Rainbow (band)

Rainbow (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Rainbow

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Background = group_or_band
Years_active = 1975 — 1984 1993 — 1997
Origin = England
Genre = Hard rock, Heavy metal
Label = Polydor, BMG
Associated_acts = Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Elf
Current_members =
Past_members = See: Member history

Rainbow was a hard rock and heavy metal band formed by former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore in 1975. In addition to Blackmore, the band originally consisted of former Elf members; lead singer Ronnie James Dio (later to join Black Sabbath), keyboardist Mickey Lee Soule, bassist Craig Gruber, and drummer Gary Driscoll. Over the years Rainbow went through many lineup changes.

Rainbow was Ranked #90 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock [http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/the_greatest/62184/episode_wildcard.jhtml?wildcard=/shows/dynamic/includes/wildcards/the_greatest/hardrock_list_full.jhtml&event_id=862711&start=1]


The Dio years

In 1974 Blackmore became infuriated at the funk/soul 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 in Stormbringer, and 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. The name of the band was inspired by the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood that catered to rock stars, groupies and rock enthusiasts.

Rainbow's debut album, "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow", was released in 1975 and featured the minor hit "Man on the Silver Mountain".

The music of Rainbow was different than that of Deep Purple. 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. 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 himself.

Blackmore fired everybody except Dio shortly after the album was recorded and recruited drummer Cozy Powell (formerly of the Jeff Beck Group), 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, and the same fate befell Carey shortly after. However, Blackmore had difficulty finding replacements he liked. On keyboards he finally went for Canadian David Stone, from the little-known band Symphonic Slam. 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 three songs on this album ("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. Dio did not agree with this change and left Rainbow. He would go to replace Ozzy Osbourne as the lead singer in Black Sabbath (coincidentally, Daisley, Powell and future Rainbow drummer Bobby Rondinelli also played with Black Sabbath at various times). Dio would later form his own self-titled band.

Commercial success

Blackmore attempted to replace Dio with Ian Gillan, but Gillan turned him down, so after a series of auditions ex-Marbles vocalist Graham Bonnet was recruited instead. Gillan "would" replace Dio later in his career, in Black Sabbath. Powell stayed but Daisley and Stone were both fired, replaced by keyboardist Don Airey (later in Deep Purple) and former (now current) Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover. The latter appointment was somewhat surprising as Blackmore had instigated the sacking of Glover from Deep Purple in 1973. The first album from the new lineup, "Down to Earth", featured the band's first singles chart successes, "All Night Long" and the Russ Ballard penned "Since You Been Gone". On stage Bonnet possessed a powerful voice, but struggled with the band's quieter numbers and lacked Dio's range.Fact|date=February 2007 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 subsequently became disgruntled at the domination of Blackmore and Glover and also left to go solo.

For the next album Bonnet and Powell were replaced by Americans Joe Lynn Turner, and Bobby Rondinelli respectively. The title track from the album, "Difficult to Cure", was a version of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The album also contained the guitar piece, "Maybe Next Time". After the supporting tour Don Airey then quit over musical direction and was replaced on keyboards by David Rosenthal.

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.Fact|date=February 2007 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. 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 Chuck Burgi. The album featured the single "Street Of Dreams". The song's video was banned by MTV for its supposedly controversial hypnotic video clip [ [http://www.ritchieblackmore.com/ritchie_bio.html Blackmore's Night - Ritchie Blackmore Bio] ] Verify credibility|date=January 2008. 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.

Hiatus and regroup

The Deep Purple management made a resounding offer to Blackmore to rejoin DP and by April 1984, Blackmore and Glover had joined the reformed Deep Purple "Mark II" line-up, 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 resulting album 'Perfect Strangers' was well received, yet 2 years later they were struggling to maintain a motivated working environment and the ensuing album 'House of Blue Light' was not truly 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' and instantly raised negative critic amongst Deep Purple fans. Under pressure from both management and musicians Ian Gillan was asked to re-join for the 3rd time and one further album was made 'Battle Rages On', which was well received. Yet personally Blackmore was enormously dissatisfied and left Deep Purple in 1993 and formed a new Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow with all new members. The band released "Stranger in Us All" in 1995 and embarked on a lengthy world tour.

The tour proved very successful and a show in Germany was professionally filmed by 'Rockpalast'. It has never officially been released, but has been heavily bootlegged (and considered by many collectors to be the best Rainbow bootleg of the era). 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, fed up with stadium rock, Blackmore turned his attention to Renaissance and medieval music, a lifelong interest of his. 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" who, as of 2008, are still recording albums, and performing small intimate tours completely in contrast to Rainbow's mammoth stadium shows.

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 the time of Cozy's tragic death in April 1998, both Dio and Blackmore had almost given the project the green light. However, Cozy's death also brought about the demise of the long-anticipated reunion. In the decade since, many other rumours have been announced, from various web sources, of a future Dio/Blackmore Rainbow project, but both men have always been quick in dispelling these rumours as having no basis in fact.

Rainbow songs after 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. Especially former Rainbow singers, Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner, often returned to their past achievements, especially in recent years.

In 2002-2004 also the Hughes Turner Project played a number of Rainbow songs at their concerts. On August 9, 2007 Joe Lynn Turner and Graham Bonnet played a tribute to Rainbow show in Helsinki, Finland. The concert consisted of songs from 1979-1983.

Member history

Discography (studio albums)

*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"

Other official recordings featuring Rainbow songs

*2002 "Live In Tokyo (Hughes Turner Project)
*2006 "Holy Diver Live" (Dio)
*2008 "Live In Germany (Joe Lynn Turner)

Other reading

*Roy Davies, "Rainbow Rising -The Story of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow" (Helter Skelter, 2002)
*Martin Popoff, "Rainbow- English Castle Magic" (Metal Blade 2005)
*Jerry Bloom, "Black Knight- Ritchie Blackmore" (Omnibus Press 2006)


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