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Rainbow

The brainchild of former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, Rainbow quickly developed into one of the'70smostsuccessful heavy metal bands behind charismatic front man Ronnie James Dio. Together, the duo would produce astringofacclaimed albums which are still considered classics of the genre. But the group would change theirmusicalapproachnumerous times following the singer's departure, eventually confusing and alienating much of theiraudience.Releasing eightalbums during it's decade long run, the band finally came to an end when Blackmore departed torejoin his oldDeep Purplecomrades ...read more

The brainchild of former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, Rainbow quickly developed into one of the'70smostsuccessful heavy metal bands behind charismatic front man Ronnie James Dio. Together, the duo would produce astringofacclaimed albums which are still considered classics of the genre. But the group would change theirmusicalapproachnumerous times following the singer's departure, eventually confusing and alienating much of theiraudience.Releasing eightalbums during it's decade long run, the band finally came to an end when Blackmore departed torejoin his oldDeep Purplecomrades in a full-fledged reunion in 1984. And while the impact of Rainbow's influence has fadedwith theinterveningdecades, 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 madethestunningannouncement in May of 1975 that he was quitting the group he had founded and led for over seven years inorderto startfrom scratch. Teaming up with up. and-coming American vocalist Ronnie James Dio, Blackmore built Rainbowaroundthesinger's former band Elf, minus their guitarist David Feinstein. Featuring bassist Craig Gruber, keyboard playerMickeyLeeSoule, and drummer Gary Driscoll, the group's 1975 debut Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow was quickly embraced byEuropeanfansand yielded their first hit single, "Man on the Silver Mountain." Blackmore and Dio were dissatisfied with thealbum'ssound,however, and decided to re-vamp Rainbow (by then sufficiently established to do without Blackmore's name)bydraftingbassist Jimmy Bain, keyboard player Tony Carey, and former Jeff Beck Group drummer Cozy Powell. It was withthislineupthat they entered Musicland studios in February 1976 to record the landmark Rising opus -- once voted thegreatestheavymetal album of all time in a 1981 Kerrang! magazine readers' poll. Capturing Blackmore and Dio at the peak oftheircreativepowers, Rising chronicled both the guitarist's neo-classical metal compositions at their most ambitious, andthesinger'sgrowing fixation with fantasy lyrical themes -- a blueprint he would adopt for his entire career thereafter.Followingitsrelease, the band embarked upon a successful world tour, culminating in a sold out European jaunt which spawneda best-selling live album entitled On Stage, released in 1977.By the time they returned with the equally acclaimed LongLiveRock'n'Roll album in 1978 (featuring bassist Bob Daisley andkeyboard player David Stone), Rainbow had establishedthemselvesas one of Europe's best-selling groups and top concertdraws. But the volatile relationship between Blackmore andDio hadalready begun to deteriorate, as the American-born singerbecame increasingly frustrated of standing in the guitarist'sshadow-- even in his own country, where the group was nowfully committed to breaking big. To make matters worse,Blackmore hadbeen so impressed with "Long Live Rock'n'Roll"'ssuccess as a single, that he began to consider altering theband's sound inorder to pursue a more mainstream hard rockapproach (a direction which Dio wanted no part of). A chancemeeting with TonyIommi of Black Sabbath (only recentlydivorced for good from unreliable front man Ozzy Osbourne) helpedthe singer make uphis mind, and Dio officially quit Rainbowin early 1979 to join the Sabs.

Finding a suitable replacement for the charismatic singer proved a serious dilemma, and when Blackmoreeventuallyrecruitedformer Marbles vocalist Graham Bonnett, his decision came with an all-around re-tooling of Rainbow'ssound, not tomention,once again, the band's membership, which now included former Deep Purple cohort Roger Glover andkeyboard playerDonAirey. With the release of 1979's Down to Earth, gone were the mystical themes and epic metalcompositions, replaced byamore streamlined commercial hard rock style. But despite containing two of Rainbow's biggestsingles, "All Night Long"and"Since You've been Gone" (the second, written by former Argent singer Russ Ballard), the albumsputtered in stores,sellingfar less than the group's previous, Dio-fronted efforts. Bonnett also failed to meet Blackmore's loftyexpectations onstage,and after a single, disastrously drunken performance at the inaugural Castle Donington Monsters ofRock Festival inthesummer 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 withnewdrummerBobby Rondinelli signaled a true career rebirth for Rainbow. Wishing to shed the group's overblown, Dio-associatedEuro-metalsound of days past once and for all, the new Rainbow lineup was made to order for another bid atwidespreadacceptance inAmerica. The first product of this new direction, 1981's well received Difficult to Cure helped thegroup regainsome of theirmomentum and yielded their highest-charting single ever, another Russ Ballard-penned track entitled"ISurrender." In fact, therecord's title track -- a sprawling, ten-minute metallic blitzkrieg through Beethoven's Symphony No.9-- was the onlythrowback to Rainbow's highbrow metal origins. Released in 1982, Straight Between the Eyes failed tochartany successfulsingles, however, and the band's appeal began to nose-dive, along with Blackmore's increasinglyuninventive,risk. free songwriting. 1983's Bent out of Shape (featuring new members in keyboard player David Rosenthal anddrummerChuck Burgi) faredno better, and after accepting the fact that Rainbow's best days were behind them, Blackmorefinallyrelented to take part inthe long-rumored and hoped for re-formation of Deep Purple's classic Mark II lineup. Typically,theguitarist refused to go outquietly, and Rainbow were backed by a full symphony orchestra for their final March1984performance in Japan.A posthumouslive release, entitled Finyl Vinyl, was compiled in 1986, and though he would brieflyresurrect the RitchieBlackmore's Rainbowmoniker after quitting Purple for the second time in 1994 (even recording an albumcalled Stranger in UsAll"), this incarnationwould be short-lived. Blackmore was last heard from performing with his purportedfianc√© Candice Nightin the medieval folkduo Blackmore's Night. « hide

Similar Bands: Black Sabbath, Dio, Atomic Rooster, Elf, Deep Purple

LPs
Stranger in Us All
1995

3.2
86 Votes
Bent Out of Shape
1983

2.6
88 Votes
Straight Between the Eyes
1982

2.9
100 Votes
Difficult to Cure
1980

2.7
115 Votes
Down To Earth
1979

3.3
146 Votes
Long Live Rock & Roll
1978

4.2
352 Votes
Rising
1976

4.5
605 Votes
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
1975

4
352 Votes
EPs
Jealous Lover
1981

2.2
24 Votes
Live Albums
Black Masquerade
08/26/2013

4
4 Votes
Live Between the Eyes
2006

3
2 Votes
Live in Munich 1977
2006

4.6
19 Votes
Deutschland Tournee 1976
2006

4.8
3 Votes
Live in Germany 1976
1996

4.5
8 Votes
Finyl Vinyl
1986

3.7
15 Votes
On Stage
1977

4
76 Votes
Compilations
The Polydor Years
2014

The Singles Box Set 1975-1986
2014

2.8
3 Votes
Anthology 1975-1984
2009

3.5
2 Votes
Catch The Rainbow: The Anthology
2003

3.8
6 Votes
Classic Rainbow
2001

4.1
4 Votes
20th Century Masters
2000

3.4
4 Votes
The Very Best of Rainbow
1997

3.8
38 Votes
The Best of Rainbow
1981

3.4
4 Votes

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