Rainbow
Down To Earth


3.5
great

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
December 21st, 2009 | 29 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I WANNA LUV YA AAAAAAAALLLL NIIIIGGGHTTT LOOOOONNNGG!

After releasing two excellent hard rock staples in Rising and Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rainbow’s leader Ritchie Blackmore was once again not satisfied. Despite the quality of the band’s previous albums, sales were not as terrific as Blackmore wanted them to be (read: as good as Deep Purple’s used to be). In order to take care of that little issue, he decided to pursuit a more commercial direction, moving away from the medieval/mystery/fantasy themes of previous releases. For this, he brought in Roger Glover for production reasons, who had played with him in Purple’s Mark II (Glover had since some time quit playing bass and gone on to produce for numerous famous artists, such as Judas Priest). A surprising move, as Blackmore himself had initiated firing him five years earlier. It however created friction with Dio, completely against a commercial take on Rainbow’s music. Dio left, and Blackmore lost an amazing vocalist. Bad for him, good for Dio, who would first create the classic Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath, and then pair up with Jimmy Bain (who Blackmore had fired after Rising) in order to record yet another classic record in Holy Diver.

After all this, Blackmore still hadn’t given up his habit of firing good musicians. Getting rid of both bassist Bob Daisley and keyboardist David Stone, he created a void in Rainbow that needed three spots filled. For a vocalist, he initially wanted Ian Gillan to replace Dio, but the singer hadn’t forgotten about Blackmore’s egoistic behaviour in Deep Purple, and turned him down (though Gillan would actually replace Dio later, in Black Sabbath). Blackmore obviously got what he deserved. He eventually found Graham Bonnet to sing for the band. Donald Airey joined on keyboards (Airey has since made his name as veteran player, working with a great many acts, and has been in Deep Purple since Jon Lord’s retirement). Finally, whilst searching for bassists, it was Powell who suggested Glover could perfectly well play bass along with producing the album. And indeed, why not? Glover agreed and when all hustle and bustle was settled, a brand new Rainbow released Down to Earth in '79.

Still got at all that? Good.

More than between any other Rainbow releases, the changed line-up is extremely evident. Dio had been singing for the band since their inception, and his powerful vocal presence had a great impact on their sound. Bonnet suited Blackmore’s new view well, and made such an ideal candidate because of his cocky attitude. And believe it or not, the man does actually have a share of charisma and power in his voice, surpassing the average commercial hard rock singer in the era. He very much defined a new time for Rainbow.

And frankly, while many will bash the commercial approach on first sight, as compared to the mystical/epic/fantasy of Rainbow’s first three, there is actually something to be enjoyed here. I’ve heard dozens of far, far worse examples of hard rock bands going commercial, to be honest. Hit song and opener All Night Long is a perfect indicator of what Down to Earth is all about; with its cheesy ‘I wanna love you, all night long!’ chorus, it is very wrong indeed. The same goes for Since You Been Gone (‘oooh, since you been gone!’). Down to Earth is just so wrong it works.

But it only works because it pairs Bonnet with Blackmore. His leads haven’t grown any less catchy. In fact, they’re more catchy than ever, be it the heavier ones (All Night Long) or the slow-burning blues ones (Love’s No Friend). He delivers one of his trademark solos along with it, which have seldom been unsatisfying, and the basic formula for every song on Down to Earth is set. The face of Rainbow may have changed, but Blackmore’s guitar skills were still the very same.

As unbelievable as it sounds, Down to Earth is an album that works tremendously well for its approach. It holds no candle up to the Dio Years, but that was already an impossible feat to achieve from the beginning. Blackmore gets the maximum out of his new direction, as well as out of his formation. On the other side of the perspective, we do know the guitarist belongs in something better, but Down to Earth is not a great album with Ritchie Blackmore on it. Down to Earth is a great album because Ritchie Blackmore is on it. You’ve got to be in a cheesy mood for it, but really, it is a great listen. Really.

Down to Earth’s Rainbow was:
- Richard Hugh Blackmore ~ Lead Guitar
- Graham Bonnet ~ Vocals
- Roger David Glover ~ Bass Guitar
- Colin ‘Cozy Powell’ Flooks ~ Drums
- Donald Airey ~ Keyboards


Essential listening:

All Night Long
Eyes of the World
Since You Been Gone
Love’s No Friend




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user ratings (143)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
December 21st 2009


8259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Alternative summaries were: ‘OOOOH, SINCE YOU BEEN GONE!’ and
‘LUUUUUUUUUUUUV’S NO FRIIIEEEEEND OF MIIIINE!’

Album is cheesy as hell.


EVedder27
December 21st 2009


6088 Comments


Love the summary(s)

Foxhound
December 21st 2009


4570 Comments


Nice, and I love the album cover.

Nagrarok
December 21st 2009


8259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nah, it's alright.

LepreCon
December 21st 2009


4144 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

OOOOOH SINCE YOU BEEN GONE!!!!

... oh you already covered that one.
Anywho, good review, though evidently not my favourite Rainbow disk...

Nagrarok
December 21st 2009


8259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I was just in the right mood when listening to this, but it might be the best one outside the Dio years. My rating are gonna go duuuuuuwwwnhill from here.

LepreCon
December 21st 2009


4144 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, the only other one I've listened to after this is Difficult To Cure and I really don't care much for it.

Nagrarok
December 21st 2009


8259 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yup, that's rather average. Already finished reviewing, coming right up tomorrow. The stuff I write for Rainbow is not my best work, but they're not worth more than such an effort after the first three albums. Hence I can do one a day, and I wanna get to my special, secret, ultimate 100th review.

rockandmetaljunkie
May 11th 2011


3447 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

DTE is a good rn'r commercial album but it can't be compared with 3 previous releases.Graham Bonnet is suprisingly good but he isn't Ronnie.
Roger Glover is a very useful addition and Ritchie delivers yet again some good guitar riffs.

Recommended tracks:
All Night Long
Since You Been Gone
Makin' Love

Good review Matthijs

Itishappeningagain
June 3rd 2012


320 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's not as bad as I thought it would be. Just doesn't sound like Rainbow.

MrSirLordGentleman
February 14th 2013


4555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

OMG this is sooooooo cheesy, however I think it is an AOR masterpiece, one of the few actually good
AOR albums... however it's not even close to Dio's era

MNb
March 2nd 2013


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So Blackmore goes commercial and poppy. So what? It's the quality that counts and indeed we have a fine collection of very good riffs on this album. Bonnet's voice is fine with me (he would ruin it later). While it's beyond my comprehension why Blackmore didn't keep Daisley we can't say Glover is worse. Don Airey had made some impression with Colosseum II and isn't any worse than David Stone either.
My only problem with this album is that there aren't any stand outs; it's all very even, so I can only remember the two singles, Eyes of the World plus the outtakes Bad Girl and Weiss Heim.

deslad
June 27th 2013


365 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not a bad album, but surely is cheesy; it also lacks Dio's vocal abilities.

Digging: Rainbow - On Stage

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2013


19928 Comments


this one worth checking out?

Digging: Coldworld - Melancholie

manosg
July 8th 2013


6258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not a bad album by any means but its sound is too commercial for me. If you want to listen to something else from Rainbow's first 3, I'd suggest to check their last.

Digging: Acrimony - Tumuli Shroomaroom

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2013


16057 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeh its not bad, since you been gone is like almost the perfect commercial hard rock single tho and eyes of the world is great, bonnet got a great voice

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2013


19928 Comments


cool i'll check it out;)

MrSirLordGentleman
July 8th 2013


4555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bonnet's actually an awesome vocalist, quite underrated, however just like manosg said, if you're a looking for something like the first 3 albums, go for Stranger in us all not that good, but the best they did withou Ronnie

manosg
August 4th 2013


6258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Maybe I need to bump this a bit. Love's No Friend is a great track.

Demolitionizer
November 14th 2013


15 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This is the album that started Richie Blackmore's Rainbow into a career of mainstream mediocrity. It is the last classic album by them and to call it a classic is a bit of a stretch. Since You've Been Gone is one of my favorite rock songs and All Night Long is a great album opener.



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