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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

Long live rock!!!!!
and, of course, Joe Lynn Turner
Dio, Dickinson, Halford, & Paul Rogers - simply the best with no room for debate or doubt !! ......... Long Live Rock n' Roll!!!
Amen brother...
Dio is the best singer of all times the fricken best
HE CAN HELP YOU KNOW HE CAN!!!!?
yea its so awesome
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.
Great music Awesome memories. ..Luv Rainbow...
Which album has death valley driver ?
kawaiisly
Good tunes to toke to
Starsstruck is a great song but their best song is stargazer
lds.rreaves
incorrect author. dave mustaine did not write rainbow's kill the king
lds.rreaves
incorrect author. dave mustaine did not write rainbow's kill the king
lds.rreaves
incorrect author. dave mustaine did not write rainbow's kill the king
s2kdriver6
I like a lot of the old rainbow, but Starstruck is NOT a good song
santoyofam5
The best band and best of thebest guitarra clásica y metal rhichi blakmore
We're not worthy!! We're not worthy!! We're not worthy!!
legalfields
Dio was such a freakin rock ICON.
His heyday is still bad as hell, and his vocal power is unmatched to this day.
Bobonit is the funniest commenter, Gogo bobo Gogo bobo Gogo bobo!! Come on every one, and rainbow rocks harder than well you know haha
Ronnie james dio has very impressing vocal
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
Rainbow only good when they had f**king Ronnie James Dio!
RAINBOW WAS THE BEST AND MISTREATED WAS REALLY GOOD LIVE
The bio mentions that their line-up and style changes confused and alienated their audience, but I enjoy it all.
I agree that the early albums were great, but I value the ones with Joe Lynn Turner just as much, if not more!
Never get tired of Dio , all my music is pleyed to be heard to , even in the dead of winter my windows are open , I actually hope I get cars next to me into it or pissed
Saw them in Brisbane, Australia in 1976. . .still love the music with RJD in front . .
You have the lyrics for another song listed on Mistreated ( Live ) from the Live from Munich disc. You posted the lyrics from Miss Misteated . That is from the Straight Between the Eyes disc
The most rock & metal stations on Pandora Radio!
I could listen to the first few Rainbow albums with Dio & Bonnet all day long. Things went awry with JLT, but I do dig a couple of his tunes.
jwelch019
Stargazer is a work of art.
kumite444
So pandora lists Kill the king as written by Dave Mustaine ..... close guys .. but wrong kill the king
ckspurgeon
one heavy rockin' jam
saw rainbow in 1979 in chicago, man on a silver mountain is the bomb!
Dio was amazing all the way until the end
I bow before Richie.
I tried to make a cross :(
RIP RJD u will always be remembered and awesome | RIP
---|---
|
Make me holy again & I'll guide you...you know I can
gloryb2him4e v e r
Saw Rainbow in 1976 Rainbow Rising tour/ Starlight Amp... Burbank, CA Awsome . The band called Mann did'nt have a prayer on that stage. Blackmore is God
kumite444
MilosDad is 100% correct. Stargazer was on a whole new level for the times. That album was one of the most important rock albums of the 70s. I still listen to it at least once a month. Miss you Ronnie!
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works.
milosdad
Stargazer... M y all time favorite Rainbow song. I really think this song altered the direction of hard rock away from its previous foundation.
Mr Blackmore, a true genius with a guitar,very underated
milosdad
Never heard the Live in Germany version of Man on the Silver Mountain. Great stuff.
no one cares their just awsome the same way ronie james dio is the heart and soul of rainbow
Bonnet was not given the boot as this says. They were recording the difficult to cure album and Blackmore wasn't showing up for sessions. They had been working on I surrender and other tracks and wanted Bonnet to at least record half the album after he threatened to leave and someone else finish the rest. He didn't think it was a good idea for the band and he graciously bowed out. He wasn't sacked and the donington gig was good he wasn't drunk. The only time he was guilty of that was the show wi
milosdad
No Stones without Jagger, no Zep without Plant. No Rainbow without Dio. I loved this band when they came out. But it was the combination of Dio and Blackmore that gave it it's special quality. Once Dio left they were nothing more than an okay band with a great guitarist.
long live ronnies memory and legacy.he truly will be missed by all of us metalheads longliverock . . . . . . a n d GOD BLESS RONNIE JAMES DIO.ROCK ON METALHEADS.M E T A L E R S RULE....
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