Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Cover art by David Willardson
Studio album by Rainbow
Released 4 August 1975
Recorded Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, 20 February to 14 March 1975
Genre Hard rock
Length 36:54
Label Oyster (UK)
Polydor (rest of the world)
Producer Ritchie Blackmore, Martin Birch, Ronnie James Dio
Rainbow chronology
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
(1975)
Rising
(1976)
Ronnie James Dio chronology
Trying to Burn the Sun
(1975)
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
(1975)
Rising
(1976)
Singles from Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
  1. "Man on the Silver Mountain" / "Snake Charmer"
    Released: October 1975

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (sometimes stylised Ritchie Blackmore's R-A-I-N-B-O-W) is the first album by British rock guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's solo band Rainbow, released in 1975.

Recording[edit]

During studio sessions in Tampa Bay, Florida on 12 December 1974, Blackmore originally planned to record the solo single "Black Sheep of the Family"- a cover of a track by the band Quatermass from 1970. The newly composed "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" was to be the B-side. Other musicians involved included singer/lyricist Ronnie James Dio and drummer Gary Driscoll of blues rock band Elf, and cellist Hugh McDowell of ELO. Satisfied with the two tracks, Blackmore decided to extend the sessions to a full album.[1]

For the album the other members of Elf, keyboardist Micky Lee Soule and bassist Craig Gruber were utilised. The album was recorded in Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany during February–March 1975. Though it was originally thought to be a solo album, the record was billed as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, and later progressed to a new band project. Blackmore and Dio did promotional work for the album. Shortly after the album was released, all Elf members,excluding Dio, were sacked, and Blackmore recruited new musicians for subsequent Rainbow albums. This first line-up never performed live, and the live photos used in the album art are of Blackmore while with Deep Purple and of Elf playing live.

The last track of the album "Still I'm Sad" is an instrumental cover of a song by The Yardbirds from their 1965 album Having a Rave Up with The Yardbirds. "Catch the Rainbow" uses a similar chord progression and vocal melody to Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" from the 1967 album Axis: Bold as Love.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone (unfavorable)[3]

The original vinyl release had a gate fold sleeve, although later budget reissues on Polydor reduced to a single sleeve. The album's songs have been performed by subsequent Rainbow line-ups.

The album was widely praised for its fantasy/heroic-like lyrical content and the innovative rock style.

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow was re-issued on CD in remastered form in the US in April 1999. The European release followed later in the year.

Vocalist Ronnie James Dio considered this release his favourite Rainbow album.[4]

Despite the title implying the record being a Ritchie Blackmore solo release, in later years Blackmore has jokingly stated that Dio's contributions warranted a re-titling of "Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio's Rainbow".[5]

Track listing[edit]

All music written by Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio except where noted

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Man on the Silver Mountain"     4:42
2. "Self Portrait"     3:17
3. "Black Sheep of the Family" (Quatermass cover) Steve Hammond 3:22
4. "Catch the Rainbow"     6:27
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "Snake Charmer"     4:33
6. "The Temple of the King"     4:45
7. "If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll"     2:38
8. "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves"     3:31
9. "Still I'm Sad" (The Yardbirds cover) Paul Samwell-Smith, Jim McCarty 3:51

Note: On the cassette version of the album Side One features the last five tracks while Side Two plays the first four. On the case insert and on the cassette itself, "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" is written as "Sixteen Century Greensleeves".

Personnel[edit]

Rainbow

with

  • Shoshana – backing vocals
Production
  • Produced by Ritchie Blackmore, Martin Birch, Ronnie James Dio
  • Mixed by Martin Birch
  • Recorded at Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, 20 February – 14 March 1975

Charts[edit]

Album
Year Chart Position
1975 UK Albums Chart[6] 11
Swedish Albums Chart[7] 24
Billboard 200 (USA) [8] 30
New Zealand Albums Charts[9] 40
RPM100 Albums (Canada)[10] 83

Certifications[edit]

Country Organization Year Sales
UK BPI 1975 Silver (+ 60,000)[11]

Covers[edit]

  • Bible Black, whose membership included Craig Gruber and Gary Driscoll, would occasionally cover "Man on the Silver Mountain" live. In 2011 Gruber's new band, ED3N (which also contained his Bible Black bandmate Jeff Fenholt) recorded a cover of "Man on the Silver Mountain" as a tribute to Dio and Driscoll.
  • German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell covered the song "Still I'm Sad" on the tribute album Holy Dio: Tribute to Ronnie James Dio, which later appeared on his "best-of" The Wizard's Chosen Few. A cover of "The Temple of the King" appeared on his career compilation The Ballads III.
  • Spanish folk metal band Mägo de Oz covered "The Temple of the King" (albeit with different lyrics, in Spanish) as "El Templo del Adiós" on their 1998 album La Leyenda de la Mancha. Also, by Mägo de Oz, a cover of "Man on the Silver Mountain" is included in their compilation album Rarezas, though this album is somewhat unrecognised by the band itself due to some unresolved disagreements with the album's producer Locomotive Music.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "RAINBOW: 1974–1976". The Ronnie James Dio Web Site. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Kent-Abbott, David. "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  3. ^ Altman, Billy (23 October 1975). "Album Reviews: Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2 October 2007. Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin. The Very Beast of Dio (liner notes). p. 11. 
  5. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20090124161532/http://images.radcity.net/6340/2165303.pdf
  6. ^ "Rainbow Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  7. ^ "Rainbow – Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (album)". Swedishcharts.com. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  8. ^ "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  9. ^ "Rainbow – Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (album)". Charts.org.nz. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  10. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 24, No. 9, October 25, 1975". Library and Archives Canada. 25 October 1975. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  11. ^ "Search for Artist Ritchie Blackmore". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2013-11-26.