floyd Konstantin was soon replaced by Andy La Rocque of EF Band as the former failed to meet the lofty expectations of King.
- King Diamond’s first solo recording’ ‘No Presents for Christmas’ was released in 1985 during Christmas while the album, ‘Fatal Portrait’ was launched in April 1986. The album, unlike Diamond’s recordings with Mercyful Fate, steered clear of satanic and outlandish themes.
- ’Fatal Portrait’ not only was lapped up by steadfast fans of Mercyful Fate but also facilitated King in creating his own fan base. Diamond’s second solo venture, ‘Abigail’ released in 1987 was his first fully thematic album that offered his fans a spine-chilling experience.
- Michael Denner and Timi Hansen parted ways with Diamond after the release of ‘Abigail’ and were replaced by Pete Blakk and Hal Patino respectively. King recorded his next concept album, ‘Them’ with his newly reformed band, which went public in 1988. The publishing of the record was followed by a tour.
- Long-time band member, Mikkey Dee also left much before the subsequent album ‘Conspiracy’ could be recorded but his replacement, Chris Whitemeier fell short of expectations. Hence Mikkey was requested to stay on till the completion of the recording. ‘Conspiracy’ was a full-concept record that was a follow-up to ‘Them’.
- Snowy Shaw replaced Mikkey Dee as drummer in 1990. King Diamond’s ensuing record, ‘The Eye’ that was launched in the same year on October was his final recording for Roadrunner Records. Soon after, Pete Blakk and Hall Patino were dropped from the band. King migrated to the US and settled down in Dallas, Texas.
- The original lineup of Mercyful Fate regrouped (excepting Kim Ruzz, the drummer) and Metal Blade Records sponsored the release of the first album of the reorganized band, ‘In the Shadows’. A musical tour ensued after the album release. In May 1994, another album, ‘TIME’ was recorded and launched by the reconstituted group.
- King came up with a solo record, ‘The Spiders Lullaby’ in September 1994 with a refurbished lineup of instrumentalists. A Mercyful Fate album, ‘Into the Unknown’ was brought out in 1996 followed by a Diamond solo, ‘The Graveyard’. In 1997, King released his record ‘Voodoo’ that was succeeded by the recording ‘Dead Again’ for Mercyful Fate.
- In 1998, King left on a US tour with his band and was typified by full-scale staging where an actress was hired for premiering the shows. In that very year, Diamond did a repeat tour of the US with Mercyful Fate.
- King recorded his next solo, ‘House of God’ in 2000 which won rave reviews and established for the umpteenth time that he had retained his vocal as well as musical acumen over the years. Diamond, in the very same year, released a rehearsal with ‘Black Rose’ that took place two decades back.
- King Diamond released a sequel to Abigail, ‘Abigail II: The Revenge’ in 2002 that was followed up by the launch of ‘The Puppet Master’ in 2003 which was one of the most scintillating albums to be released by King. In 2007, King released ‘Give Me Your Soul….Please’ in 2007 which was the last major album to be launched by the heavy metal specialist.
- Mercyful Fate’s self-titled debut EP was critically acclaimed by the underground media, earning them an opportunity to record the songs, ‘Evil’, ‘Satan’s fall’, and ‘Curse of the Pharaohs’ for the BBC rock show in April 1983. The EP established the band as an upcoming one to reckon with and helped them create a name for themselves in the heavy metal scenario.
- Diamond King was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008 under the category, ‘Best Metal Performance’ for the number, ‘Never Ending Hill.’
- Diamond King married the Hungarian singer, Livia Zita who contributed as a supporting vocalist for the albums, ‘Give Me Your Soul….Please’ and ‘The Puppet Master’. Livia gave birth to a son in 2017 who was named Byron.
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