Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (1975) front cover.jpg
Cover art by David Willardson
Studio album by
Released4 August 1975
RecordedMusicland Studios, Munich, West Germany, 20 February to 14 March 1975
GenreHeavy metal[1]
LabelOyster (UK)
Polydor (rest of the world)
ProducerRitchie Blackmore, Martin Birch, Ronnie James Dio
Rainbow chronology
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Ronnie James Dio chronology
Trying to Burn the Sun
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
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 studio album by American/British rock band Rainbow, released in 1975.


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 - and the newly composed "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves", which was to be the B-side.[citation needed] 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.[2]

The other members of Elf, keyboardist Micky Lee Soule and bassist Craig Gruber, were used for the recording of the album in Musicland Studios in Munich, West Germany during February and March, 1975. Though it was originally planned to be a solo album, the record was billed as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, and later progressed as a new band project. Blackmore and Dio did promotional work for the album. Shortly after the album was released, all Elf members (except 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.[citation needed]

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. A version featuring vocals subsequently appeared on Rainbow's live album On Stage and their 1995 studio album Stranger in Us All.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone(unfavorable)[4]

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.[5]

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".[6]

Track listing[edit]

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

Side one
1."Man on the Silver Mountain" 4:42
2."Self Portrait" 3:17
3."Black Sheep of the Family" (Quatermass cover)Steve Hammond3:22
4."Catch the Rainbow" 6:27
Side two
5."Snake Charmer" 4:33
6."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 McCarty3:51

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".




  • Shoshana – backing vocals on "Catch the Rainbow" and "Still I'm Sad"
  • Produced by Ritchie Blackmore, Martin Birch, Ronnie James Dio
  • Mixed by Martin Birch
  • Recorded at Musicland Studios, Munich, West Germany, 20 February – 14 March 1975


Year Chart Position
1975 UK Albums Chart[7] 11
Swedish Albums Chart[8] 24
Billboard 200 (USA) [9] 30
New Zealand Albums Charts[10] 40
RPM100 Albums (Canada)[11] 83
1976 Australian (Kent Music Report)[12] 55


Country Organization Year Sales
UK BPI 1975 Silver (+ 60,000)[13]



  1. ^ Prato, Greg (23 April 2020). "WENDY DIO Says RONNIE Never Spoke To RITCHIE BLACKMORE Again After Getting Fired From RAINBOW". Brave Words. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  2. ^ "RAINBOW: 1974–1976". The Ronnie James Dio Web Site. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  3. ^ Kent-Abbott, David. "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  4. ^ Altman, Billy (23 October 1975). "Album Reviews: Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2 October 2007. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  5. ^ Popoff, Martin. The Very Beast of Dio (liner notes). p. 11.
  6. ^ Jon Hotten (1988). "Black Sabbath : The Dio Years" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Rainbow Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Rainbow – Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (album)". Swedishcharts.com. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Top LPs & Tape" (PDF). Billboard. 87 (43): 74. 25 October 1975.
  10. ^ "Rainbow – Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (album)". charts.nz. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 24, No. 9, October 25, 1975". Library and Archives Canada. 25 October 1975. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 245. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "Search for Artist Ritchie Blackmore". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 November 2013.