Stargazer (Rainbow song)
|Song by Rainbow from the album Rising|
|Genre||Heavy metal, symphonic rock, progressive rock, power metal|
Ronnie James Dio
|Rising track listing|
"Stargazer" is the fifth track from Rainbow's 1976 album Rising. An epic song narrating the story of a wizard whose attempt to fly by constructing a tower to the stars led to the enslavement of vast numbers of people, it is notable for its musical qualities as well, with the guitar and drum solos cited as important examples of the qualities of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and drummer Cozy Powell.
The long, epic track with symphonic influences starts with a short drum solo by Cozy Powell, a "great drumming moment" frequently cited as an example of his skills. It features the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, a mellotron, and what Ritchie Blackmore called "a string thing all playing this half-Turkish Scale". Blackmore's solo, after the second verse, is in B Phrygian dominant scale, and is cited as "one of his best".
The song has been called a "morality tale", and its lyrics are written from the standpoint of a "slave in Egyptian times", according to lyricist Ronnie James Dio. They relate the story of the Wizard, an astronomer become "obsessed with the idea of flying", who enslaves a vast army of people to build him a tower from which he can take off and fly. The people hope for the day when their misery comes to an end, building the tower in harsh conditions ("In the heat and rain, with whips and chains; / to see him fly, so many died"). In the end, the wizard climbs to the top of the tower but, instead of flying, falls down and dies: "no sound as he falls instead of rising. / Time standing still, then there's blood on the sand". The next song, "A Light in the Black", continues the story of the people who have lost all purpose after the Wizard's death "until they see the Light in the Dark", according to Dio.
AllMusic and MusicHound describe the song as one of Rainbow's classics, AllMusic calling it a "bombastic, strings-enriched epic". Vincent DeMasi, transcribing part of Blackmore's solo as an example of his taste for "classical drama" with a "Middle Eastern flavor", calls the song an "operatic blockbuster". Jeff Perkins argues that the "incredible epic", one of the band's highlights, derives its strength from Blackmore's guitarplaying, Dio's lyrics and vocals, and Powell's drumming. Andy DiGelsomina, composer for the neo-operatic metal project Lyraka, argued for both Wagnerian and existentialist interpretations of the lyrics.
"Stargazer (Rough Mix)", an early mix from the 2011 Deluxe Edition of Rising, starts with a keyboard intro played by Tony Carey and has a length of 9:08.
- In 1998, Mundanus Imperium, a Norwegian metal band featuring Jørn Lande on vocals, covered "Stargazer" on the album "The Spectral Spheres Coronation"
- In 2003, Barilari covered "Stargazer" (with Spanish lyrics) on their self-titled debut album
- In 2003, Lana Lane covered "Stargazer" on her Covers Collection album
- In 2009, Dream Theater covered "Stargazer" on the special edition of their Black Clouds & Silver Linings
- In 2011, Týr covered "Stargazer" on the album The Lay of Thrym
- In 2014, Metallica covered "Stargazer" as part of the "Ronnie Rising Medley" on the Dio tribute album Ronnie James Dio This Is Your Life
- Ritchie Blackmore – guitars
- Ronnie James Dio – lead and backing vocals
- Cozy Powell – drums, percussion
- Jimmy Bain – bass
- Tony Carey – keyboards
- Munich Philharmonic Orchestra – Strings, Horn
- Fritz Sonnleitner – Concert Master
- Rainer Pietsch – Conductor
- Litten, Robert. Famous DRUM FILLS, Licks & Solos!. www.DrumsTheWord.com. p. 372.
- The Drummer: 100 Years of Rhythmic Power and Invention. Modern Drummer. 2010. p. 112. ISBN 9781476855899.
- Elflein, Dietmar (2010). Schwermetallanalysen: die musikalische Sprache des Heavy Metal. transcript Verlag. p. 129. ISBN 9783837615760.
- Perkins, Jeff. Rainbow - Uncensored on the Record. Coda Books. p. 70. ISBN 9781908538574.
- Maloof, Rich; Prown, Pete (2006). Shred!: The Ultimate Guide to Warp-speed Guitar. Backbeat Books. pp. 32–33. ISBN 9780879308773.
- Earl, Benjamin (2013). "Metal Goes 'Pop': The Explosion of Heavy Metal into the Mainstream". In Bayer, Gerd. Heavy Metal Music in Britain. Ashgate. p. 56. ISBN 9781409493853.
- Woodstra, Chris; Bush, John; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2007). All Music Guide Required Listening: Classic Rock. Backbeat Books. p. 171. ISBN 9780879309176.
- Graff, Gary (1996). MusicHound rock: the essential album guide. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 9780787610371.
- Mike Molenda, ed. (2007). The Guitar Player Book: 40 Years of Interviews, Gear, and Lessons from the World's Most Celebrated Guitar Magazine. Backbeat Books. p. 163. ISBN 9780879307820.