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Rainbow

The brainchild of former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, Rainbow quickly developed into one of the '70s most successful heavy metal bands behind charismatic front man Ronnie James Dio. Together, the duo would produce a string of acclaimed albums which are still considered classics of the genre. But the group would change their musical approach numerous times following the singer's departure, eventually confusing and alienating much of their audience. Releasing eight albums during it's decade long run, the band finally came to an end when Blackmore departed to rejoin his old Deep Purple comrades in a full-fledged reunion in 1984. And while the impact of Rainbow's influence has faded with the intervening decades, theirs was a crucial chapter in the development of heavy metal and hard rock.

Disillusioned and fed up with the chaotic state of Deep Purple in the mid-'70s, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore made the stunning announcement in May of 1975 that he was quitting the group he had founded and led for over seven years in order to start from scratch. Teaming up with up-and-coming American vocalist Ronnie James Dio, Blackmore built Rainbow around the singer's former band Elf, minus their guitarist David Feinstein. Featuring bassist Craig Gruber, keyboard player Mickey Lee Soule, and drummer Gary Driscoll, the group's 1975 debut Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow was quickly embraced by European fans and yielded their first hit single, "Man on the Silver Mountain." Blackmore and Dio were dissatisfied with the album's sound, however, and decided to re-vamp Rainbow (by then sufficiently established to do without Blackmore's name) by drafting bassist Jimmy Bain, keyboard player Tony Carey, and former Jeff Beck Group drummer Cozy Powell. It was with this lineup that they entered Musicland studios in February 1976 to record the landmark Rising opus -- once voted the greatest heavy metal album of all time in a 1981 Kerrang! magazine readers' poll. Capturing Blackmore and Dio at the peak of their creative powers, Rising chronicled both the guitarist's neo-classical metal compositions at their most ambitious, and the singer's growing fixation with fantasy lyrical themes -- a blueprint he would adopt for his entire career thereafter. Following its release, the band embarked upon a successful world tour, culminating in a sold out European jaunt which spawned a best-selling live album entitled On Stage, released in 1977.

By the time they returned with the equally acclaimed Long Live Rock'n'Roll album in 1978 (featuring bassist Bob Daisley and keyboard player David Stone), Rainbow had established themselves as one of Europe's best-selling groups and top concert draws. But the volatile relationship between Blackmore and Dio had already begun to deteriorate, as the American-born singer became increasingly frustrated of standing in the guitarist's shadow -- even in his own country, where the group was now fully committed to breaking big. To make matters worse, Blackmore had been so impressed with "Long Live Rock'n'Roll"'s success as a single, that he began to consider altering the band's sound in order to pursue a more mainstream hard rock approach (a direction which Dio wanted no part of). A chance meeting with Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath (only recently divorced for good from unreliable front man Ozzy Osbourne) helped the singer make up his mind, and Dio officially quit Rainbow in early 1979 to join the Sabs.

Finding a suitable replacement for the charismatic singer proved a serious dilemma, and when Blackmore eventually recruited former Marbles vocalist Graham Bonnett, his decision came with an all-around re-tooling of Rainbow's sound, not to mention, once again, the band's membership, which now included former Deep Purple cohort Roger Glover and keyboard player Don Airey. With the release of 1979's Down to Earth, gone were the mystical themes and epic metal compositions, replaced by a more streamlined commercial hard rock style. But despite containing two of Rainbow's biggest singles, "All Night Long" and "Since You've been Gone" (the second, written by former Argent singer Russ Ballard), the album sputtered in stores, selling far less than the group's previous, Dio-fronted efforts. Bonnett also failed to meet Blackmore's lofty expectations on stage, and after a single, disastrously drunken performance at the inaugural Castle Donington Monsters of Rock Festival in the summer of 1980, the singer was unceremoniously given the boot.

Once again strapped for a vocalist, Blackmore found his man in American singer Joe Lynn Turner, who along with new drummer Bobby Rondinelli signaled a true career rebirth for Rainbow. Wishing to shed the group's overblown, Dio-associated Euro-metal sound of days past once and for all, the new Rainbow lineup was made to order for another bid at widespread acceptance in America. The first product of this new direction, 1981's well received Difficult to Cure helped the group regain some of their momentum and yielded their highest-charting single ever, another Russ Ballard-penned track entitled "I Surrender." In fact, the record's title track -- a sprawling, ten-minute metallic blitzkrieg through Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 -- was the only throwback to Rainbow's highbrow metal origins. Released in 1982, Straight Between the Eyes failed to chart any successful singles, however, and the band's appeal began to nose-dive, along with Blackmore's increasingly uninventive, risk-free song writing. 1983's Bent out of Shape (featuring new members in keyboard player David Rosenthal and drummer Chuck Burgi) fared no better, and after accepting the fact that Rainbow's best days were behind them, Blackmore finally relented to take part in the long-rumored and hoped for re-formation of Deep Purple's classic Mark II lineup. Typically, the guitarist refused to go out quietly, and Rainbow were backed by a full symphony orchestra for their final March 1984 performance in Japan.

A posthumous live release, entitled Finyl Vinyl, was compiled in 1986, and though he would briefly resurrect the Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow moniker after quitting Purple for the second time in 1994 (even recording an album called Stranger in Us All"), this incarnation would be short-lived. Blackmore was last heard from performing with his purported fiancé Candice Night in the medieval folk duo Blackmore's Night. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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The guitar on mistreated so freaking awesomeeeeee e e r e
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I grew up playing one of 17 Deep Purple albums of my mothers , in the house of hell ! They where all burned up in a 2009 fire , that same mother started ! The albums was the largest loss of my life time so far ! Deep Purple for life !
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Rock n roll !!!!!!
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Rainbow,nice jamming memories. Before school. lol
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I AM THE MAN ON THE SILVER MOUNTAIN. -Bus 8
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STONE COLD. . .LUV this song reminds me of my youth. AHH, BITTERSWEET.
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awesome song! memories
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Tarot woman is an excellent song. Stargazer is the ultimate in metal. Beautiful
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Stargazer one of the best metal songs of all time!!
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Hi April
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Killer band man
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Takes me back in time. . everytime :)
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Luv ya Dio... Stone Cold one of my favs... Now this a Classic! !! Rock On Everyone
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long live dio
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Saw these guys n Dallas 1978 SMU auditorium could not hear for three days great concert Ronnie and Richie the best
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jackiemywife 7 1 2
life time fan nothing else to say......... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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You rocked live Ronnie. Miss the live shows !!!!!!
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Unreal live
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try to run...try to hide...from all the things i keep inside.
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Man On The Silver Mountain! !! Miss and luv ya Dio RIP. ...
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Oh ya.R.Blackmo r e . R . D i o and Co.Hell ya.
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gates of hell sweet Babylon. the best American Britain got to offer RAINBOW
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bubbanik
Saw Rainbow live in 85...Richie just plain rocks!
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To my beautiful wife Lorraine swisher from your loving husband Keith
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Love ringtone hope there will be a reunion
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Rainbow rocks! if you like DIO and arent old enough or just havent heard rainbow listen!
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RIP DIO! !
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Long live rock!!!!!
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and, of course, Joe Lynn Turner
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Dio, Dickinson, Halford, & Paul Rogers - simply the best with no room for debate or doubt !! ......... Long Live Rock n' Roll!!!
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Amen brother...
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Dio is the best singer of all times the fricken best
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HE CAN HELP YOU KNOW HE CAN!!!!?
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yea its so awesome
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Jonnieb.well said.Richie Blackmore is bad 2 the bone.but yes Made In Japan is classic D.Purple.Oh ya by the way.R.J.Dio. . . . . . I t s classic earth shacking rock.In the early 70s thru mid 80s had the opt 2 c countless bands.the most clear the most demanding rockers.Deep Purple...... i t is all good.
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Great music Awesome memories. ..Luv Rainbow...
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kawaiisly
Good tunes to toke to
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Starsstruck is a great song but their best song is stargazer
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lds.rreaves
incorrect author. dave mustaine did not write rainbow's kill the king
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lds.rreaves
incorrect author. dave mustaine did not write rainbow's kill the king
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lds.rreaves
incorrect author. dave mustaine did not write rainbow's kill the king
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s2kdriver6
I like a lot of the old rainbow, but Starstruck is NOT a good song
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santoyofam5
The best band and best of thebest guitarra clásica y metal rhichi blakmore
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We're not worthy!! We're not worthy!! We're not worthy!!
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legalfields
Dio was such a freakin rock ICON.
His heyday is still bad as hell, and his vocal power is unmatched to this day.
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Bobonit is the funniest commenter, Gogo bobo Gogo bobo Gogo bobo!! Come on every one, and rainbow rocks harder than well you know haha
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Ronnie james dio has very impressing vocal
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RJD is deep in my soul but so is Richie, I love all of Rainbow even with out RJD but yes Dio years were the best
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Rainbow only good when they had f**king Ronnie James Dio!
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RAINBOW WAS THE BEST AND MISTREATED WAS REALLY GOOD LIVE
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