Come Taste the Band - Vol 7 - Rainbow

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Source: Frank Riester from "I'm a South African Rocker!"
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Wazzup Rockers!

After all these recent tragic events and incidents in the world of sport (i.e. the suicide of Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke, the embarrassing performance of our national anthem before the rugby match against France or the “hand of god goal – revisited” scandal last night that has robbed Ireland of their participation in the 2010 World Cup…) it is a strong reminder that MUSIC is still a far better option for escapism….so it’s time again for another ‘Come Taste The Band’ feature, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m taking you back in time today…an era…an episode of Rock ’n’ Roll that produced one of the all time greatest Rock bands the world has seen…


…a band that has not only shaped my own musicianship and life but has influenced hundreds if not thousands of other musicians around the world!

In this sense: Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll!!


“whenever you dream you’re holding the key, it opens the door to let you be free”……Ronnie James DIO


♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠ HISTORY ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠


Rainbow were an English rock band formed by former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore in 1975. The name of the band Rainbow was inspired by a Hollywood bar and grill called the Rainbow that catered to rock stars, groupies and rock enthusiasts. It was here that Blackmore spent his off time from Deep Purple and met vocalist Ronnie James Dio.


In 1974, Blackmore became infuriated at the funk/soul (or as Blackmore called Shoeshine music) elements being introduced to Deep Purple by David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, as well as with the rejection from his bandmates of his suggestion to record a cover for inclusion on Stormbringer. Blackmore had originally intended to record Steve Hammond's "Black Sheep of the Family", a song recorded by the band Quatermass, as a solo single to express that his ideas were being suppressed in Deep Purple. During recent US tours, Deep Purple's support band had been Elf, and Ritchie had been impressed by Elf's singer, Ronnie James Dio. Blackmore and Dio found they had such a creative rapport that a full album's worth of music was soon composed, and they recorded it with Elf as a session band. Emboldened by the experience, Blackmore decided to leave Deep Purple and form his own band around Elf, effectively taking it over minus their guitarist and renaming it Rainbow.

Rainbow's debut album, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, was released in 1975 and featured the minor hit "Man on the Silver Mountain". Rainbow's music was different from Deep Purple's. The music was more directly inspired by classical music, and Dio wrote lyrics about medieval themes. Dio possessed a versatile vocal range capable of singing both hard rock and lighter ballads.

Blackmore fired everybody except Dio shortly after the album was recorded due to Gary Driscoll's R&B style of drumming and funky bass playing of Craig Gruber. Blackmore recruited Cozy Powell, Jeff Beck's drummer, bassist Jimmy Bain, and American keyboard player Tony Carey. This lineup went on to record the next album Rising. This line-up also commenced the first world tour for the band, with the first US dates in late 1975. By the time of the European dates in the summer of 1976, Rainbow's reputation as a blistering live act was already established. Blackmore subsequently decided that Bain was substandard and fired him in January 1977.

However, Blackmore had difficulty finding replacements he liked. For a bass player, Blackmore originally chose Mark Clarke from the band Tempest, but once in the studio for the next album, Long Live Rock 'n' Roll, Blackmore disliked his playing so much that he fired Clarke on the spot and played bass himself on all but four songs: "Long Live Rock N' Roll", "Gates of Babylon", "Kill the King", and "Sensitive To Light". For these tracks, he finally settled on Australian Bob Daisley.

After the release and extensive world tour in 1977–78, Blackmore decided that he wanted to take the band in a new commercial direction away from the "sword and sorcery" theme and hired former (now current) Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover as a producer and songwriter.
Dio did not agree with this change and left Rainbow. He would go on to replace Ozzy Osbourne as the lead singer in Black Sabbath.


Blackmore attempted to replace Dio with Ian Gillan, but Gillan turned him down. After a series of auditions, former vocalist/guitarist of The Marbles, Graham Bonnet was recruited instead. Powell stayed, but Daisley and Stone were both fired, the later being replaced by keyboardist Don Airey (later in Deep Purple). The first album from the new lineup, Down to Earth, featured the band's first major singles chart successes, "All Night Long" and the Russ Ballard penned "Since You Been Gone".

In 1980, the band headlined the inaugural 'Monsters of Rock' festival at Castle Donington in England. However, this was Powell's last Rainbow gig, as he had already given his notice to quit, disliking Blackmore's increasingly pop metal direction. He would go on to play for Michael Schenker, Whitesnake (founded by Blackmore's former Deep Purple bandmate David Coverdale) and Black Sabbath. Bonnet was fired the night Powell quit due to a drunken performance. Soon after, he would also join the Michael Schenker Group.Ironically, Bonnet was fired from MSG due to similar problems as with Rainbow.

For the next album, Difficult To Cure, the title track was a version of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The band attained significant airplay on Album-oriented rock radio stations in the US with the track "Jealous Lover", reaching #13 on Billboard Magazine's Rock Tracks chart, which tracked AOR airplay. Originally issued as the B-side to "Can't Happen Here", "Jealous Lover" subsequently became the title track to an EP issued in the US that featured very similar cover art to "Difficult to Cure".

Rainbow's next full length studio album was Straight Between the Eyes. The album was more cohesive than Difficult to Cure, and had more success in the United States. The band, however, was alienating some of its earlier fans with its more AOR sound. The single, "Stone Cold", was a ballad that had some chart success (#1 on Billboard Magazine's Rock Tracks chart) and the video of which received heavy airplay on MTV. The successful supporting tour skipped the UK completely and focused on the American market.

The album Bent Out Of Shape saw drummer Rondinelli fired in favour of Chuck Burgi. The album featured the single "Street Of Dreams". According to Blackmore's biography on his official website, the song's video was banned by MTV for its supposedly controversial hypnotic video clip. However, Dr. Thomas Radecki of the National Coalition on Telvision Violence criticized MTV for airing the video, which would contradict Blackmore's claim.


The Deep Purple management made a resounding offer to Blackmore to rejoin DP. By April 1984, Blackmore and Glover had joined the reformed Deep Purple "Mark II" line-up, who then recorded the "Perfect Strangers" album, and Rainbow was disbanded. A final Rainbow album, Finyl Vinyl, was pieced together from live tracks and B-sides of singles. The album contained the instrumental "Weiss Heim", widely available for the first time.

Deep Purple's follow-up album House Of Blue Light was not on the same par as previous albums. It was evident again that Blackmore and Gillan were not able to work together. Gillan left, and Blackmore recruited ex-Rainbow singer Joe Lynn Turner. This line-up produced a very typical Rainbow-sounding album, Slaves And Masters, which instantly raised negative criticism among Deep Purple fans. Under pressure from both management and other Deep Purple musicians, Ian Gillan was asked to re-join for the third time. One further Deep Purple Mark II album, The Battle Rages On, was released and was well received. Yet Blackmore was enormously dissatisfied, and left Deep Purple in 1993 to form a new Rainbow with all-new members. The band released Stranger in Us All in 1995, and embarked on a lengthy world tour.

However, fed up with stadium rock, Blackmore turned his attention to Renaissance and medieval music, a lifelong interest of his. Together with his partner Candice Night as vocalist, then formed the Renaissance-influenced Blackmore's Night.

In late 1997, Cozy Powell approached Ritchie Blackmore to see if he would be interested in reforming the Rising line-up of Rainbow. Due to everyone's prior commitments, this proposed reunion was intended to last for just one tour, and by early 1998, both Dio and Blackmore had almost given the project the green light. However, Powell's death in April 1998 brought about the demise of the long-anticipated reunion. In the decade since, many other rumours have been in various web sources of a future Dio/Blackmore Rainbow project, but both men have always quickly dispelled these rumours as having no basis in fact.

♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠ DISCOGRAPHY ♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠

1975 - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
1976 - Rising
1978 - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
1979 - Down to Earth
1981 - Difficult to Cure
1982 - Straight Between the Eyes
1983 - Bent out of Shape
1995 - Stranger in Us All

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