Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

RAINBOW

Prog Related • Multi-National


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Rainbow picture
Rainbow biography
Founded in 1975 - Disbanded in 1984 - Reunited between 1994-1997 - Reformed in 2015

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 wa...
read more

RAINBOW forum topics / tours, shows & news


RAINBOW forum topics Create a topic now
RAINBOW tours, shows & news Post an entries now

RAINBOW Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all RAINBOW videos (6) | Search and add more videos to RAINBOW

Buy RAINBOW Music



More places to buy RAINBOW music online

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)

3.74 | 333 ratings
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
1975
4.20 | 582 ratings
Rising
1976
3.56 | 291 ratings
Long Live Rock & Roll
1978
2.80 | 201 ratings
Down to Earth
1979
2.97 | 181 ratings
Difficult to Cure
1981
2.66 | 176 ratings
Straight Between the Eyes
1982
2.99 | 166 ratings
Bent Out of Shape
1983
3.50 | 148 ratings
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow: Stranger in Us All
1995

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

3.85 | 146 ratings
On Stage
1977
2.64 | 67 ratings
Finyl Vinyl
1986
3.55 | 38 ratings
Live in Germany 1976 [Aka: Live in Europe]
1990
4.50 | 22 ratings
Live DŘsseldorf Philipshalle 1976
2006
4.54 | 24 ratings
Live K÷lner Sporthalle 1976
2006
3.88 | 46 ratings
Live In Munich 1977
2006
4.23 | 21 ratings
Live in NŘrnberg 1976
2007
3.94 | 17 ratings
Black Masquerade
2013
3.25 | 4 ratings
Denver 1979 - Down To Earth Tour
2015
2.67 | 3 ratings
Long Island 1979 - Down To Earth Tour
2015
4.25 | 4 ratings
Live In Japan
2015
4.50 | 8 ratings
Monsters of Rock Live at Donington 1980
2016
4.00 | 5 ratings
Boston 1981
2016
4.00 | 5 ratings
Memories In Rock - Live In Germany
2016
3.00 | 6 ratings
Live In Birmingham 2016
2017

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

3.43 | 16 ratings
Live Between the Eyes
1982
3.37 | 8 ratings
Japan Tour '84 [Aka: Live in Japan]
1984
4.15 | 13 ratings
The Final Cut
1985
2.21 | 9 ratings
Inside Rainbow 1975-1979
2003
4.22 | 27 ratings
Live In Munich 1977 (DVD)
2006
4.36 | 11 ratings
Live Between The Eyes + Final Cut
2006
4.50 | 4 ratings
Up Close and Personal
2007
4.71 | 7 ratings
Black Masquerade
2013
2.60 | 5 ratings
Memories In Rock - Live In Germany
2016

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

3.47 | 17 ratings
The Best of Rainbow
1981
4.55 | 11 ratings
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow CD Boxset
1983
3.18 | 9 ratings
Ансамбль Rainbow
1988
3.25 | 21 ratings
The Very Best of Rainbow
1997
4.33 | 6 ratings
The Millennium Collection: The Best of Rainbow
2000
4.06 | 7 ratings
The Universal Masters Collection
2001
3.75 | 4 ratings
Pot of Gold
2002
3.04 | 4 ratings
All Night Long: An Introduction
2002
4.87 | 15 ratings
Catch the Rainbow - The Anthology
2003
4.00 | 5 ratings
Colour Collection
2006
4.60 | 5 ratings
Classic Rainbow
2009
5.00 | 3 ratings
The Singles Box Set 1975-1986
2014
4.00 | 4 ratings
A Light In The Black 1975-1984
2015

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

4.11 | 9 ratings
Still I'm Sad
1975
4.11 | 9 ratings
The Temple Of The King
1975
3.65 | 11 ratings
Man On The Silver Mountain
1975
3.80 | 10 ratings
Starstruck
1976
4.45 | 11 ratings
Live (Kill The King)
1977
4.00 | 11 ratings
Long Live Rock N Roll
1978
2.68 | 10 ratings
L. A. Connection
1978
3.78 | 9 ratings
Since You Been Gone
1979
3.89 | 9 ratings
All Night Long
1980
4.20 | 5 ratings
Can't Happen Here
1980
3.83 | 6 ratings
Jealous Lover
1981
4.00 | 8 ratings
I Surrender
1981
4.40 | 5 ratings
Power
1982
4.43 | 7 ratings
Stone Cold
1982
4.67 | 6 ratings
Can't Let You Go
1983
4.75 | 8 ratings
Street of Dreams
1983
3.71 | 7 ratings
Ariel
1995
3.75 | 4 ratings
Hunting Humans (Insatiable)
1995

RAINBOW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow: Stranger in Us All by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.50 | 148 ratings

BUY
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow: Stranger in Us All
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The 1995 release STRANGER IN US ALL was intended to be guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's first solo album after permanently retiring the RAINBOW brand name and rejoining / then again leaving the legendary Deep Purple in 1993. Apparently a demand from the BMG label which released the album, Blackmore was forced to resurrect the RAINBOW moniker and put together the umpteenth version of the band that absolutely nobody was expecting to see make a comeback especially in the alternative everything mid-1990s when the grunge scene had all but made 80s hard rockers obsolete.

Blackmore was always up to the challenge and instead of recruiting past members to form some sort of reunion album took on the bold decision to recruit completely unknown but promising musicians who could reinterpret the classic RAINBOW sounds of the past and take them somewhere new. Blackmore was wise to avoid jumping on the bandwagon that many an 80s band did by trying to adapt to the alternative 90s and instead simply looked to the past and picked up right where the last RAINBOW album "Bent Out Of Shape" left off in 1983 thus making it a 12 year gap between albums and going back further by using the moniker RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW which hadn't donned an album cover since the 1975 debut.

The new lineup included American bassist Greg Smith, drummer John O'Reilly, keyboardist Paul Morris, Blackmore's wife, backing vocalist and future partner in Blackmore's Night, Candice Night and on lead vocals Scotland born Doogie White who was somewhat of a departure from all the other vocalists who came before with a grittier heavy blues rock style of singing. Despite the congregation of unseasoned newbies on board STRANGER IN US ALL was an amazingly great album of 70s and 80s sounding heavy metal and hard rock tracks that excelled in crafting catchy guitar driven hooks and strong melodic emotive lyrics which sort of mined RAINBOW's past and included not only fantasy themes but more mainstream themes as well. The album was a true surprise in its consistency and although while not performing well in the English speaking world, did amazingly well in Europe and Japan where it was certified gold.

Little wonder the American scene completely ignored this RAINBOW release since it basically gave the middle finger to anything 90s and proudly looked back and delivered one of the strongest sets of tracks in the band's eight album canon. The majority of the tracks were written by Blackmore and Doogie White. The opening "Wolf To The Moon" is by far the most metal on board and evoked the Dio years of RAINBOW along with more power metal intensity in the guitar riffs however the album cools down a bit in the energy department and remains in simple hard rock territory for the majority of the album's near 52-minute run. "Cold Hearted Woman" sounds more like something off of a Whitesnake album from the 1980 timeline but the following "Hunting Humans (Insatiable)" provides one of the catchiest bass stomp driven grooves with the most instantly addictive hooks.

"Stand And Fight," "Ariel" and "Too Late For Tears" also focus on heavy blues rock with strong hooks, dirty raw rhythms and despite being completely traditional are extremely well designed and performed. "Black Masquerade" reminds most of the Joe Lynn Turner years both compositionally and vocally. "Silence" is probably the track that sounds the most different from any other RAINBOW tracks despite a bluesy based riffing but still recognizable as a RAINBOW tune. The closing two tracks are the most different. "Hall Of The Mountain King" is a reinterpretation of an Edward Grieg piece from his most famous piece from "Peer Gynt" only arranged into a rockin' the classic hard rock extravaganza with Doogie White adding power metal vocals. The closing "Still I'm Sad" is a Yardbirds cover and if you have the Japanese version, the bonus track "Emotional Crime" is included but nothing extraordinary different to get excited about as it's just another blues rock song.

Very rarely do such comeback albums yield anything worthy of investigating but Blackmore hit a home run with this little gem. While nothing that would make anybody love the band if they weren't already on board, STRANGER IN US ALL is nevertheless an extraordinarily strong album that takes RAINBOW to its next level and obvious conclusion that didn't quite happen before Blackmore suddenly shut things down and jumped back on the Deep Purple bandwagon the decade prior. For anyone who stayed with RAINBOW after Dio jumped ship, this is definitely one that should not be missed as it is chock filled with instantly addictive hard rock hooks and excellent instrumental interplay that sounds like a band of well seasoned professionals but are in fact all brand new to the RAINBOW scene. This was Blackmore's last album as a rock performer for 20 years before forming Blackmore's Night with his wife Candice Night and then eventually reviving the RAINBOW brand once again in 2015. Will there be another album from this band? Who knows but if this is the last one ever made, it's certainly not a bad way to go out.

 Straight Between the Eyes by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.66 | 176 ratings

BUY
Straight Between the Eyes
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Two albums in after the departure of original lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio, the legendary RAINBOW led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore had found a winner with newbie Joe Lynn Turner who helped reinvent the classic heavy metal RAINBOW into a more commercial hard rock version of the band which allowed the band to capture that Foreigner vibe which led to a slicker crossover appeal and mainstream success. While the first album with Turner, "Difficult To Cure" scored a top 5 hit with the Russ Ballard cover "I Surrender," the album was a bit clunky as the tracks were a bit inconsistent in both quality and stylistic approach. All of that was corrected with the sixth overall studio album STRAIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES which came out the following year in 1982.

The album perfectly captured the hard rock and AOR early 80s sound and fit in perfectly with contemporary acts like Whitesnake, Journey, Toto, Styx and the aforementioned Foreigner but offered more interesting musical performances with top notch musicians including Blackmore unleashing more impressive guitar solos than on the previous two albums. STRAIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES was the closest thing to the same lineup from a previous album with only keyboardist Don Airy being replaced by newbie David Rosenthal. While the album didn't perform as successfully in terms of pop hits and commercial success, STRAIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES showcased nine excellent tracks that mixed the heavier aspects of rock with the AOR leaning elements of ballads. While the lyrics were still far from the Dio led world swords and sorcery, the album hit its stride as a hard rock band that offered instantly catchy hooks with emotive high range vocal performances.

The first two opening tracks were both released as singles with videos. The first "Death Alley Driver" showcased the new reinvented RAINBOW in full fury with that hard rock machismo, quickened tempos all in full decibelage and the closest thing to metal music on the album. The following "Stone Cold" has been a staple on classic rock radio ever since it hit the airwaves and is perhaps one of the best tracks of the post-Dio era. The track was perfect in how it allowed Joe Lyn Turner to display his impressive vocal range and teased the strong melodies to commingle with sophisticated dynamics, instrumental interplay and the use of that by then idiosyncratic atmospheric style that RAINBOW had made all their own. While the rest of the tracks may not be as instantly accessible or addictive as the first combo effect, after a few spins also resonate quite high as the band perfectly nailed a sound that sounded something like Foreigner's "4" album along with classic Deep Purple keyboard led hard rock.

The track "MISS Mistreated" was a dig at David Coverdale's song "Mistreated" that appeared all the way back on Deep Purple's "Burn" album. Every track on this one is fairly strong and some feature extra heft as on "Rock Fever" which offered oscillating keyboard songs and that classic boogie guitar heft. The closing track "Eyes Of Fire" is also a standout as it featured some of the most sophisticated arrangements that including a heavy driving bass groove and the return of some of those symphonically fueled Middle Eastern music scales that made some of the Dio era tracks so classic sounding. Overall this wasn't an album that won me over in the beginning as i only wanted to hear the first two songs but after giving it a fair shake i actually grew to love the entire album. Yeah, if you are totally turned off by Turner's vocal style then this clearly isn't for you but if you fancy 80s hard rock with AOR crossover appeal then you can't do better than what RAINBOW was cranking out back in those days. This one has become a regular staple for yours truly.

 Difficult to Cure by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.97 | 181 ratings

BUY
Difficult to Cure
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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.

 Down to Earth by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.80 | 201 ratings

BUY
Down to Earth
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars It's amazing to think how quickly things moved in the 1970s in comparison to the first two decades of the 21st century. It's nothing for bands to wait five years between albums these days but back then things were set to jet speed. Ritchie Blackmore started the 1970s with Deep Purple rising to the top and then going through several changes in the band before going solo with RAINBOW in 1975 but even with his own band never managed to keep the same lineup for any album. Luckily his prize vocalist Ronnie James Dio stuck around for the first three albums but then one day Blackmore decided to drop the swords and sorcery themes and steer the band into a more commercial arena and Dio jumped ship.

While a true blow to the band's overall sound, Blackmore was accustomed to auditioning new members and it seems in retrospect that half of RAINBOW's time was spent recruiting new members rather than actually playing! Before Dio split, both bassist Bob Daisley and keyboardist David Stone were fired and replaced by Clive Chaman and Don Airey but soon after Chaman didn't workout and former Deep Purple bandmate, bassist and producer of the previous albums finally stepped up to fill in as an actual musician. The task of replacing Dio was met sensibly by finding somebody would fit in with the band's new slicker hard rock style that was more akin to bands like Styx, Foreigner and Whitesnake. Graham Bonnet formerly of The Marbles was chosen to fit the bill and while he did a remarkable job on the band's fourth album DOWN TO EARTH, he wouldn't last long. This was also the last album to feature drummer Cozy Powell.

DOWN TO EARTH is very much a product of the late 1970s timeline when fantasy infused prog had all but surrendered to more immediate hard rock with more DOWN TO EARTH themes and less subterfuge in interpretation. While heavy metal would soon regain all those dark fantasy and occult themes, this speed bump in history favored songs about love, life and other banalities that resulted in partying and having a great time with your friends. For the hardcore Dio fans, this move was a slap in the face and RAINBOW lost much of its devoted fanbase but where one door closes another opens and DOWN TO EARTH did indeed to prove to be the ticket to more radio airplay and charting singles which led to the expected uptick in sales. The group's popularity was also boosted by RAINBOW headlining the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in England.

Stylisitcally, DOWN TO EARTH fit right in with the nascent New Wave of British Heavy Metal with catchy bass grooves, infectious guitar riffs and melodic sing-along lyrics. The opening track and single "All Night Long" sounded somewhat like KISS meets Bad Company with a more pounding bass and drum drive but addictively composed with lots of catchy twists and turns. Bonnet's vocal style proved to be the perfect answer to this new pop infused heavy rock. The other single was a cover of Russ Ballard's "Since You've Been Gone" and proved to be one of RAINBOW's biggest hits hitting the top 10 in England. Same with "All Night Long." While no other singles were released, DOWN TO EARTH doesn't really have any bad tracks. The diverse tracks includes a reprise of the dramatic keyboard symphonic opening on "Eyes Of The World" which also is quality single material as well as the familiar boogie shuffle on "No Time To Lose" although without Dio sounding a bit more like AC/DC or Foreigner.

"Makin' Love" also featured exotic music scales in the vein of earlier songs like "Gates Of Babylon" only eschewing the arcane subject matter. The final three tracks are also of equal caliber thus making DOWN TO EARTH a really good specimen of heavy bluesy rock with classical crossover elements. Yeah Dio was gone but so what. Those first three albums were already about 85% the same as what is presented here only without dungeons and dragons themes and more focused on blue collar worker subject matter. Whatever the case i'm in it for the music not the poetry recitals and DOWN TO EARTH delivers the goods in the vein of many of the contemporary hard rock bands from Aerosmith and Thin Lizzy to Uriah Heep and the Scorpions only with the extra touches of keyboards. While RAINBOW may not have been reinventing the wheel in any way, Blackmore sure knew how to craft a competent collection of hard rockers that ticked off all of the boxes that made hard rock so popular during this era and while many may disagree, i really like Graham Bonnet's vocal contributions. This is one of those i find under-appreciated by the majority.

 Long Live Rock & Roll by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.56 | 291 ratings

BUY
Long Live Rock & Roll
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars In many ways, i'm the electron that orbits the atom in the opposite way of all the others! Many classic albums i really don't see the hubbub about and likewise other styles of music that make others bonkers rock my world! Well such is the case with RAINBOW's final album with Ronnie James Dio. While many herald the band's second album "Rising" as the cream of the crop of Ritchie Blackmore's rotating cast of musical characters, i actually find the pinnacle of the band's musical prowess to be in the form of the band's third album LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL which emerged two years later after the stunningly well received live album "On Stage" sandwiched in between.

Of the eight studio albums that Blackmore released under the RAINBOW moniker, not a single one had the same lineup and LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL was certainly no exception. This one was a bit unique in that it found bassist Bob Daisley and keyboardist Tony Carey beginning the album and then leaving the band half way through thus only contributing a few tracks each. Unable to find satisfactory bassist, Blackmore himself recorded the bass parts although Mark Clarke of Colosseum, Uriah Heep and Tempest was chosen but Blackmore hated his playing style and fired him on the spot.

Continuing the style of the previous albums of early heavy metal with bluesy guitar riffing infused with classical elements, RAINBOW pretty much followed in the footsteps of "Rising" although the subject matter was less uniform and only certain tracks were based in the realms of fantasy. The rest were much more straight forward heavy rockers with lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio's rock god status stealing the show once again. Why this third installment of the RAINBOW universe appeals to me more than the others is that every track is at the top of its game as the band was a perfectly oiled machine at this point and although new members came and went, Blackmore cracked the whip and made his boys perform exactly as he wanted.

The album opens with three perfectly fueled anthem rockers including the title track, "Lady Of The Lake" and "L.A. Connection" which all hit the high notes of catchy melodic connections, intense rhythmic drive and impeccable musicians playing perfectly in tandem but the album really takes off on the fourth track "Gates Of Babylon" which is one of my all time favorite songs from any musical genre. The track would've fit in perfectly on "Rising" with its exotic musical scales, epic nature, symphonic touches and sizzlingly hot guitar solos not to mention a hard charging bass and drum backing. Same goes for the track "Kill The King" which challenges the tyranny of the world and rouses the masses to pull out the pitchforks! The track first appeared on the live album "On Stage" but came to satisfying fruition on LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL.

"The Shed (Subtle)" and "Sensitive To Light" continue the bluesy hard rock heft in perfect fashion and the album finishes off with the band's first slow cooker, the "ballad" so to speak. "Rainbow Eyes" reminisces of a Jimi Hendrix song at first but slowly builds into a monster ballad that finds Blackmore keeping it cool playing clean arpeggios while Dio provides his most subdued performance in all the RAINBOW years. The track is highly symphonic with lots of contrapuntal keys and four guest musicians that provide violins, viola, cello and flute making it sound a bit like a Renaissance song brought to the modern world. In some ways it's RAINBOW's closest thing to a "Stairway To Heaven" but never drifts into heavy rock.

While still considered a classic early heavy metal album, most fans will point to LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL as a step down in quality but for my tastes, i actually find it a step up since "Rising" didn't sustain what it excelled at for its entirety. While the first three albums are considered classic by today's standards, the band didn't really experience commercial success on the level they had hoped therefore Blackmore decided to steer the band in a more accessible direction and ditch the fantasy themes altogether which ultimately convinced Dio that it was time to move on and as we all know he would soon join Black Sabbath and replace Ozzy Osbourne and give that band a resuscitating surge in popularity. Sure, "Rising" wins for better cover art and overall visual presentation but when it comes to the compositions themselves, i much prefer this one to the other Dio led albums. Yeah i'm spinning on a different trajectory than most of you other electrons out there but hey, i still produce electricity!

 Rising by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.20 | 582 ratings

BUY
Rising
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Considered one of the pinnacles of 1970s hard rock and one of the primary impetuses of the world of power metal that would take off in the 1980s, Ritchie Blackmore unleashed RISING his second release with RAINBOW (after truncating the longer moniker Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow) in the spring of 1976 which played a pivotal role in ushering the hard rock 1970s into the heavy metal 80s. While building on the bluesy rock riffs infused with classical elements from the debut and previous Deep Purple experiments, Blackmore decided to start from scratch and fired his entire band with the exception of lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio. The new lineup recruited drummer Cozy Powell best known for playing with Jeff Beck, newbie Jimmy Bain on bass another newbie in the form of American keyboardist Tony Carey.

The album is often simply called RAINBOW RISING, a phrase used in the fantasy fueled subject matter of the album's 8 1/2 showpiece "Stargazer" which tackles the theme of a wizard turned to the dark side by enslaving humanity to achieve his self-serving ways. The track featured epic crossover progressive rock attributes such as symphonic influences, extended solos of the guitar, keyboards and drums and a series of interesting musical scales. The original vinyl release featured only four songs on side A and two songs that extended past the eight minute mark on the B side. The album was fairly short at only 33 1/2 minutes but packed with all those well established hard rock sounds of the 70s laced with the extra elements that made RAINBOW RISING one of those foundational albums that took the world of heavy metal to the next level.

The album begins with the sounds of distant keyboard sounds that offer a nice electronic contemplation before breaking into the guitar, bass and drum fueled hard rocker "Tarot Woman" which immediately launches the album into the mystical world of the occult and fantasy which would essentially become the subject matter for the world of much of the metal music that would dominate the 1980s and beyond carried on by Ronnie James Dio himself when he launched his own band Dio. In fact many of the tracks on RAINBOW RISING gave hints as to what Ronnie James would sound like on albums like "Holy Diver" and "The Last In Line." It's uncanny how RAINBOW RISING revisited the past glory of Blackmore's Deep Purple years while prognosticating the future simultaneously and while transitional albums can often sound stilted, RAINBOW RISING pretty much stands on its own as a masterwork of the era.

The highlights of the album are without a doubt the sole two songs that make up the second half of the album. "Stargazer" is perhaps the most famous song of RAINBOW's decade long existence and rightfully so as it perfectly embodies the stylistic approach Blackmore was striving for, that being an artful blend of razor-sharp heavy rock instrumentation infused with classical elements, ethnic folk flavors and symphonic prog sophistication without sacrificing the immediacy of a harder leaning rock band. The closing "A Light In The Black" begins with that hard boogie stomp that Blackmore made ample use of throughout his career. Stylistically this track isn't really different the average Blackmore penned composition but rather simply extended and infused with excellent guitar, keyboard and drum heft and perhaps one of the most energetic outbursts of heavy metal up to this point.

Considered one of the true masterpieces of the ages by many, personally this album took me a while to warm up to. Most likely due to the fact that it is similar and less dynamic than Dio's own stylistic interpretations from his solo releases. Let's fact it, Vivian Campbell added a fiery virtuosic energy that Blackmore was never able to achieve but alas i must consider this album for the time it was rendered and simply accept it on its own terms. In that regard, RAINBOW RISING is indeed an excellent album that is chock full of instantly addictive early heavy metal guitar riffs, organ swells and drum rolls made all the more viable by Ronnie James Dio's spot on metal vocal style. Despite it all this just doesn't resonate to me on the same level that many make it out to be. While "Tarot Woman" and the two longer tracks are certainly 5-star masterworks, the triumvirate lesser songs of "Run With The Wolf", "Starstruck" and "Don't Close Your Eyes" are fairly standard of the day. Personally i find the band's following album "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" to be superior and their crowning achievement however this is obviously an essential album for anyone into rock or metal.

 Long Live Rock N Roll by RAINBOW album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1978
4.00 | 11 ratings

BUY
Long Live Rock N Roll
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars If you are expecting the ultimate "born to rock" attitude in the electric guitar riffs for which Ritchie is so well known, well, then you are coming straight to the right place. You will find also those cute "mini orchestrations" for guitar, acting as instrumental break after the chorus. As for the killer tipically hard-rock vocals by Ronnie James Dio, I have to say don't worry, they are here too. Such a formidable aggregation of rocking energy wouldn't be really complete without the right attitude planted behind the drums, and that is neither a problem, since there we have the fantastic Cozy Powell.
 Live Between the Eyes  by RAINBOW album cover DVD/Video, 1982
3.43 | 16 ratings

BUY
Live Between the Eyes
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Ritchie Blackmores Rainbow first "oficial" video, recorded in 1982 during their Right Between The Eyes tour is a very good example of their sound at the time: gone are the long improvisations and the 17 minute solos. What we have here is the AOR/hard rock version of the band, the notorious "Joe Lynn Turner years". Yes, there is some guitar extravaganza and improvisation during the Blues segment and I can┤t say I am sorry for that. Sign of the times, I guess. Blackmore seems to be one of the most conscious man about the moving tastes of the public. And the "new" version of the band fits right in.

Which, by the way, does not mean "selling out" or bad music being produced, much on the contrary: you still have Blackmores unique guitar playing. The "man in black" is in top form here, both as a musician and showman, the band is hot and the songs are very good. It┤s interesting to see how the band is delivering the goods, has more of an edge and power live, without Roger Glovers slick studio production. JLT proves what most people tries to ignore: that he is a great singer and can handle different styles with ease. The rhythm section of Glover and drummer Bobby Rondinelli are tight (the latter drum solo is a bit cliched, but still a good showcase of this underrated musician). The 21 year old keyboards man David Rosenthal (who had recently replaced Don Airey) is surprisingly at ease with his instruments, delivering his parts like a seasoned pro.

Ok, there are few surprises. The tracklist is basic the recent material with only three "old" songs The "Dio years" anthem Long Live Rock┤n Roll, the Graham Bonnett era All Night Long and the classic Deep Purple Smoke On The Water. And still is amazing to see how unique, creative and wonderful guitarist Blackmore is when he puts his hands on the instrument. And how good he is at choosing the right backing band. Interesting enough, there are two girls backing singers that you can hear during the whole show, but are nowhere to be seen.

Rating: something between 3,5 and 4 stars. With a better tracklist I would give it a 4 star rating, but it still worth checking this video. If you doubt why Ritchie Blackmore is hailed as one of the best guitarists ever, just watch him playing.

 Bent Out of Shape by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.99 | 166 ratings

BUY
Bent Out of Shape
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A personal favourite of mine. This is the best Joe Lynn Turner era album from Rainbow. Ok, it does not compare to any Ronnie James Dio era stuff, but so what? It was a totally different band by then. I remember I bought this album solely on the basis of their most recent single Street Of Dreams, a superb power ballad like their previous Stone Cold, only better. Streets is still a song that moves even today, after all those years and I guess it is one of my top 10 songs by Rainbow of any time. But, with the LP, I was also rewarded with a collection of great songs. I knew I could always count on Ritchie Blackmore┬┤s unique guitar lines and solos and the band┬┤s superb musicianship, but clearly they produced a superior material than the first two JLT albums.

The AOR stuff here is presented by tracks like the opener Stranded, Can┬┤t Let Go and Desperate Heart. But I did not expected they would deliver fine hard rock stuff in the vein of Ian Gillan era Deep purple, like Drinking With The Devil, Make Your Move and Fire Dance. Turner shows how good he can be, even some Gillan-like screams here and there. The instrumental Anybody There is another highlight, its only drawback is its short length, certainly it could be worked for a longer piece. Snowman (a vocal-less version of the famous Walking In The Air) is also of interest. The band was really gelling, even if, as their wont, there was a new member: drummer Bobby Rondinelli quit and was replaced by Chuck Burgi. But since both had the same style you won┬┤t notice the difference. He fitted in nicely and fast.

It is only a pity that, in what it seems at the verge of finally breaking the band in America, Blackmore decided to break it up and reform Deep Purple. One can only speculate how far this lime up could go if he had turned down his former band┬┤s reunion. But Bent Out Of Shape, if it is not the best Rainbow album ever, finished its first lifetime with grace (a second coming, albeit a short lived one, would arise in 1994-95, but with a completely different line up).

Conclusion: the best Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow album. If you enjoy hard/Melodic/AOR rock laced with tasteful arrangements and fine songs (besides Blackmore┬┤s great talent), you can not go wrong with this one.

Rating: 4 strong stars.

 Straight Between the Eyes by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.66 | 176 ratings

BUY
Straight Between the Eyes
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The second Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow album saw them getting deeper into the AOR/melodic hard rock waters. Which, by the way, is not a bad thing: the high quality of Blackmore┤s compositions, arrangements and performances is all over the place. Although that period of the band can┤t be compared to their stunning beginning during the mid-seventies, they were also a completely new group by 1982. And if the new material is not their best, it is still very good. Blackmore and co seems to give even the most cliched tune such a stunning performance that they became something fresh and exciting. Better still, unlike the two previous albums, Straight Between The Eyes does not rely on outside writers for their singles. This time the Blackmore/Turner songwriting partnership proved capable of delivering a great power ballad in the form of the classic Stone Cold. It deserved to be a bigger hit than it was.

As usual for all Rainbow albums, the remaining tracks are all very good, with a few gems among them like the fantastic 6 minute epic Eyes Of Fire. In fact, the only real let-down of the whole CD is Rock Fever, a track so mediocre that even a blistering, tasteful Blackmore solo can save it. Fortunately, songs like Death Alley Driver, Bring on the Night (Dream Chaser) and Tearin' Out My Heart mote than compensate it. Production (by bassist Roger Glover) is excellent. Keyboardist Don Airey, tired of their relentless touring, decided to leave the band, but Blackmore was able to find a fitting replacement in the form of 21 year old David Rosenthal, who does a great job here.

Conclusion: a very fine AOR/Melodic Hard Rock album. It stood well the test of time and, in fact, I appreciate it more now than when it was released. Just don┤t expect anything new or groundbreaking. Or prog, for the matter. It is only good rock music.

Rating: 3,5 stars.

Thanks to Ghost Rider for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.