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Rainbow biography
Masterminded by Ritchie Blackmore, the guitarist of Deep Purple, Rainbow recorded nine studio albums between 1975 and 1995. The period between 1975 and 1978 (also known as the Dio Era) would be remembered as the most important incarnation of the band. Blending hard rock with classical music, Rainbow paved the way for many Progressive and Progressive Metal bands with their musical virtuosity and the "sword, magic and wizardry" imagery in their lyrics. Blackmore´s strength in improvisation led to many live albums, which are still being remastered and released until this day.

Deep Purple and Elf

In 1974, after Deep Purple had released "Stormbringer", Ritchie Blackmore had become disillusioned with the funk/soul elements that were being introduced by David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, and also wanted to express his ideas that were being suppressed in Deep Purple. He went into the studio with an American band, Elf, which were to act only as a session band. Rainbow's debut was actually recorded whilst Ritchie was still a member of Deep Purple! This took place just before Deep Purple's European tour to support "Stormbringer". The line up at this stage was Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Ronnie James Dio (vocals), Gary Driscoll (drums), Craig Gruber (bass) and Mickey Lee Soule (piano, Mellotron, clavinet and organ). Blackmore instantly struck up a strong working relationship with the lead vocalist of Elf, Ronnie James Dio. Their shared interests in both medieval and hard rock music would build the foundations for "Ritchie Blackmore´s Rainbow", in which Blackmore and Dio shared all the songwriting credits. Extremely pleased with the results of the recording session with Elf, Blackmore decided to quit Deep Purple and form Ritchie Blackmore´s Rainbow.

The Dio Years

"Ritchie Blackmore´s Rainbow" was released in August 1975, but even before its release, the first of a long line of musicians had already been fired. Bassist Craig Gruber was given his marching orders and this marked the beginning of Blackmore´s policy of firing and hiring musicians at the drop of a hat. After the debut album was released, all the members of Elf (except for Dio) were replaced. Blackmore recruited two unknowns, bassist Jimmy Bain and keyboardist Tony Carey. Former Jeff Beck drummer Cozy Powell was brought in to complete the line -up. Their second album, "Rising", contained three lengthy compositions, "Tarot Woman", "A Light in the Black" and the all-time classic Rai...
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Long Live Rock `n' Roll [Remastered]Long Live Rock `n' Roll [Remastered]
Remastered
Polydor 1999
Audio CD$1.99
$1.09 (used)
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]
Remastered
Polydor 1999
Audio CD$2.08
$0.99 (used)
Rainbow Rising (Remastered)Rainbow Rising (Remastered)
Remastered
Polydor 1999
Audio CD$2.08
$0.24 (used)
Catch The Rainbow: The Anthology [2 CD]Catch The Rainbow: The Anthology [2 CD]
Remastered
Polydor 2003
Audio CD$3.41
$2.29 (used)
Very Best Of RainbowVery Best Of Rainbow
Remastered
Polydor 1997
Audio CD$3.05
$2.05 (used)
Down To Earth (Remastered)Down To Earth (Remastered)
Remastered
Polydor 1999
Audio CD$3.23
$0.24 (used)
Straight Between The Eyes (Remastered)Straight Between The Eyes (Remastered)
Remastered
Polydor 1999
Audio CD$1.99
$1.08 (used)
Difficult To Cure (Remastered)Difficult To Cure (Remastered)
Remastered
Polydor 1999
Audio CD$2.31
$2.30 (used)
On Stage (Remastered)On Stage (Remastered)
Remastered
Polydor 1999
Audio CD$2.21
$2.20 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
RAINBOW RISING (1976) JAPAN CD POCP-2290 RITCHIE BLACKMORE RONNIE JAMES DIO USD $19.99 Buy It Now 32m 45s
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RAINBOW Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow [Remaster] CD, 1999 USD $11.00 Buy It Now 44m 3s
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Israel Iz Kamakawiwo'Ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow: Greatest Hits [CD New] USD $23.90 Buy It Now 2h 2m
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Vic Damone "Over The Rainbow" (S) USD $7.49 Buy It Now 2h 52m
Peters & Lee Rainbow UK 7" vinyl single record 6006406 PHILIPS 1974 USD $15.51 Buy It Now 2h 55m
Original Love Rainbow Race CD JAPAN IMPORT 1995 USD $2.43 Buy It Now 2h 57m
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The Best Of Rainbow 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) Japanese MPZ8139/40 USD $76.87 Buy It Now 3h 6m
Down To Earth Rainbow Japanese CD album (CDLP) P33P25018 POLYDOR 1979 USD $66.32 Buy It Now 3h 13m
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RAINBOW-THE SINGLES BOX SET 1975 1986-JAPAN MINI EP 19 CD Ltd/Ed AK12 USD $129.99 Buy It Now 4h 44m
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5h 17m
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RAINBOW / DOWN TO EARTH USD $15.00 Buy It Now 5h 55m
Erik Norby - Rainbow Snake: Orchestral Songs & Symphonic Works CD USD $20.89 Buy It Now 5h 58m
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Double Rainbow - Letter From Rio CD USD $24.49 Buy It Now 5h 59m
Rainbow Team - Song For You CD USD $26.79 Buy It Now 5h 59m
Graham Bonnet - Line Up CD 1981 Japan PHCR-4194 Rainbow MSG Alcatrazz USD $20.00 Buy It Now 6h 23m
Emuul 'The Ghostwood Estates ( Blackest Rainbow Records ) Cassette USD $6.24 [0 bids]
6h 26m
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WENDY & LISA RAINBOW LAKE Ltd 12" VINYL BOX SET + POSTER (UNPLAYED) USD $6.17 Buy It Now 6h 46m
Pat Benatar - Gravity's Rainbow (1993) CD NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $8.32 Buy It Now 6h 46m
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AVALON, FRANKIE 45RPM 1959 CHANCELLOR 1045 WHY & SWINGIN ON A RAINBOW VG+ USD $25.00 Buy It Now 6h 47m
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Miner/Ramnath/Bhattacharya - Rainbow-Seven Colors Of Seven Instruments [CD New] USD $9.71 Buy It Now 6h 51m
The Mladen Franko Group - Over the Rainbow 12" LP vinyl USD $10.91 Buy It Now 6h 59m
RAINBOW - Since you been gone - EX+ - 7" Single USD $3.01 Buy It Now 7h
ARETHA FRANKLIN 7" Rock-A-Lott/Look To The Rainbow USD $3.12 Buy It Now 7h 2m
QUEEN - LIVE AT THE RAINBOW (DELUXE VERSION) 2 CD NEW+ USD $26.86 Buy It Now 7h 18m
?RAINBOW - SURRENDER - RARE 7" 45 VINYL RECORD w PICT SLV - 1981? USD $11.44 Buy It Now 7h 25m
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Rainbow-I Surrender 7" Vinyl 45 RPM Classic USD $3.11 Buy It Now 7h 35m
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COHEED AND CAMBRIA "YEAR OF THE BLACK RAINBOW" CD NEW+ USD $25.73 Buy It Now 7h 46m
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RAINBOW-LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL-JAPAN SHM-SACD Ltd/Ed I19 USD $33.99 Buy It Now 8h 18m
JIMI HENDRIX Rainbow Bridge Soundtrack REPRISE UK 1st Press A1/B1 LP Gatefold USD $39.02 Buy It Now 8h 21m
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RAINBOW discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RAINBOW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 205 ratings
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
1975
4.16 | 390 ratings
Rising
1976
3.42 | 186 ratings
Long Live Rock & Roll
1978
2.62 | 123 ratings
Down To Earth
1979
2.86 | 107 ratings
Difficult To Cure
1981
2.43 | 105 ratings
Straight Between The Eyes
1982
2.90 | 100 ratings
Bent Out Of Shape
1983
3.47 | 92 ratings
Stranger In Us All
1995

RAINBOW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.79 | 99 ratings
On Stage
1977
2.49 | 46 ratings
Finyl Vinyl
1986
3.46 | 27 ratings
Live in Germany 1976 (aka Live in Europe)
1990
4.57 | 14 ratings
Live Düsseldorf Philipshalle 1976
2006
4.60 | 15 ratings
Live Kölner Sporthalle 1976
2006
3.71 | 27 ratings
Live In Munich 1977
2006
4.18 | 14 ratings
Live in Nürnberg 1976
2007
3.78 | 9 ratings
Black Masquerade
2013

RAINBOW Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.14 | 7 ratings
The Final Cut
1985
3.89 | 9 ratings
Live Between the Eyes
1996
2.18 | 7 ratings
Inside Rainbow 1975-1979
2003
4.29 | 7 ratings
Live Between The Eyes + Final Cut
2006
4.11 | 18 ratings
Live In Munich 1977 (DVD)
2006
3.24 | 6 ratings
Live At Budokan, Tokyo
2006
4.33 | 3 ratings
Up Close and Personal
2007
5.00 | 3 ratings
Black Masquerade
2013

RAINBOW Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.42 | 14 ratings
The Best of Rainbow
1981
4.43 | 7 ratings
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow CD Boxset
1983
3.15 | 7 ratings
Ансамбль Rainbow
1988
3.19 | 16 ratings
The Very Best Of Rainbow
1997
4.17 | 6 ratings
The Millennium Collection: The Best of Rainbow
2000
4.07 | 6 ratings
The Universal Masters Collection
2001
3.75 | 4 ratings
Pot of Gold
2002
3.04 | 4 ratings
All Night Long: An Introduction
2002
4.78 | 9 ratings
Catch the Rainbow - The Anthology
2003
4.25 | 4 ratings
Colour Collection
2006
4.60 | 5 ratings
Classic Rainbow
2009
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Singles Box Set 1975-1986
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Light In The Black 1975-1984
2015

RAINBOW Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 6 ratings
Still I'm Sad
1975
4.00 | 6 ratings
The Temple Of The King
1975
3.38 | 7 ratings
Man On The Silver Mountain
1975
3.57 | 7 ratings
Starstruck
1976
4.14 | 7 ratings
Live (Kill The King)
1977
3.71 | 7 ratings
Long Live Rock N Roll
1978
2.53 | 8 ratings
L. A. Connection
1978
3.67 | 6 ratings
Since You Been Gone
1979
3.83 | 6 ratings
All Night Long
1980
4.00 | 4 ratings
Can't Happen Here
1980
3.75 | 4 ratings
Jealous Lover
1981
3.83 | 6 ratings
I Surrender
1981
4.25 | 4 ratings
Power
1982
4.40 | 5 ratings
Stone Cold
1982
4.60 | 5 ratings
Can't Let You Go
1983
4.71 | 7 ratings
Street of Dreams
1983
3.67 | 6 ratings
Ariel
1995
3.75 | 4 ratings
Hunting Humans (Insatiable)
1995

RAINBOW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bent Out Of Shape by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.90 | 100 ratings

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Bent Out Of Shape
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Whoah. I feel so out of place in regards to Richie Blackmore's RAINBOW. I'm supposed to go ga ga over the first two albums which are deemed the most inventive and revered but personally i just don't find those two albums very interesting. I feel RAINBOW really started getting interesting with the third Dio fronted album "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" but i also find the vocals of the third vocalist Joe Lynn Turner to be the most captivating for this particular style of hard rock with pop musical sensibilities. BENT OUT OF SHAPE is my favorite of the three albums which grace Joe's vocal talents. True he sounds a lot like Lou Gramm of Foreigner (another band i'm fond of) but this album isn't a Foreigner clone album. Despite being a lot more based in the pop rock world than earlier RAINBOW albums, i just find this to be a really satisfying album.

It all started when i heard the single "Street Of Dreams" which just floored me with the vocal skills. The song is super catchy and has some interesting lyrics. After hearing that song i tracked down this album and found that i pretty much like every track on here. The only exception is the finale "Make Your Move" which totally seems out of place after the album makes its pop rock statement end with the ambient "Snowman" which should have ended the album on a somber note. The tracks are equally compelling from the most Foreigner inspired opening track "Stranded" to the more bad boy inspired "Drinking With The Devil" bringing an AC/DC vibe to mind. Yeah, the subject matter is contrived but the music really hits me where it counts. Blackmore's solos are nothing to the level as his best works with Deep Purple but the composition of the music is what really wins me over on this one.

There are several aspects of this album that really sink deep. First of all are Joe Lynn Turner's flawless vocal abilities. He is able to hit all those high notes with grace and dignity that behooves a male soprano. Secondly the compositions are addictive and vary enough to keep me enthralled throughout the album's running time with the exception of the unneeded "Make Your Move." Thirdly, the lyrics are fairly poetic and creative for a pop rock album. Fourthly, there is an unexplainable attraction that i can't put my finger on. Intellectually i can find many flaws with this album in comparison to every other Blackmore offering to precede it, but emotionally this album gives me goosebumps for some reason! Beyond words and explanation but true. "Street Of Dreams" will remain a favorite single song in my world until i become a decomposing corpse. Seriously. This is an album that i am clearly on an opposite spin than most but it really does resonate with me on a profound level. Go figure. We're all freaks of nature!

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 Rising by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.16 | 390 ratings

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Rising
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by Losimba

5 stars Rising was my first Rainbow album (still on vinyl), and I loved it immediately. Though Jimmy Bain on bass and vocalist Ronnie James Dio have never been the most talented musicians, and Ritchie Blackmore has proven later that he is at his best with an acoustic guitar, they somehow managed to compensate this by something they never achieved again: playing as a real band.

The most dominant feature of Rising is the intensity of the songs. It is no wonder and quite fitting that Rising contains no ballad. The six songs, however, are nowhere near similar or even monotonous. Though it is evident that Ritchie Blackmore dominated the songwriting, of course letting Dio write the lyrics, similarities to Deep Purple are subtle. Blackmore's solos sound like they always did, but that's it basically. Drummer Cozy Powell and keyboarder Tony Carey prove that they are in the same league as Iain Paice and Jon Lord. Who would have thought that Carey would later become famous for a pop ballad like Room With A View?

It is not easy to point out single songs as better or weaker, although Dio once stated in an interview that he wished A Light In The Black had never been written. I strongly disagree, as it is my second favourite song of the album. It is only surpassed by Stargazer which is the reason why I didn't write impossible at the beginning of this paragraph. Stargazer is definitely a five and a half star song with tendencies to six stars, although it never made my personal Top 10. But this is not Stargazer's fault but simply due to the even higher quality of the other songs I rated above it.

The rating for Rising is simple: 5.0 stars.

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 Finyl Vinyl by RAINBOW album cover Live, 1986
2.49 | 46 ratings

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Finyl Vinyl
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

2 stars First of all, it's always a terrible idea for any musical group to call anything they do "final." Chances are that a reunion of sorts is in the cards down the road and that happened to Rainbow just like it did for sundry others of their ilk. Leader Ritchie Blackmore said "never again" in 1984, folded up his tents and went to shack up with yet another reconstituted edition of Deep Purple. Lo and behold, nine years later the Rainbow balloon was re-inflated so the title of this record became a lie. No big deal, though. It happens all the time. Anywho, when Ritchie left the purple gang in the mid-70s I not only lost interest in the group he walked away from but I also failed to be able to generate any interest in the new outfit he was putting together. My tastes in music were starting to lean in more of a jazz/rock fusion sorta way in those days and despite how much I'd loved his fiery guitar style up to then I was ready to find other gun slingers to singe my short and curlies. In other words, unless I heard a Rainbow song on the FM I was oblivious to the products of their craftsmanship. Earlier this year I grabbed up one of their albums at random to see what I'd missed. "Down to Earth" was a disappointment and that's like saying the Titanic was a bust. It reeked of manure. However, I've learned not to judge a band by one CD so then I went the safe and less expensive route. In cases like this where I don't want to further invest in their catalog I'll spring for a greatest hits package to get a comprehensive overview of their career. Even better is a live album because you usually get a more accurate bead on what the group was really about. "Finyl Vinyl" fit the bill and I'm marginally pleased to say that at least it was listenable.

The curtain-raiser is "Spotlight Kid." A pompous concert opening featuring Dorothy and Toto leads to a speedy number with Blackmore out in front, shredding his fretboard frantically and as spectacularly as he did with his former combo. It's a good starter tune that gets the juices flowing. "I Surrender" is next and this heavy rocker kicks hard but the song is of average quality at best. If not for Ritchie's blistering guitar ride it would be a total waste of time to sit through. "Miss Mistreated" follows and it's the kind of lead-footed plodder that I refer to as vanilla rawk. It ponderously meanders along and never matures. There are a few studio cuts included and the first one is "Jealous Lover." It's a riff-based ditty that's somewhat unattractive yet fairly typical of the stagnant era it was created in. There's a Foreigner aroma wafting through the track and that should tell you volumes. They go back to the stage for "Can't Happen Here," a song that's reminiscent of DP's excellent "Burn" but without the splendid urgency and inventive interludes being included that made that tune a classic. They churn out a faithful rendition of their hit single, "Since You Been Gone," but, like the original, it leaves me cold as a DQ dilly bar. Too Top 40 for this stubborn progger to endorse. Another studio track, "Bad Girl," is next. It's a formula rocker that I find annoyingly vapid and predictable. Again, it's Blackmore's hot guitar solo that saves it from the abyss. But just barely. "Bad Girl" is a bad song.

Things brighten considerably with the live version of "Difficult to Cure." While its lone guitar beginning is only semi-interesting, that brief exposition evolves into a full band affair wherein the other guys join up to support Ritchie as he proceeds to put on a showcase of his six string prowess. When they morph into a strong, updated delivery of Ludwig Van's "Ode to Joy" it's a nice treat for the senses. Finally Blackmore comes through with the goods. In addition a symphonic string section appears and it's a stroke of genius. This track is definitely the proggiest thing on the disc. (Can you imagine him with ELP?) The extended organ intro for "Stone Cold" is cool but the song that ensues is weak and woefully dated. In that era 100 acts were putting schlock of this nature out every month. "Power" fares no better. It's more of the run-of-the-mill rock that only served to further taint that once proud but ultimately jaded genre and it deserves to be avoided. "Man on the Silver Mountain" is one of the few Rainbow numbers I know and it's also the one I immediately identify with the band. Taped earlier in their career, I can tell there's a lot more energy and effort being put into the performance. Ronnie James Dio's vocal is killer and Blackmore's guitar work is invigorating. I especially appreciate how they effortlessly dive into a fun, bluesy deal at the end. "Long Live Rock & Roll" follows. It's a pounding shuffle that's a decent headbanger as long as you keep your expectations low. Dio's goading-of-the-audience-into- participating segment gets real old real fast, however. The album goes out on a tasteful note with the studio instrumental, "Weiss Heim." Its somber mood is refreshing and highly effective. Ritchie restrains himself and it pays off as the number stays in its gentle pocket all the way through. My only wish is that they would've let pianist David Rosenthal become more involved along the way. He could've made the song extra special.

"Finyl Vinyl" was released in March of 1986 with hopes that it would resonate among the group's fan base who sorely missed their Rainbow fix. It sold reasonably well, reaching #87 on the US charts (not too shabby for an entity that had been dead two years). I get the impression that most of Rainbow's material was penned by Blackmore because everything I've heard so far sounds quite derivative of Deep Purple. And with good reason. Ritchie was the most vital cog in that famous ensemble in their heyday and he took a lot of their signature sound with him when he skedaddled. There's enough good stuff on this record to keep it out of my dungeon but it falls short too often for me to call it average. 2.3 stars.

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 Rising by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.16 | 390 ratings

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Rising
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This second album by RAINBOW is not as good for my taste than their first. Their first album had more variety in the musical moods, having some slow and some heavy songs. For this second album, the music tends more to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal while in their first there even were some Classical Music inlfuences ("Temple of the King") and more Prog Rock music influences. Maybe the changes in personnel (too much changes, in my opinion, and not really needed, I think) really affected the sound and musical style of this second album. While Cozy Powell is still considered as one of the most versatile drummers and one of the best particularly in the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal musical styles, I think that their previous drummer (Gary Driscoll) was also a very good drummer and brought more variety to the music of the band. And I also think that, despite being good musicians, Tony Carey and Jimmy Bain were not better musicians than Mickey Lee Soule and Craig Gruber. Anyway, with Ritchie Blackmore being a very good musician but also "a very difficult person to work with," like some of the musicians who have worked with him have said in interviews, it really was not a surprise that he never was totally satisfied with the line-ups of his band, so many musicians came and went. This "Rising" album is good, but I still prefer their first album more than this album.

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 Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.66 | 205 ratings

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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars After the conflicting personalities in Deep Purple could no longer function together Ritchie Blackmore had enough and jumped ship to form his own band RAINBOW which on this first album has his name attached as RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW. While still in Deep Purple he toured with the band Elf which had Ronnie James Dio as the lead singer,. Basically Blackmore hit it off with Dio and stole a bunch of members of Elf to create this album. This is one of those albums that I want to like but feel a little let down by. The sound is good and all but the music is a little hit and miss. The album cover is way cool with every guitarist's dream castle in the clouds and it hints at a slightly epic kind of power metal that would eventually be invented by much later groups like Rhapsody or Angra.

On this release we get a bunch of great songs and some mediocre ones that just don't seem to fit in. A loose collection offering no unifying theme or feel. Excellent songs include the opener "Man On The Silver Mountain" and "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" and the instrumental closer "Still I'm Sad." Most are just in the OK department for me offering too little of the neoclassical guitar playing that Ritchie Blackmore so deftly exhibited in Deep Purple. Instead he tends to trade it off for a more Hendrix-ish bluesy hard rock sound. This is fine but he takes the influences way too far as on "Catch The Rainbow" and not exactly in an original and interesting way. "If You Don't Like Rock n' Roll" totally ruins the flow of the album. It sounds more like it should be on a Doobie Brothers album or some other blues rock band. An OK album but hardly the best of his RAINBOW years.

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 Down To Earth by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.62 | 123 ratings

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Down To Earth
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

1 stars In the late 60s while all of my guitar-playing buddies were touting (as they should've) the awesome fret board theatrics of Hendrix, Clapton, Page and Beck I was the strange one who would chime in with 'Hey, don't overlook the weird-looking, snobby guy in Deep Purple. He's a monster.' Ritchie Blackmore didn't get the stateside press coverage that the other axe gods received but those among us who could discern the pretenders from the virtuosos acknowledged that he was amazing. His work on Deep Purple's early and extremely prog-minded LPs is still remarkably unique to this day. In 1970 when that band decided to put all their eggs in the hard rock basket with their earth-shaking 'In Rock,' Ritchie unleashed his full metal jacket side and proceeded to blaze a trail for hundreds of thousands of Strat-toting, Marshall-toasting rockers to tread into the rest of the decade. Deep Purple went on to become one of the most popular groups in the world as Blackmore consistently churned out many of that era's most readily identifiable riff-based anthems. I followed them religiously through the fiery album that symbolizes their apex, 74's 'Burn,' but after that my tastes changed due principally to the emergence of the exciting jazz/rock fusion movement and I lost track of what the rowdy boys in DP were doing. So when I heard that Ritchie had left them and formed his own combo in '75 I paid little notice.

A while back I came across this Rainbow record and decided it was high time I got around to checking out what Mr. Blackmore conjured up on his own. Now I'm sure there are plenty of this ensemble's aficionados who'll chastise me severely for picking out this particular disc to sample but my feeling has always been that if one releases an album of songs they should be willing to stand behind it as representative of their best effort at that particular stage of their existence. 'Down to Earth' came out in July of '79, a good four years into the band's career so in my opinion they have no legitimate excuse if the material it contains is subpar. I'm aware that the undersized powerhouse known as Ronnie James Dio had abruptly flown the Rainbow coop and had been replaced by some B-list dude named Graham Bonnet but usually the first record to hit the bins after a substantial roster alteration packs a lot of kinetic energy that makes up for whatever the group may have lost in overall cohesiveness. Not so with this flat platter. It's DOA. The feeling I get is that Ritchie was so full of himself by that point he thought he could hoodwink the buying public into thinking he was still a genius by simply throwing together some chord patterns over Cozy Powell's dull drum tracks and then layer some screaming vocals on top. To me it appears that Blackmore had lost all touch with reality, unfairly blamed Dio for the band's decline and was desperately trying to regain the adulation he'd garnered as a founding member of Deep Purple by tapping into the mainstream's good graces. He figured all he needed was a Top 40 hit single or two. History has shown time and again that those who pursue fame and fortune over expressing their aural art honestly and with integrity usually end up looking inept and pitiful. That's what I consider 'Down to Earth' to be.

They open with 'All Night Long.' Ritchie blasts out one of his trademark catchy guitar riffs and things ain't so bad until Bonnet starts singing and the downward slide begins in earnest. The tune comes off as being intentionally contrived to achieve maximum commercial appeal and therefore it contains no balls whatsoever. It reeks of abject phoniness. 'Eyes of the World' is next and its initial onset sports a cheesy, 'mysterious' atmosphere that's about as intriguing as an elementary school Halloween carnival's haunted house. Having said that, however, it beats the corduroys off of the preceding cut. Yet, other than Blackmore's half-decent guitar solo, this is an absolute waste of analog recording tape. It runs about two minutes too long, as well. 'No Time to Lose' is the first track containing even a vague semblance of a groove but it's not nearly strong enough to save this odorous turd from its own banality. It's hard to imagine that Ritchie and his bassist/producer Roger Glover listened to the playback of this dreck in the studio control room and exclaimed 'Holy cow! We're gonna be rich! This is the kind of happenin' stuff the kids'll go ape for!' It's like they were wearing earplugs while doing nothing more than going through the same old unadventurous motions. 'Makin' Love' (Yikes! Even the song titles are lame as snakes!) follows. I've never been much of a Cozy Powell fan and his lack of imagination and drive is exemplified here as he fails to be able to lay down even the most basic of beats with authority. This anemic tune gives me the impression they were imitating Styx or Foreigner instead of just being themselves and letting the fur fly. Pedestrian is too regal a word for it.

If climbing into the upper regions of the charts was their central aim then their cover of Russ Ballard's 'Since You Been Gone' was undoubtedly their crown jewel. I recall hearing this pop rock ditty on the radio back then but never in my craziest dreams would I have associated it with RB's Rainbow because it most assuredly could've been the product of any number of marginally- talented 'rawk' outfits hoping to be promoted into hometown heroes with a hit single in that day. I guess congratulations are in order for reaching their goal. Whoopee. 'Love's No Friend' is next, a bluesy but lumbering road-grader of a number that doesn't exactly break new ground in the annals of rock & roll. By the end of the 70s this brand of plodding faux metal had become extremely tiresome and unwanted but utile as cheap filler. Color this crap recessive rock. 'Danger Zone' follows and it has all the markings of a tune born out of a drunken jam session. The fact that the vocals were added after the initial tracks were formulated and recorded tells you volumes about why so many of these songs sound like they came rolling off an assembly line. (I'm reminded of that corny scene in the so-bad-it's-great movie 'Rock Star' wherein the egotistic, grease-bag leader of 'Steel Dragon' informs Mark Wahlberg's character that he's just the front man with a mike while he's the mastermind who writes all the songs and collects the fat royalty checks, thank you very much. That's probably akin to the snarky reception that Graham got when he arrived in Rainbowland.) They end this fiasco with 'Lost in Hollywood.' This cut displays what happens when someone gets in a rut and starts repeating himself to the extent that he becomes a self- parody. It's embarrassingly average fare and a stupendously predictable piece of useless garbage.

If this is the low-rent kind of music that Rainbow specialized in then I'll spare myself more misery and forego sitting through any more of their non-progressive junk. 'Down to Earth' tells me all I need to know. The shame is that Ritchie Blackmore once had the potential to evolve and develop into one of the finest guitarists of all time had his bloated pride not convinced him that all he had to do was show up. As it is, he's now looked upon as a minor leaguer guitar ace that displayed flashes of brilliance but was also prone to indulge in mediocrity. I've heard worse but rarely.

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 Live In Munich 1977 by RAINBOW album cover Live, 2006
3.71 | 27 ratings

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Live In Munich 1977
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I am not really a sucker for live albums. There are a few I really like but for the most part I say go for the studio albums instead and leave the live ones 'til you've absorbed those first. Too often I find live renditions to be less interesting, too long and sometimes pointless. But then tere are those few live albums that really kicks you in the head with the ferociuos live energy of a steam train. This one is such an example.

I have always found, being a fan of Rainbow since my pre-teens, that On stage was a bit too polished. Though nice enough and all that, it lacked somewhat in energy. Then came Live in Germany 1976 and while "Do you close your eyes" ends in a cacophony and utter destruction (in the most glorious way) it showed little more than On stage, as regards the infamous energy of Rainbow. So, when I got my hands on Live in Munich 1977 I was very pleased. Thrilled, even. Here was an amazing recording of one of my favorite bands in a fullfledged live setting. It did not disappoint.

The set list is more or less identical with all official Rainbow live releases of the Ronnie Dio-era. That is slightly disapponting, since I wanted to hear some of the other great works of the band. Apart from that, a point made regarding the mass of live albums rather than Live in Munich as such, this is fabolous.

Kicking off with "Kill the king". This is spectacular hard rock in all it's glory. Biting, raucous and kicking like a mule on steroids it punches it's way through the speakers. What a way to start! "Mistreated" seems to be a favorite of Blackmore's and is give the usual live treatment. I like it a lot. It fits in well after the speed of "Kill the king".

For me "Catch the rainbow" has always been one of the most atmospheric and epic of live songs. Stretching over 17 minutes you might think that ones attenition and patience is tried to the limit but I find not. It is actually held together well and provides several solos from the band. It is a beautiful song. An epic ballad of the old school which really is a jewel in the crown, of sorts. It also provides the listener with a well needed break from all the noise and commotion.

Live in Munich is a very noisy, hard rocking, ferocious album. The sound is very messy but that's is, as far as I am concerned, a good thing. It actually helps giving me as a listener a chance to come as close as I ever will to a real Rainbow experience. No one will ever be given the treat of seeing this line-up perform live again, since RJD sadly passed away. Not that it was going to happen anyway but now every inch of hope is gone.

This live album ranks among my Top 5 and is a wonderful way of experiencing not only hard rock in all it's live glory but Rainbow in particular. They were a force to be reckoned with and I think neither Blackmore nor Dio made this kind of noise in any band or setting, not before and not after. Top stuff it is but as with any live album I find it hard giving it five stars. Not because it lacks songs I'd wished to be on there but simply because it cannot surpass the quality of the live albums. And besides, a live album can't be essential in my book. Really, it can't, but I do think it can be an excellent addition to any collection or collector of progressive hard rock.

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 Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.66 | 205 ratings

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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Although they would quickly run out of steam thanks to founding member Ritchie Blackmore's dictatorial style and the subsequent numerous line-up changes that followed, the first two albums from proto-metal exponents Rainbow still count as some of the 1970s most iconic and inlfuential hard rock products. Mixing steel-edged guitar riffs, fantasy-themed lyrics and surprisingly subtle progressive textures, both this 1975 debut and it's richly-drawn follow-up 'Rising' prove just as essential as anything by the likes of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Trapeze or Black Sabbath. Having split from Deep Purple in rather acromonious fashion, Blackmore would quickly set to work on forming his own outfit, absorbing most of the American hard rock group Elf into what would become the very First Rainbow line-up. Elf's membership included the now legendary Ronnie James Dio on vocals, and the singers collaborations with Blackmore would prove the lifeblood of the group, the duo concocting a slick and powerful rock sound that took the Deep Purple heavy blues style one step further, adding an expansive prog-rock veneer that allowed Blackmore in particular to stretch out and experiment in a fashion previously denied him by his old employers. The resulting album would prove a substantial hit record, selling well throughout both North American and Europe, the group taking up the mantle vacated by the now temporarily defunct Deep Purple. Highlights include the fearsome-yet-catchy opener 'Man On The Silver Mountain', the bluesy Quatermass cover 'Black Sheep Of The Family'(the only track here not penned by either Blackmore or Dio) and the mellow, Floyd- tinged and rather beautiful 'Catch The Rainbow'. 1976's 'Rising', in which only Blackmore and Dio would return backed by drummer Cozy Powell, would both continue and expand upon the formula drawn up here on 'Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow', and both albums showcase one of the heavy rock genre's more creative acts at their impressive albeit rather brief career apex. An important album then, both in the development of heavy metal and in the grand sphere of 1970s rock, this 1975 effort truly deserves its classic status. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Finyl Vinyl by RAINBOW album cover Live, 1986
2.49 | 46 ratings

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Finyl Vinyl
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by moodyxadi

2 stars This was my first Rainbow album. An odd choice but with my very limited resources at the time (1994, early 95) I thought it was a good opportunity to know the "other" band of my dear Mr. Blackmore.

For a newbie the disaster was more related to the multitude of changes in the sound than the just ok sound quality of the album. What was the real Rainbow, the Miss Mistreated one, the Spotlight Kid or the heavier Man on the Silver Mountain? Of course in my next Rainbow acquisition I discovered the right answer but by then it was real confusing the almost contradictory mix of music produced by this single (?) band.

No comments on the track list since it was clearly based on the Turner era. If Rainbow was that of course the two opening tracks are the best of the pack. Both are far better than their original versions. I even like the use of backing singers since they help poor little Joe Lynn to keep on course. The other Turner tracks rate from mediocre versions (Can't happen here) to weak ones (Stone Cold). Since that was the vynil edition I had no Bent out of shape tracks on this record to coment (and had no idea that things could become worst).

I really liked the Jealous Lover song, don't know why so side 2 of the vynil was played a lot. But after that only the Since you been gone live version - even with their awful sound - was worth mentioning.

Then came the real "treat": the live Difficult to cure. My late and beloved father liked it so much that almost every day we had to listen to it what make the whole family avoid it like the plague. From this point of time I just can say how kitsch the orchestra playing was, adding little if any value to an interpretation of dubious valour per se. Roll over on your grave, Beethoven.

Finally side four show what this band was all about: the Dio tracks are clean air in a mud atmosphere. From now on I knew what Rainbow I needed to know and even if I have by now all their studio albums and a good pack of live recordings this is most to my completionist syndrome than to any real admiration of their late output. I do believe that the best tracks of the three Turner albums could make a very good hard rock album worth of the Blackmore name (even if inferior to any of Dio's individually) and Down to Earth really could grow with a better singer. All in all I must put the blame on Roger Glover since it was after his arrival that things became disintregated, saving Blackmore's reputation. It's a false assumption, I know, but who cares?

Two stars for the Dio tracks and the firts two songs in side 1.

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 Down To Earth by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.62 | 123 ratings

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Down To Earth
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by moodyxadi

2 stars I HATE YOU SO MUCH Mr. BONNET!

This album was far from good when compared to the ones that came before but I managed to like it a little through the years. Of course the main fault must be put on the back of the right man, that is Sir Blackmore. So why all this hatred to this secondary-player Graham Bonnet.

I was listening last night to a very good quality boot from this era, a show somewhere in Scandinavia. Almost the full DtE album is played (only Making Love and Danger Zone are missing from the set list) and the classic Dio era tunes are there too. The band was really on fire, even Don Airey did a great job. Everything was good and tender til Mr. Bonnet opened his mouth... JC, he can ruin even his own songs! With the exception of Since you been gone he mistreated my ears all the time he screamed and "sung".

The majority of the DtE tracks played that night showed that the album could grow alive (minus Love's no friend - a Mistreated rip-off). The problem was really the singer. As someone above said even the irritating JLTurner would fill better the post of singer. If he was at DtE at the time the poppier stuff he sang lately could be different. Or not.

The hard-rock classics All night long and Since you been gone are good compositions even if they don't match with the image we had for this band. Eyes of the world is the best composition but I must add that Lost in Hollywood grow a lot played live - with the solo from A light in the black inserted in the middle of the song. The rest is mediocre or just plain bad.

Shame on you, Ritchie. I hope you had earned your well-deserved multimillion dollars with this album and the rest but I know - and you know too - that you'd have to wait a lot of time until something really good could be out of your hands again. Money wins, art loses again.

two stars.

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