|Also known as|
|Origin||Hertford, Hertfordshire, England|
|Members|| Ritchie Blackmore |
|Past members||See: Former members|
Rainbow (also known as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow or Blackmore's Rainbow) are a Britishrock supergroup band, based in Hertford, England and formed in 1975 by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. They were originally established with Ronnie James Dio's American rock band Elf, but after their self-titled debut album, Blackmore fired the backing members and continued with Dio. Rainbow recorded two more studio albums with Dio— Rising (1976) and Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1978)—before he left the band to join Black Sabbath in 1979.
Rainbow's early work primarily featured mystical lyrics with a neoclassical metal style, then went in a more pop-rock oriented direction following Dio's departure from the group.Three British musicians joined in 1979—singer Graham Bonnet, keyboardist Don Airey and then-former Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover—and this line-up gave the band their commercial breakthrough with the single "Since You Been Gone" from their fourth studio album Down to Earth . The band continued their success in the early 1980s with their next three albums Difficult to Cure (1981), Straight Between the Eyes (1982) and Bent Out of Shape (1983). After breaking up in 1984, Blackmore reformed Rainbow in 1993 with a new lineup, which recorded their eighth and last studio album to date Stranger in Us All (1995). Blackmore's change in direction, from rock to Renaissance and medieval-influenced music, led to Rainbow's second dissolution in 1997. He revived the band once again in 2015, and they still perform live occasionally.
Over the years Rainbow went through many personnel changes, with each studio album recorded with a different lineup, and leaving Blackmore as the band's only constant member. The singers Joe Lynn Turner and Doogie White followed Bonnet, and numerous backing musicians have come and gone. In addition to Blackmore, Rainbow's current lineup includes Ronnie Romero on vocals, Jens Johansson on keyboards, Bob Nouveau on bass and David Keith on drums.
Rainbow were ranked No. 90 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. The band have sold over 30 million records worldwide.
By 1973, Blackmore had steered Deep Purple through a significant personnel change, with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover being replaced by David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. However, the new members were keen to add musical styles and Blackmore found his request to record the Steve Hammond-penned "Black Sheep of the Family" with "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" turned down by the band.He decided to record the song with Dio instead, using Dio's band Elf as musicians. He enjoyed the results, and a full album, billed as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow , was recorded between February and March 1975 at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany. The band name was inspired by the Rainbow Bar and Grill in West Hollywood, California.
Rainbow's music was partly inspired by classical music since Blackmore started playing cello to help him construct interesting chord progressions,and Dio wrote lyrics about medieval themes. Dio possessed a powerful and versatile vocal range that encompassed hard rock and lighter ballads. Blackmore reported, "I felt shivers down my spine." Although Dio never played a musical instrument on any Rainbow album, he is credited with writing and arranging the music with Blackmore, in addition to writing all the lyrics. Blackmore and Dio also found a common ground in their sense of humour. Rainbow, said the singer, "was my opportunity to show my wares. I thank Ritchie for that all the time. Ritchie Blackmore is the one who gave me my opportunity to show what I was worth."
Following the positive experience of recording with Dio, Blackmore decided to leave Deep Purple, playing his last show with them in Paris in April.The album met a positive critical reception and was a top 20 UK and top 30 US hit. Blackmore's departure from Purple was announced on 21 June.
Blackmore was unhappy about carrying the Elf line-up along for live performances, and so he fired everybody except Dio shortly after the album was recorded, due to Driscoll's style of drumming and the funky bass playing of Gruber.Blackmore would continue to dictate personnel for the remainder of the band's lifetime, with drummer and former bandmate Ricky Munro remarking "he was very difficult to get on with because you never knew when he would turn around and say 'You're sacked'." Blackmore recruited bassist Jimmy Bain, American keyboard player Tony Carey and drummer Cozy Powell, who had previously worked with Jeff Beck and had some solo success. Powell also greatly appealed to Blackmore in their mutual fondness for practical jokes.
This line-up also commenced the first world tour for the band, with the first date in Montreal on 10 November 1975. The centrepiece of the band's live performance was a computer-controlled rainbow including 3,000 lightbulbs, which stretched 40 feet across the stage.A second album, Rising , was recorded in February at Musicland. By the time of the European dates in the summer of 1976, Rainbow's reputation as a blistering live act had been established. The band added Deep Purple's "Mistreated" to their setlist, and song lengths were stretched to include improvisation. Carey recalls rehearsing the material was fairly straightforward, saying "We didn't work anything out, except the structure, the ending ... very free-form, really progressive rock." The album art was designed by American fantasy artist Ken Kelly, who had drawn Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian.
In August 1976, following a gig at Newcastle City Hall, Blackmore decided to fire Carey, believing his playing style to be too complicated for the band. Unable to find a suitable replacement quickly, Carey was quickly reinstated,but as the world tour progressed on to Japan, he found himself regularly being the recipient of Blackmore's pranks and humour. Blackmore subsequently decided that Bain was substandard and fired him in January 1977. Carey quit the band shortly after, after getting tired of Blackmore's pranks. Blackmore, however, had difficulty finding replacements he liked. On keyboards, after auditioning several high-profile artists, including Vanilla Fudge's Mark Stein, Procol Harum's Matthew Fisher and ex-Curved Air and Roxy Music man Eddie Jobson, Blackmore finally selected Canadian David Stone, from the little-known band Symphonic Slam. For a bass player, Blackmore originally chose Mark Clarke, formerly of Jon Hiseman's Colosseum, Uriah Heep and Tempest, but once in the studio for the next album, Long Live Rock 'n' Roll , Blackmore disliked Clarke's fingerstyle method of playing so much that he fired him on the spot and played bass himself on all but four songs: the album's title track, "Gates of Babylon", "Kill the King", and "Sensitive to Light". Former Widowmaker bassist Bob Daisley was hired to record these tracks, completing the band's next line-up.
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.Dio did not agree with this change and left Rainbow.
In a 1979 interview with Sounds,Blackmore said:
- "If they were good enough, they'd still be in the band. I'm not putting down the other members who were in the band, but no-one has ever left Rainbow. It's a fact. Not a confrontation just, well you didn't quite make it, you'll have to do other things."
- "Ronnie is a very good singer- I still like him -but he was becoming very lackadaisical. I'm sure if he were here now he would argue the point, but the fact is, Ronnie was not contributing what he should have done, and he knows that. For the last two years I would put down the riff, the progressions, give him the basic melody and he would write the lyrics. I found that in the past year he wasn't really doing that. He was bitching about the fact that it was Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. And I'm going, look, I've tried after three years to make it just Rainbow, not my Rainbow."
- "When people leave the band we don't give too many reasons because we don't want to hinder their career. But if someone's not pulling their weight then I will not put up with someone who's second rate. I'm not going to jump onstage and say 'it's alright ladies and gentlemen, I know they're not very good but they are my friends' like most bands do."
- "A couple of people in the band were taking quite a few drugs and consequently were falling asleep while they were playing because they'd been partying all night. I gave them the sack. It's incredible how those people react. They say 'how dare he do that to me?' but what have they got to offer other than looking the part?"
Blackmore asked Ian Gillan, also formerly of Deep Purple, to replace Dio, but Gillan turned him down. After a series of auditions, Graham Bonnet, former singer/guitarist of The Marbles, was recruited. Powell stayed, but Daisley was fired, and David Stone quit the band to be replaced by keyboardist Don Airey. At first the band auditioned bass players, but at Cozy Powell's suggestion Blackmore hired another former Deep Purple member, Roger Glover, as a producer, bassist and lyricist.The first album from the new line-up, 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: he had already given his notice to quit, disliking Blackmore's increasingly pop rock direction. Then, after numerous fallouts with Blackmore, Bonnet resigned to pursue a solo project.
For the next album, Bonnet and Powell were replaced by Americans Joe Lynn Turner and Bobby Rondinelli, respectively. The title track from Difficult to Cure was a version of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The album spawned their most successful UK single, "I Surrender" (another Ballard song), which reached No.3. After the supporting tour, Don Airey quit over musical differences and was replaced by David Rosenthal.
The band attained significant airplay on Album-oriented rock radio stations in the US with the track "Jealous Lover", reaching No. 13 on Billboard Magazine's Rock Tracks chart. 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 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 (No. 1 on Billboard Magazine's Rock Tracks chart) and its video received heavy airplay on MTV. The successful supporting tour skipped the UK completely and focused on the American market. A date in San Antonio, Texas, on this tour was filmed, and the resulting "Live Between the Eyes" also received repeated showings on MTV.
Bent Out of Shape saw drummer Rondinelli fired in favour of former Balance drummer Chuck Burgi. The album featured the single "Street of Dreams". Blackmore claims on his website that the song's video was banned by MTV for its supposedly controversial hypnotic video clip,but Dr. Thomas Radecki of the National Coalition on Television Violence criticised MTV for airing the video, contradicting Blackmore's claim. The resulting tour saw Rainbow return to the UK, and also to Japan in March 1984 where the band performed "Difficult to Cure" with a full orchestra. The concert was also filmed.
Rainbow's management Thames Talent co-ordinated attempts to successfully reform Deep Purple MK. II. By April 1984, Rainbow was disbanded. A then-final Rainbow album, Finyl Vinyl , was pieced together from live tracks and B-sides of singles, including the instrumental "Weiss Heim" (All Night Long B-side), "Bad Girl" (Since You Been Gone B-side), and "Jealous Lover" (Can't Happen Here B-side).
In 1988, after joining the band Impelliteri, Graham Bonnet covered "Since You Been Gone" on the group's debut album, Stand In Line .
In 1993, Blackmore left Deep Purple permanently due to "creative differences" with other members, and reformed Rainbow with all-new members featuring Scottish singer Doogie White. The band released Stranger in Us All in 1995, and embarked on a lengthy world tour.
The tour proved successful, and the show in Düsseldorf, Germany, was professionally filmed for the Rockpalast TV show. This show, initially heavily bootlegged (and considered by many collectors to be the best Rainbow bootleg of the era), was officially released by Eagle Records on CD and DVD as Black Masquerade in 2013.The live shows featured frequent changes in set lists, and musical improvisations that proved popular with bootleggers and many shows are still traded over a decade later.
However, Blackmore turned his attention to his long-time musical passion, Renaissance and medieval music. Rainbow was put on hold once again after playing its final concert in Esbjerg, Denmark in 1997. Blackmore, together with his partner Candice Night as vocalist then formed the Renaissance-influenced Blackmore's Night. Around the same time as production of Stranger in Us All (1995), they were already gearing up their debut album Shadow of the Moon (1997).
Many Rainbow songs have been performed live by former members of the band since the group's split in 1984 and then in 1997, particularly former frontmen Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnet, Joe Lynn Turner and Doogie White in recent years. Also, Don Airey often plays 1979-1981 era songs during his solo shows. Blackmore's Night occasionally performs one or two Rainbow songs live, namely "Ariel", "Rainbow Eyes", "Street of Dreams" and "Temple of the King". The latter three were also re-recorded by Blackmore's Night in studio.
In 2002–2004, the Hughes Turner Project played a number of Rainbow songs at their concerts. On 9 August 2007, Joe Lynn Turner and Graham Bonnet played a tribute to Rainbow show in Helsinki, Finland. The concert consisted of songs from the 1979-1983 era.
In 2009, Joe Lynn Turner, Bobby Rondinelli, Greg Smith and Tony Carey created the touring tribute band Over The Rainbow with Jürgen Blackmore (Ritchie's son) as the guitarist. Over The Rainbow performed songs from every era of the band's history. After the first tour, Tony Carey had to leave the band due to health concerns; he was replaced by another former Rainbow member, Paul Morris.
In 2015, Blackmore announced that he would play "all rock" concerts in the summer of 2016 under the banner "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow", his first rock shows since 1997. The new Rainbow lineup was announced on 6 November 2015. It featured Lords of Black singer Ronnie Romero, Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson, Blackmore's Night drummer David Keith and bassist Bob Nouveau (Bob Curiano).
The band headlined the German edition of the "Monsters of Rock" festival. They debuted on 17 June 2016 at Loreley Freilichtbühne, an open-air show in front of an audience of an estimated 15,000. On 18 June, they played another open-air gig for 30,000 fans in Bietigheim-Bissingen (Festplatz am Viadukt). The third and final show took place at the Birmingham Genting Arena in England.
When asked in May 2016 if Rainbow were planning to record a new album, bassist Bob Curiano said, "I'd love to go into the studio with this Rainbow. All we need is Ritchie to say, 'Let's go!' I think all of us feel under pressure, because of the fans' expectations. For me, the pressure makes me work harder and get better results."However, Blackmore said that they had no plans for a new album or world tour, and that the reunion was "just a few dates for fun." Blackmore also said that Rainbow had received many offers to do a "few more shows again" in the future.
Despite an earlier decision not to release new music, Blackmore revealed in a May 2017 interview with Burrn! magazine that Rainbow were in the studio recording two new tracks. Blackmore stated, "I wrote one new song, and also recorded one of the old ones. Ronnie, who is in Madrid now, added his vocals and sent it back. Rather than make an album, we may release as singles."
Rainbow embarked on a four-date UK tour in June 2017. It kicked off with the band's first show in London since 1995 at the second annual Stone Free Festival at The O2, followed by shows in Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham.
Rainbow released the live album Memories in Rock II (Live) in 2018, which chronicles a live show in Germany. However, the final track, "Waiting for a Sign", is a studio track recorded with the current band lineup, and marked Rainbow's first song in 23 years.
The band played five dates in April 2018, at Moscow, St Petersburg, Helsinki, Berlin, and Prague. The shows were well-attended, with Helsinki a sell-out. The set-list again varied from night-to-night, with an almost 50/50 selection of Rainbow and Deep Purple songs.
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in London and Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach has changed over the years. Originally formed as a psychedelic rock and progressive rock band, they shifted to a heavier sound with their 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early- to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.
Ronald James Padavona, known professionally as Ronnie James Dio, was an American heavy metal singer-songwriter and composer. He fronted or founded numerous groups throughout his career, including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, and Heaven & Hell.
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is the first studio album by American/British rock band Rainbow, released in 1975.
On Stage is a double live album originally released by the British hard rock band Rainbow in 1977. It was recorded live over several German and Japanese dates in late 1976 during the Rising world tour.
Long Live Rock 'n' Roll is the third studio album by the British hard rock band Rainbow, released in 1978 and the last to feature original lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio.
Down to Earth is the fourth studio album by the British hard rock band Rainbow. It is their last album to feature drummer Cozy Powell and their only album with vocalist Graham Bonnet. Released in 1979, it contains Rainbow's first hit single "Since You Been Gone", marking a more commercial direction of the band's sound.
Elf was an American rock band founded in 1967 by singer and bassist Ronnie James Dio, keyboardist Doug Thaler, drummer Gary Driscoll, and guitarists Nick Pantas and David Feinstein. The band was originally called the Electric Elves, but was shortened to the Elves in 1968 and finally Elf in 1972. Elf disbanded in 1975 after recording three albums and after most of the lineup had been absorbed into the newly formed Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.
John Gary Driscoll was an American R&B-style rock drummer who performed in a number of successful bands from the 1960s until his unsolved death by murder on June 10, 1987.
Mickey Lee Soule is an American musician. He was the keyboard player for New York hard rock band Elf and a founding member of Rainbow.
Shades of Deep Purple is the debut studio album by the English rock band Deep Purple, released in July 1968 on Tetragrammaton in the United States and in September 1968 on Parlophone in the United Kingdom. The band, initially called Roundabout, was the idea of former Searchers drummer Chris Curtis, who recruited Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore before leaving the project. The Mk. I line-up of the band was completed by vocalist/frontman Rod Evans, along with bassist Nick Simper and drummer Ian Paice, in March 1968.
Douglas "Doogie" White is a Scottish rock vocalist. White currently sings for La Paz and Alcatrazz. He has also notably sung for Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, Praying Mantis and Tank.
Graham Bonnet is an English rock singer and songwriter. He has recorded and performed as a solo artist and as a member of several hard rock and heavy metal bands including Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group, Alcatrazz, and Impellitteri. Bonnet's style is described as being a cross between Don Johnson in Miami Vice and James Dean. He is also known for his powerful singing voice but is capable of also singing soft melodies. His singing has been noted as 'very loud' by both his contemporaries and himself, and he claims to be a self-taught singer with 'no discipline for lessons'.
Joe Lynn Turner is an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, and producer. He is known for his work in the hard rock bands Rainbow, Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Deep Purple. During his career, Turner fronted and played guitar with pop rock band Fandango in the late 1970s; and in the early 1980s, he became a member of Rainbow, fronting the band and writing songs with guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore and bassist, and producer, Roger Glover. After Rainbow had disbanded in March 1984, he pursued a solo career, released one album, Rescue You, and then later did session work, singing background vocals for the likes of Billy Joel, Cher, and Michael Bolton. On the advice of Bolton, Turner began recording jingles for radio and television. Other songs he had composed or through collaboration with songwriters like Desmond Child and Jack Ponti were being recorded and released by international recording artists Jimmy Barnes, Lee Aaron, and Bonfire. Turner had a short-lived association with neoclassical metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen and then Deep Purple. From the mid-1990s, he resumed his solo career, releasing an additional nine studio and two live recordings. Turner did other session work, appearing as lead vocalist on tribute albums and working on projects involving various musical groups including progressive rock band Mother's Army; Bulgarian hard rock band Brazen Abbot; funk rock duo Hughes Turner Project; and classic rock/ progressive rock band Rated X. In 2006, Frontiers Records approached Turner to become involved with the AOR side project Sunstorm. By 2016, four albums under the Sunstorm name had been released. That same year, Turner released The Sessions via Cleopatra Records featuring a veritable who's who of classic rock royalty as guest musicians, before resuming his seemingly constant touring schedule back in Europe.
Elf is the first studio album by Ronnie James Dio's blues rock band called Elf. Produced by Ian Paice and Roger Glover of Deep Purple, the record was released in 1972.
Richard Hugh Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter. He was a founding member of Deep Purple in 1968, playing jam-style hard rock music that mixed guitar riffs and organ sounds. He is prolific in creating guitar riffs and classically influenced solos.
The Very Best of Rainbow is a greatest hits compilation album by the British hard rock band Rainbow. It was released in 1997 and features material ranging from 1975's Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow to 1983's Bent Out of Shape.
MK III: The Final Concerts, alternatively entitled Archive Alive, is a live album by Deep Purple, recorded during the band's 1975 European tour in support of the Stormbringer album. It was released in 1996.
"Mistreated" is a song by the British rock band Deep Purple taken from their 1974 album Burn. The song was written by the band's guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and new vocalist David Coverdale, who, along with new bassist Glenn Hughes, brought new blues and funk elements to the band.
Rising is the second studio album by the British/American rock band Rainbow, released in 1976.
'Street of Dreams' by Rainbow has a psychiatrist dominating a man through hypnosis intermixed with male-female violent fantasies including a bound and gagged woman.
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