Born as James Stewart Bain in Newtonmore, England (UK) on 19 December 1947. He played bass guitar in several amateur bands as a teen. When his family emigrated to Canada, he joined them for a short while, before joining the band Harlot, after turning down a job with the Babys. He was asked to join Rainbow after Ritchie Blackmore saw him play at the Marquee in London. He was sacked in January 1977 and toured Europe with John Cale.
In 1978, he formed the band Wild Horses. After releasing two albums and a change of lineup, the band dissolved. Jimmy then started working with several other artists in the studio, such as Roger Chapman, Roy Harper and Gary Moore. In 1982, he played bass guitar for Kate Bush on the tracks Get Out Of My House, Leave It Open and Sat In Your Lap.
In 1983, he teamed up again with ex-Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio to form the band Dio. He co-wrote several songs in the band, working on all their Eighties albums. In the autumn of 1989 he formed a band called World War III with vocalist Mandy Lion, but the project floundered after just one album.
In his later career, Bain toured with Hollywood Allstarz, a supergroup featuring a number of 1980s metal stars. The group has included former members of Giuffria, Quiet Riot, and Lynch Mob. In 2013, Bain formed Last In Line, a line-up of original songwriters and performers on the early classic Dio albums - excluding singer Freeman. They intended to play gigs and to perform those songs. While on a tour with that band, supporting Def Leppard, during a cruise, Bain died in his cabin on January 23, 2016. Band members informed fans on the cruise that he had been battling pneumonia for some time. The cause of death was determined to be lung cancer. Bain had not been diagnosed with cancer and was only aware of his pneumonia.
Kate about Jimmy Bain
(...) the funny thing is you’ve got Jimmy Bain, who was in Rainbow, and is in Wild Horses. He seems to play on all the crazier tracks. I think, what I enjoyed again about this album was each track has got a very different mood to it, really, or groups of tracks have got different moods, and it was nice to use people, almost specifically, for what they were very good at, and I always think of Jimmy as being a really super rock’n’roll bass player, which isn’t meant to be detrimental, because I think it’s great, actually. Because what those songs needed that he was on was a very simple, very driving bass that was going to keep the whole thing going, without being distracting, or too full. And Jimmy was just right for that, really. So he worked on the three tracks that I would definitely say are the rockiest, the most up-tempo, perhaps the most aggressive. (...) I met him when I just bumped into Phil Lynott in a recording studio. (...) This was at The Townhouse, and I was there to just look over the studio, because that’s where I wanted to work, and Phil was actually going to give me a weekend of his time that he wouldn’t be using, so I just went in to check out that it would be OK. And he was doing a really far-out vocal at the time… (The Dreaming interview, CBAK 4011 CD, 1982)