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Rainbow Difficult to Cure album cover
3.02 | 194 ratings | 12 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Surrender (4:10)
2. Spotlight Kid (5:04)
3. No Release (5:42)
4. Magic (4:15)
5. Vielleicht Das Nachster Zeit (Maybe Next Time) (3:23)
6. Can't Happen Here (5:09)
7. Freedom Fighter (4:28)
8. Midtown Tunnel Vision (4:44)
9. Difficult to Cure (Beethoven's Ninth) (5:58)

Total Time 42:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Joe Lynn Turner / lead & backing vocals
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitar
- Don Airey / keyboards
- Roger Glover / bass, producer
- Bobby Rondinelli / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Hipgnosis with Paul Maxon (photo)

LP Polydor ‎- POLD 5036 (1981, UK)

CD Polydor ‎- 800 018-2 (1985, Germany)
CD Polydor ‎- 547 365-2 (1999, Europe) Remastered by Suha Gur

Thanks to tuxon for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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RAINBOW Difficult to Cure ratings distribution

(194 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

RAINBOW Difficult to Cure reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Das m÷glicherweise dieses mal ....

1981 - a very fertile year for rock! Following their last album "Difficult to Cure" came as a relief and a revelation to Rainbow fans, having taken on the brilliant young vocalist Joe Lynn Turner this album rates as my favourite post - "Rising" effort by the band - sound quality, song quality, and the addition of Bob Rondinelli on drums, Ritchie sounds very very pleased indeed with his "new" band! - even elaborating big-time on his classical aspirations in the shape of an amazing tribute to Van Beethoven on the title track to the tune of the "Ninth" symphony. This will interest Prog fans I'm sure, but there are some great songs that accompany this little masterpiece!

"I Surrender" was the big hit from this album, the liquid tongue of JLT sliding round this one with ease, an extremely catchy chorus, a great riff and soloing from Ritchie. Another great riff introduces "Spotlight Kid" which features very fast solos from Ritchie and some brilliant playing from Don Airey, reminiscent of the old Purple shoot-outs between Ritchie and Jon Lord! The next track, the amazing "No Release" - this song has a mysteriously hypnotic riff, and is one of my favourite song intros, the song has a shuffly beat and repeats that riff and some great soloing, definitely one of the best songs on the album! The next catchy pop song "Magic" is followed by "Vielleicht Das Nachster Zeit "(translates as "Perhaps that next time"), an extremely beautiful slow instrumental guitar piece about love lost, featuring some sad, emotional liquid playing from Ritchie - I'm surprised no-one picked this up for a theme tune for something!

"Can't Happen Here" is another great catchy rock song with a brilliant riff, a political song about fears of nuclear war, a subject which many songs were written about in 1981 which worried everyone at the time, which it still does - nothing changes! "Freedom Fighter" is a straight rock song which covers the romantic subject of political rebels, followed by "Midtown Tunnel Vision" , an amazingly bluesy,sleazy riff introduces this amazingly bluesy, sleazy song, which contains an amazingly bluesy, phased, sleazy solo!

The crowning instrumental mini-masterpiece "Difficult to Cure" rounds off the album perfectly - this is Ritchie's tribute to Van Beethoven, and one of his finest symphonies, the "Ninth", using the famous tune from the chorus "Ode to Joy", and is indeed a joy to hear, too! Using the central theme to work round with his amazing soloing, Ritchie excels here, some amazing playing which also includes some great playing from Don Airey, (a worthy successor to Jon Lord in Purple), the band sound like they had a lot of fun doing this track, and also the character laughing along in the run-off groove!!


Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars OK, this album is just pure 1980's hard-rock music, but quite well crafted, and I believe I have some nostalgia towards this record as I heard it often as a teenager. Dio's presence does not dominate this album anymore, though Joe Lynn Turner's voice is bit similar, though not so full of pathos. Richie's guitar sound is yet the same, and those melodic lines on the verse of the opener now-evergreen "I Surrender" are really quite cool, though aesthetically this stuff isn't as cool as Hungarian late 60's acid folk. The overall quality of the compositions are the same throughout the record, making up a quite flat listening experience, except its final track, which is an arrangement of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". This is the most unforgettable and pleasant song from this record to me, though it surely is an act of raping to some (I really adore Beethoven.). This version really contains the essence of the movements' name, that being very joyful and stimulating song to be listened from an old 1980's Japanese car radio whilst driving drunk in the woods during Finnish Midsummer night.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Odes to joy

After just one album as lead vocalist, Graham Bonnet lost the job, to be replaced by the similar tones of Joe Lynn Turner. Also gone is the late, great Cozy Powell whose drum stool was filled by Bobby Rondinelli.

The pop rock territories explored on the previous "Down to earth" form the basis for this album which opens with a blistering cover of Russ Ballard's (Argent) "I surrender". Likewise, side two opens with a second hit "Can't happen here", Blackmore's reunion with Roger Glover showing that the pairing could be as commercially successful as Ritchie's erstwhile collaborations with Ronnie James Dio. With these huge hit singles the die is cast for the album, which is simply a succession of good rock songs.

"Spotlight kid" is "A light in the black" part 2, with superb guitar work from Ritchie followed by a complementary keyboard run by Don Airey. "No release" moves into the funkier areas adopted by the Coverdale/Hughes era Deep Purple, perhaps indicating that Blackmore was not as unhappy with that direction as he maintained.

There are a couple of what can only be described as fillers, which appear to be little more than facsimiles of other Rainbow songs. "Magic" could be (but is not) another Russ Ballard composition, which suffers from a second rate hook. The lyrics of "Freedom fighters" continue the world gone wrong theme of "Can't happen here", but the song is prosaic and unexciting.

The album includes two instrumental pieces. The first of these, "Vielleicht Das Nachster Zeit (Maybe Next Time)" is a beautiful, laid back lead guitar rendition by Ritchie. The closing track which gives the album its title is in fact an instrumental interpretation of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony ("Ode to joy"). The piece is given a heavy rock beat, and effectively used as basis for improvisations by Blackmore and Airey. Great stuff though.

In all, "Difficult to cure" a straightforward rock album with some interesting deviations. For me it will always sit in the also ran category, but it by no means brings up the rear.

The sleeve has similarities with Three Dog Night's "Hard Labor", with a gathering of puzzled doctors, not one of Hipgnosis best.

Review by Gooner
4 stars A great '80s hard rock record. Stellar production and a wonderful instrumental of "the ninth". :-) For those who enjoy Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers", this is definitely the one to get with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. The Joe Lynn Turner version of Rainbow always reminded me of a more progressive version of Foreigner. The track "No Release" is as good as anything Deep Purple ever released. Recommended!
Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars After their poor "Down To Earth", was "Raibow" able to avoid the downhill ?

Not with "Surrender" which is just an AOR cover which was indeed aired on the radio. The only short part to be remembered is a nice guitar break (but Ritchie is still playing right ?). Things will improve dramatically with "Spotlight Kid". Superb beat, powerful keys solo. Usual "Purple"actually ("Highway Star"). The only highlight.

"Rainbow" will remain in good territories with "No Release" thanks again to a great guitar solo during the final section of the song. Otherwise, it is no more than a good hard-rock song.

But this album holds nothing else than average hard-rock songs (as most of the "Rainbow" albums). If you except "Spolight" there is nothing to really to speak about. On top of this, several AOR-ish tracks like "Freedom Fighter" won't increase the level of interest for this type of music. And the so-called musical difference with "Purple" (too bluesy-orientation) is even more doubtful while you listen to "Midtown Tunnel Vision". But this is not the first time in "Rainbow" 's career that this is to be noticed. Not too bad though.

And to count on a "Ludwig Von B." cover to save this album sufficiently shows that the lack of creativity was a serious issue in those days for "Rainbow". But "Difficult To Cure" is just a joke as far as I'm concerned. Two stars.

To discover the prog side of the band, I guess that we'll have to wait for later releases.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Through this album, the lead vocalist changed from Graham Bonnet to Joe Lynn Turner. Not much different from previous album "Down To Earth", this "Difficult To Cure" does not make the listener aware that the vocal department was changed. One thing thak makes this album attractive is the combined work between Don Airey keyboard (one of the best rock keyboard players I have ever known) and Ritchie's wild guitar work. This does not seem so obvious at the opening track - which was a radio hit as well - "I Surrender". One might compare this album with previous work like "Rising" or debut album, but I do not think that's fair for the band as they embarked to different kind of musical style. Since the previous album Rainbow had moved towards more poppy sound while maintaining its heavy music.

You can not expect something as great as "Stargazer" (Rising) or "Gates of Babylon" from Rainbow albums during this Bonnet or Turner eras. But there are still basic characteristics of Rainbow sound right here and there. The album contains two excellent instrumentals in Vielleicht Das Nachster Zeit (Maybe Next Time) and Difficult To Cure which includes an adaptation of Beethoven's Ninth.

It's definitely not the best album to start with Rainbow. But, if you are a great fan of Ritchie, you should have one. It's not a bad album, really.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars 'Can't get no, can't get no, can't get no release' That is just what the record company should have told the band concerning this album!

The once so great Rainbow entered the worst period of its career with this album. While the previous album, Down To Earth, already showed some signs of their apparant downfall, that album still offered more than a few traces of the brilliance displayed on the Dio-era albums. Difficult To Cure, on the other hand, has almost no redeeming features at all!

As always with Rainbow, the band once again suffered line up changes here. While Graham Bonnet was a poor replacement for Ronnie James Dio, they still managed to pull together a decent album with him. Joe Lynn Turner is worse and this time they crossed the line into the mediocre. The great Cozy Powell was also replaced here with Bobby Rondinelli. Both are very good drummers, but they were hardly allowed to show that on these Bonnet/Turner-era albums.

Like on Down To Earth, Rainbow once again chose to cover a Russ Ballard song. It was a bad idea the first time around and it is no better here. There is a very nice guitar/keyboard solo section on Spotlight Kid which is the highlight of the whole album, but the rest of the song is just as awful as most of the other songs are too. I am not going to comment on each individual track here since they are all very similar and if you have heard a couple of them you pretty much know what the rest sounds like. There is not much variation on the album. In terms of progressive tendencies this album is almost completely empty.

The song writing here is mediocre at best, and the lyrics are cheesy and full of the regular Rock 'N' Roll clichÚs. The tedious No Release goes 'Can't get no, can't get no, can't get no release' and is just what I wish the record company would have told the band concerning this album. They could have topped this rejection with 'Tut uns leid, vielleicht das nńchste mal!' (maybe next time), which incidentally is the title of another one of the album's tracks. The latter is an instrumental which is basically just a guitar solo without direction; listenable but totally unremarkable.

There is one further instrumental on this album which is an adaptation of Beethoven's Ninth. This is probably intended as a tribute, but to my ears it is more of an insult! Ritchie would perform this one live many times with a much better result. Beethoven is probably turning in his grave over this!

This album is for hard core Rainbow and Blackmore fans only (and even if I consider myself one of these I find very little to enjoy here). The disappointment induced by this album will be difficult to cure indeed!

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yesterday I just was on "Rainbow"concert, watching Joe Lynn Turner and Bob Rondinelli, so I just remembered this album right today morning. No, I am absolutely serious about concert: ok, it wasn't same "Rainbow"as on album, but very similar. Yes, you right, they are named "Over The Rainbow" now and there is not Ritchie, but his son Jurgen on guitar... But all other things are quite similar, they even play same songs. In fact it's a great Rainbow tribute band, and they are on European tour now, and yesterday they played there in Vilnius.

But now about album. I listened it soon after LP was released in 1981. I reallt loved Rainbow at that time. But after the very first listening I got a strange feeling, which stayed till now.

First of all, "Difficult To Care"is very melodic album with nice arrangements and some Blackmore's ( Ritchie at that time) guitar solos. Still heavy enough, accordind to hard-rock rules of that time. But... to rounded, too polished and ... not too much real hard rock. Even if some songs I like till now ( "I Surrender" and both perfect instrumentals), all album sounded a bit as imitation! It's like chamber band decided to play on rock party and demonstrated, that they can play hard rock. Music is very competent, but isn't ... true.

I don't know, if "pleasant"music is a compliment for the kind of music ( melodic hard-rock with classical music scent) Rainbow recorded there. So, I have this feeling right till now.

Album is not bad at all, but - I don't believe in that music! High quality imitation. Rebels with good suits. Salon rockers.

After that album "Rainbow" very soon missed all their magic, Blackmore after some flirt with reformed Deep Purple opened family business under "Blackmore's Night" label.

So, not real early Rainbow ( far from it!), but still nice album,and last sign and monument for Rainbow.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Two years after Down To Earth Rainbow was back with a new album and, as it is their wont, with a new line up. Replacing the erratic Graham Bonnet enters Joe Lynn Turner, the first american to join the british outfit. In several ways Turner was much more suited to the "new" sound guitarist and leader Ritchie Blackmore was aiming: a more melodic and radio friendly hard rock to win over a wider audience, especially in America. So a kind of AOR type of singer was needed. And Turner, a superb vocalist, seemed to be perfect for the job. However, the band also lost their drummer Cozy Powell, since he was not happy with the more commercial approach of the band. And although he was replaced by an excellent musician (Bobby Rondinelli, another north american), his unique style and thundering sound would never be equalled. Again the newcomer did fit well into the new style.

Unfortunately the new material did not really reach the power nor the inspiration of Down To Earth: the new compositions were good, sometimes very good but not excellent, while the slicker production and the new direction did nothing to add energy to them. The inclusion of not one, but two commercial pop covers (I Surrender and Magic) only worsened things for fans. Ok, I Surrender became a hit, but the album did not sell as much as it was hoped. Which is really a pity, since the album is not nearly as bad as some people rate it here in PA. As usual the high quality of the playing is intact and songs like Spotlight Kid, Can┬┤t Happen Here and Midtown Tunnel Vision are all very worth hard rock songs with tasteful arrangements and Blackmore┬┤s unique gutsy guitar delivering. The instrumental Vielleicht Das Nachster Zeit is another highlight, with a brilliant and emotional guitar solo from Blackmore (I only wish it was longer...). Their version of Beethoven┬┤s Nineth Ode To Joy however all their great skill and technique smells of filler material and it is really dismissible, and not even a good organ solo by Don Airey can redeem it.

In the end I found Difficult To Cure to be a better LP than I thought when it was released. Certainly it has its merits and the musical in general stood well the test of time. But it was a step back from their previous one. So I rate this one 3 stars: good, but not essential.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars Ritchie Blackmore has long been known as a difficult personality to work with and when one looks back at his band RAINBOW and its ever rotating cast of team members, it all reads like one of those horrible 1980s soap operas but yet somehow he sallied forth and released eight albums. After three albums with Ronnie James Dio as lead vocalist, RAINBOW earned its heavy metal creds as one of the leading pioneers of the power metal genre with excellent songwriting, tight-knit instrumental interplay and fantasy fueled themes that reverberate into the modern world of metal music however mainstream success eschewed the band and Blackmore was getting a little weary of the cashless notoriety and therefore steered the band into a more commercial sound.

The decision caused Ronnie James Dio to jump ship who was replaced by ex-The Marbles singer Graham Bonnet. "Down To Earth" did a fine job streamlining the RAINBOW sound into the zeitgeist of the late 70s hard rock scene without sacrificing the powerful drive that the first three albums had. It proved to send RAINBOW onto the album charts but still wasn't good enough for Blackmore who wanted to be the next Boston i guess. Despite Bonnet doing a stellar job of belting out all those boogie fueled hard rock tunes, his forte was in the world of R&B so he felt like a fish out of water and jumped ship leaving Blackmore with the position of replacing the vocalist one more time. In the meantime Blackmore had zeroed in as Foreigner as the band that he wanted to emulate and in Bonnet's stead arrived the newbie singer from New Jersey named Joe Lynn Turner who indeed sounded a lot like Lou Gramm.

Turner proved to be the lead singer RAINBOW needed to take the band's sound into the commercial arenas of AOR infused hard rock and he would record three albums with the band before Blackmore scrapped it all and rejoined Deep Purple. DIFFICULT TO CURE was the first Turner album which came out in early 1981 and showcased an even more commercialized sound for RAINBOW. The former Argent guitar and singer Russ Ballard vaults were raided again after the success of "Since You've Been Gone" and the lead singer "I Surrender" quickly raced up the charts and hit the #3 position on the UK charts but the big time success Blackmore was shooting for in the US still eluded him. Being a bit cheesier filled with those tinny 80s keyboards and high register vocals, DOWN TO EARTH indeed sounded like a long lost Foreigner album, well, at least some of the time. Another interesting fact is that the album cover was originally supposed to appear on Black Sabbath's 1978 album "Never Say Die!"

Truth be told, DIFFICULT TO CURE was a shaky start for Turner who performed his vocal duties well but the album was riddled with inconsistencies. While some tracks like "No Release" and "Can't Happen Here" evoked the past with bluesy heavy and Deep Purple infused keyboards, other tracks were just plain silly including the hit single. "Spotlight Kid" although an OK track with the same boogie rock swagger featured a very strange sort of keyboard wizardry hoedown towards the end. "Magic" was anything but with an insufferable mix and sounds like a reject from one of those 80s Survivor albums. The AOR aspects were clearly a desperate attempt to cash in on the band's by then legendary status. Nothing against AOR pop rock ballads but as with every musical genre, it requires the right elements in the right places in order to work and at this point RAINBOW sounds a bit lost.

Other tracks like "Freedom Fighter" and "Midtown Tunnel Vision" also skate in between the bluesy rock of the past and the more commercial sounds of the present but ultimately come off as Bad Company rejects. The cream of the crop for those who missed the Dio days was the closing instrumental title track with was in fact a modern interpretation of Ludwig van Beehthoven's "Ninth" which sort of sounded like an old version of Deep Purple trying to emulate 1960s The Nice by rockin' the classics. The track is probably the best on this one. As far as i'm concerned and speaking as someone who actually loves the AOR 80s version of RAINBOW, DIFFICULT TO CURE is the weakest album of RAINBOW's eight album run. Not only is the material mostly mediocre but Blackmore was clearly indecisive as to exactly move the band with some tracks emulating Foreigner, others sounding like Whitesnake and yet others latching onto RAINBOW's own Dio years. While not a horrible album by any means, this is my personal least favorite of this band's existence.

Latest members reviews

5 stars 1. I Surrender yes that of Russ who had not taken off a year before, incredible as this hit could only be good, a recognizable riff, a rhythmic tune that even a blind person would recognize, good one of those who give the musical signature for the rest of the album; we await the always angelic Ritch ... (read more)

Report this review (#2312226) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great hard rock album, the best from the Joe Lynn Turner era. I love this album, and especially the two instrumentals (the two side-closers), and especially Vielleicht Das Naschster Ziet, which is poignant, really. Under a strange sleeve, a more-than-nice album, full of good songs, like Magic, ... (read more)

Report this review (#164217) | Posted by Zardoz | Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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