In February 1968, the band was involved in a car accident which claimed the life of Pantas. The accident forced a shuffling of the band members with Thaler moving to guitar (after recovering from his injuries) and Mickey Lee Soule assuming keyboard duties. By 1972, Thaler moved to New York and got a job as a booking agent; Elf becoming one of his clients.
Now with a truncated name, Elf's self-titled debut album was produced by Deep Purple members Roger Glover and Ian Paice, who saw Elf auditioning in 1972 and for the next few years, Elf enjoyed mild success as an opening act for Deep Purple.
Dio sang and played the bass guitar until, following the release of the first album, Craig Gruber was asked to on bass. August 1973 saw Feinstein quit the band to be replaced by Steve Edwards. In 1974, Elf released their second album, Carolina County Ball. That same year, Dio was asked by Glover to sing on his solo album, The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast. Dio'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. With guitarist Steve Edwards and drummer Mark Nauseef (ex-Velvet Underground), in 1975, Blackmore decided to use the musicians of Elf for this album, resulting in the formation of Rainbow and ending Elf. Elf's last album, Trying to Burn the Sun, which was in the process of being recorded at the time, would eventually be released posthumously in 1975. A reunion was proposed in the 1980's but nothing came of it.