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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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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]
Remastered
Polydor / Umgd 1999
Audio CD$1.48
$0.99 (used)
RisingRising
Remastered
Polydor / Umgd 1999
Audio CD$1.86
$3.39 (used)
Long Live Rock & RollLong Live Rock & Roll
Remastered
Polydor / Umgd 1999
Audio CD$1.81
$3.50 (used)
Very Best of RainbowVery Best of Rainbow
Remastered
Polydor / Umgd 1997
Audio CD$4.54
$2.60 (used)
Straight Between the EyesStraight Between the Eyes
Remastered
Polydor / Umgd 1999
Audio CD$1.67
$4.27 (used)
Catch the Rainbow: The AnthologyCatch the Rainbow: The Anthology
Remastered
Polydor / Pgd 2003
Audio CD$9.18
$6.03 (used)
Down to EarthDown to Earth
Remastered
Polydor / Umgd 1999
Audio CD$1.76
$2.89 (used)
Difficult to CureDifficult to Cure
Remastered
Polydor / Umgd 1999
Audio CD$1.74
$1.73 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Klaxons 7" vinyl single record Gravity's Rainbow UK RINSE3S POLYDOR 2007 US $18.06 Buy It Now 35m 40s
KYMAERA- INTO THE RAINBOW(STRING JAZZ CD) US $3.28 [0 bids]
47m 43s
abt m- LOLEATA HOLLOWAY BRING IT ON UP/RAINBOW 71 45 VINYL GALAXY 780 US $45.99 Buy It Now 54m 52s
The 1st Original Album Part.2 [Rainbow Syndrome] / Korea, Republic of / K-POP US $17.50 Buy It Now 1h 3m
Judy Garland - Judy Garland (CD, Rainbow Music Group) [Import] Golden Oldies OOP US $14.99 Buy It Now 1h 8m
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RAINBOW album ritchie blackmore BENT OUT OF SHAPE US $8.00 Buy It Now 1h 27m
RAINBOW Street Of Dreams JAPAN 7" NM 1983 7DM0090 US $15.00 Buy It Now 1h 32m
Roger GLOVER - The Mask 7" (UK 45, p/s) Rainbow, Deep Purple US $1.63 [0 bids]
1h 44m
DELLS-SING A RAINBOW/LOVE IS BLUE-UK FC 45rpm 1969-SOUL US $8.00 Buy It Now 1h 44m
Sly and Lovechild Rainbow CD Single US $8.24 Buy It Now 1h 50m
ACKER BILK acker volume two 7" 4 track mono ep features there's a rainbow round US $8.24 Buy It Now 2h 4m
AL JARREAU hold on me 7" b/w rainbow in your eyes(rps 1374) us reprise 1976 US $8.24 Buy It Now 2h 13m
ALAN PRICE i love you too 7" promo b/w rainbow's end (sjet124) uk jet 1978 US $8.24 Buy It Now 2h 16m
JIMI HENDRIX - 1971 - "Rainbow Bridge" OST US $7.60 [0 bids]
2h 22m
ALISTAIR GORDON touch and go 7" b/w nightmares (rain1) pic slv uk rainbow 1985 US $8.24 Buy It Now 2h 24m
BOB MARLEY ~'LIVE AT THE RAINBOW' ~ V.Rare SKY ARTS DVD-R ACETATE 2009~NEW US $33.00 Buy It Now 2h 27m
AMERICA green monkey 7" b/w rainbow song (k16348) uk warner bros 1973 US $8.24 Buy It Now 2h 30m
AMERICA green monkey 7" 4 pronged centre label design b/w rainbow song (k16348) US $8.24 Buy It Now 2h 30m
AMERICA green monkey 7" promo b/w rainbow song (k16348) uk warner bros 1973 US $8.24 Buy It Now 2h 30m
A691 RAINBOW / DOWN TO EARTH JAPAN CD P33P-25018 US $34.99 Buy It Now 2h 33m
MICHAEL HOLLIDAY-Wishin' On A Rainbow UK 7" EX Cond US $9.89 Buy It Now 2h 36m
A693 RAINBOW / BEST OF RAINBOW JAPAN DOUBLE CD P58P-20108~9 OBI US $79.99 Buy It Now 2h 37m
ANGEL (FEMALE) do it 7" b/w tomorrow night (rbr2) pic slv uk rainbow 1985 US $8.24 Buy It Now 2h 38m
ANGELA BOFILL angel of the night 7" b/w rainbow child (gs2504) us grp 1979 US $8.24 Buy It Now 2h 38m
JIMI HENDRIX - RAINBOW BRIDGE / Japan LP / OBI / 1971 / Gatefold / Record US $46.99 Buy It Now 2h 41m
Judy Garland - Over The Rainbow With Julie Garland VERY GOOD (VINYL US $11.54 Buy It Now 2h 44m
ARETHA FRANKLIN rock-a-lott 7" b/w look to the rainbow (ris20) pic slv uk arista US $8.24 Buy It Now 2h 48m
ASTRUD GILBERTO sing me a rainbow 7" b/w windy (2009016) uk verve forecast 1968 US $19.76 Buy It Now 2h 56m
RAINBOW - Final Vinyl (reissue) - gatefold 2xLP US $32.60 Buy It Now 3h 7m
RAINBOW On Stage Deluxe Digipak 2x CD NEW & SEALED US $24.68 Buy It Now 3h 7m
RAINBOW Straight Between The Eyes Remastered CD NEW US $11.14 Buy It Now 3h 7m
RAINBOW LIVE BETWEEN THE EYES RITCHIE BLACKMORE RARE VIDEODISC CED PAL 1983 US $33.00 Buy It Now 3h 8m
V/A DISCO BUS BURDON FERRY RAINBOW HOLLIES DIO LP MINT US $143.49 Buy It Now 3h 8m
BANDZILLA don't touch that dial 7" b/w blue movies (rbr14) pic slv uk rainbow 19 US $8.24 Buy It Now 3h 12m
RAINBOW Long Live Rock N Roll JAPAN Early Press CD 1990 W/Obi RARE! US $49.00 Buy It Now 3h 16m
White Rainbow CD (UK Import) NEW US $18.70 Buy It Now 3h 21m
T. Riley - Rainbow In Curved/Poppy Nogood [CD New] US $6.99 Buy It Now 3h 25m
The marmalade,reflections of my life,rainbow,reissue nm,45 US $7.73 Buy It Now 3h 26m
Rainbow + Dvd CD (UK Import) NEW US $36.58 Buy It Now 3h 27m
Lot of 3 Heavy Metal LPs Records Rainbow, Krokus , Quiet Riot US $9.99 [0 bids]
3h 27m
RAINBOW- DIFFICULT TO CURE VINYL ALBUM US $4.94 Buy It Now 3h 30m
ULTIMATE PANPIPES VOLUME 2 OVER THE RAINBOW NEW CD 20 RELAXING CHILLOUT TUNES US $5.78 Buy It Now 3h 32m
Rainbow - Pots of Gold (2002) US $6.59 Buy It Now 3h 38m
Jimi Hendrix Rainbow Bridge USA LP (1971) VERY GOOD Reprise MS 2040 US $8.24 Buy It Now 3h 39m
Blackmore's Night Autumn Sky JAPAN SHM-CD+1 Bonus Deep Purple Rainbow Ritchie US $38.00 [0 bids]
3h 46m
Heaven And Hell The Devil You Know NEW JAPAN SHM-CD BLACK SABBATH DIO US $43.98 [0 bids]
3h 46m
SUNSTORM EMOTIONAL FIRE NEW 2012 JAPAN 1st Ps CD+1 BONUS Joe Lynn Turner Rainbow US $39.80 [0 bids]
3h 46m
RAINBOW LONG LIVE ROCK N ROLL NEW JAPAN SACD SA-CD / SHM-CD DIO Black Sabbath US $68.00 [0 bids]
3h 46m
Fly to the Rainbow by Scorpions (Cassette, Jul-1987, RCA) US $11.99 Buy It Now 3h 50m
SUNSTORM featuring Joe Lynn Turner NEW 2006 S/T 1st Prs JAPAN CD+1 BONUS Rainbow US $39.80 [0 bids]
3h 50m
DIO DREAM EVIL+Donington NEW 2013 JAPAN 2 Mini LP 2 SHM-CD Rainbow Black Sabbath US $44.98 [0 bids]
3h 50m
STEPHEN MARQ Lost In The Music CD Reaching For Rainbow Rising Tide AUTOGRAPH US $9.99 Buy It Now 3h 52m
Over The Rainbow: The Very Best Of Judy Garland, Judy Garland, New US $16.96 Buy It Now 3h 53m
RAINBOW - SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE: THE COLLECTION (600753455036) - NEW CD US $6.54 Buy It Now 3h 54m
RAINBOW ON STAGE JAPAN MADE MINI LP SHM CD NEW OUT OF PRINT UICY-93620 US $39.99 Buy It Now 3h 54m
DIO Rock 'N' Roll Children USA PROMO/DJ ONLY 12" Single Black Sabbath Rainbow US $12.98 [0 bids]
3h 55m
URIAH HEEP ABOMINOG 1982 JAPAN 1st Ps M- VINYL LP+OBI Black Sabbath Rainbow Ozzy US $48.00 [0 bids]
3h 55m
MSG The Michael Schenker Group ASSAULT ATTACK JAPAN 1st LP UFO Scorpions Rainbow US $13.98 [0 bids]
3h 55m
Year of the Black Rainbow by Coheed and Cambria US $9.48 Buy It Now 3h 56m
RAINBOW- 7"Single -All Night Long/No Time To Lose, (Import) EX+ US $11.54 Buy It Now 4h 2m
RAINBOW FAMILY - This Is Not A Circular - 7" US $8.65 Buy It Now 4h 2m
GRAHAM BONNET / NIGHT GAMES / 1981 7" P/S RAINBOW US $4.94 Buy It Now 4h 3m
RAINBOW Syndrome Part 2: Sunshine KPOP CD Album NEW SNSD AFTER SCHOOL 2NE1 KARA US $12.00 Buy It Now 4h 5m
RAINBOW - BLACKMORE IN NEW BLACK STOCKINGS SEXISM OUTRAGE (RARE JAPAN 2LP) US $65.00 Buy It Now 4h 6m
RAINBOW-THE VERY BEST OF RAINBOW-JAPAN CD B00J0E35A4hirata73 US $30.70 Buy It Now 4h 7m
Bill Shepherd Ranch Hands - Cowboy Favorites 1963 7" Ex/Vg Rainbow US $8.24 Buy It Now 4h 10m
Rainbow Mirrors A Bur.. CD (UK Import) NEW US $13.97 Buy It Now 4h 10m
COUSIN SNORKEL*A TRIBUTE TO CRAZY OTTO*RAINBOW45-311*7"45 RPM*PIANO*POP*SEE INFO US $4.95 Buy It Now 4h 13m
Remember Me This Way Gary Glitter live Rainbow Theatre London LP 1974 Bell US $8.35 [0 bids]
4h 14m
Rainbow Arabia - F.M. Sushi [CD New] US $18.36 Buy It Now 4h 15m
Elvis Presley Rare CD: Pure Gold - Rainbow Music Series - Australian (1990) US $14.84 [0 bids]
4h 16m
JOE SAMPLE RAINBOW SEEKER ~ EX! ABC RECORDS, RAY PARKER, ERNEST J. WATTS US $3.28 [0 bids]
4h 18m
V.A - Somewhere Over The Rainbow KOREA CD *SEALED* RARE US $21.99 Buy It Now 4h 18m
Rainbow Man on the Silver Mountain Japan White Label Promo 7" DP 1996 US $950.00 Buy It Now 4h 18m
Santana Dance of the Rainbow Serpant Box set US $17.99 [0 bids]
US $24.99 Buy It Now
4h 22m
Merzbow - Rainbow Electronics 2 [CD New] US $25.91 Buy It Now 4h 22m
Rainbow - Long Live Rock N Roll (NEW 2CD) US $25.98 Buy It Now 4h 25m
Steve Hillage - Rainbow Dome Musick (NEW CD) US $8.42 Buy It Now 4h 26m
Rainbow - Down To Earth (NEW CD) US $11.13 Buy It Now 4h 26m
Su Pollard - Starting Together 1986 Ex/Vg Rainbow RBR4 US $6.59 Buy It Now 4h 30m
Somewhere Over the Rainbow. 802699109725 US $4.06 Buy It Now 4h 31m
BRASS ALLEY rainbow 7" b/w you're breaking my heart (rca2436) uk rca 1973 US $8.24 Buy It Now 4h 34m
BRASS ALLEY rainbow 7" demo b/w you're breaking my heart (rca2436) uk rca 1973 US $8.24 Buy It Now 4h 34m
MERZBOW - RAINBOW ELECTRONICS II - NEW CD US $22.93 Buy It Now 4h 35m
Rainbow - Stone Cold 7" 1982 Ex/Vg Polydor POSP421 US $6.59 Buy It Now 4h 39m
MAGGIE BELL - LIVE AT THE RAINBOW 1974 - NEW CD US $11.10 Buy It Now 4h 42m
Ed Sullivan Presents Songs and Music of Brigadoon & Finians Rainbow ES 12 VG-EX US $4.99 Buy It Now 4h 45m
RITCHIE BLACKMORE Rainbow OYSTER UK 1st Press A1/B1 LP Laminated US $46.22 Buy It Now 4h 45m
RAINBOW Can't Let You Go UK guitar shaped picture disc Polydor POSPP 854 1983 US $41.25 Buy It Now 4h 47m
"GOLDEN RAINBOW" BROADWAY CAST ALBUM LP STEVE & EYDIE US $1.99 [1 bids]
4h 49m
BRYAN AND MICHAEL you don't call me darling 7" b/w rainbow (7p102) uk pye 1979 US $8.24 Buy It Now 4h 50m
FRANKIE AVALON ~ NEW CD SWINGIN' ON A RAINBOW ORIGINAL RECORDING RE-ISSUE US $6.03 Buy It Now 4h 50m
Wendy & Lisa 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) Rainbow Lake UK VST1280 VIRGIN US $18.06 Buy It Now 4h 50m
BRYAN JOHNSON a place in the country 7" b/w countin colours in a rainbow (45f113 US $8.24 Buy It Now 4h 51m
BRYAN JOHNSON a place in the country 7" demo b/w countin' colours in a rainbow ( US $8.24 Buy It Now 4h 51m
60's 70's 80's (2 CD) MEAT LOAF~FOGHAT~URIAH HEEP~RAINBOW~TED NUGENT~STYX *NEW* US $21.32 Buy It Now 4h 51m
MIKAEL CARLSSON - RAINBOW SUITE: THE CHORAL SOUNDS OF MIKAEL CARLSSON - NEW CD US $14.18 Buy It Now 4h 58m
Rainbow On Stage 2-LP vinyl record (Double Album) UK SPDLP6 OYSTER/POLYDOR US $26.82 Buy It Now 4h 58m
Rainbow Down To Earth vinyl LP album record UK SPELP69 POLYDOR US $20.55 Buy It Now 4h 58m

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RAINBOW shows & tickets


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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 | 188 ratings
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
1975
4.16 | 356 ratings
Rising
1976
3.40 | 174 ratings
Long Live Rock & Roll
1978
2.61 | 117 ratings
Down To Earth
1979
2.84 | 103 ratings
Difficult To Cure
1981
2.42 | 100 ratings
Straight Between The Eyes
1982
2.82 | 91 ratings
Bent Out Of Shape
1983
3.46 | 85 ratings
Stranger In Us All
1995

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

3.78 | 94 ratings
On Stage
1977
2.58 | 44 ratings
Finyl Vinyl
1986
3.46 | 27 ratings
Live in Germany 1976 (aka Live in Europe)
1990
4.54 | 13 ratings
Live Düsseldorf Philipshalle 1976
2006
4.57 | 14 ratings
Live Kölner Sporthalle 1976
2006
3.70 | 25 ratings
Live In Munich 1977
2006
4.16 | 13 ratings
Live in Nürnberg 1976
2007
3.63 | 8 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
2.16 | 6 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 | 2 ratings
Black Masquerade
2013

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

3.41 | 13 ratings
The Best of Rainbow
1981
4.43 | 7 ratings
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow CD Boxset
1983
3.16 | 6 ratings
Ансамбль Rainbow
1989
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

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
4.67 | 6 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
 Rising by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.16 | 356 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 | 188 ratings

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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy

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
2.61 | 117 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
3.70 | 25 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 | 188 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
2.58 | 44 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
2.61 | 117 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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 Man On The Silver Mountain by RAINBOW album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1975
3.38 | 7 ratings

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Man On The Silver Mountain
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by mohaveman

3 stars Rainbow single release from 1975. "Man on the Silver Mountain" with the flip side being "Snake Charmer". Both songs clock in at around 4 and 1/2 minutes. This is with the classic duo of Ronnie James Dio on vocals and Ritchie Blackmore on guitar. So you can expect good things! And there is no doubt of them fulfilling the challenge. Both songs are good rock tunes although calling them prog might not be totally accurate but close enough, I guess. I prefer the A side "Man on the Silver Mountain", but both are decent nonetheless. Most people would probably prefer them with the album, though.

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 Rising by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.16 | 356 ratings

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Rising
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This landmark Rainbow proved to be a turning point in the careers of all involved, but most particularly of Ritchie Blackmore and Dio; it not only established Rainbow as a credible band rather than a mere vanity project of Blackmore's, but it also saw Dio join the front rank of metal frontmen from the era. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that most of Dio's subsequent career would be based around refining and perfecting the fantasy metal blueprint provided by this album, both in terms of his Dungeons & Dragons lyrics and the driving proto- NWOBHM sound on display.

I do not say that to denigrate Dio - quite the opposite. The fact that he was able to base so much of his future career on what was accomplished with this album just goes to show the rich creative vein tapped by it. As well as Dio's stalwart vocal performance and Blackmore's usual virtuoso guitar playing, major kudos has to go to the rhythm section of Jimmy Bain and Cozy Powell, whose driving fast-paced playing provides a rock-solid base for Blackmore and keyboardist Tony Carey's solos and Dio's quasi-operatic proclamations.

Although it's of obvious historical interest, on a purely musical level I wouldn't count the album as an unadulterated classic. Tony Carey's keyboard playing, aside from the intro to Tarot Woman, is usually upstaged by the rest of the band and doesn't seem to add much to the compositions beyond the odd bit of texture here and there, to the point where it feels as though he's present solely because artsy rock bands in the 1970s were supposed to have a keyboardist. In addition, the songwriting flags a bit after the first half of the album, with Stargazer getting repetitive to the point where I never want to hear Dio yelling "Whips and chaaaaaiiins" ever again. In addition to this, fans of more brutal and aggressive metal styles - or even harder and heavier Rainbow-influenced variants of NWOBHM, traditional metal and power metal - may find it to be rather tame. But still, when I'm in just the right mood for a Dio fix and I don't want something as heavy as his Sabbath material or as quintessentially 80s as his best solo work, Rising hits the spot.

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 Straight Between The Eyes by RAINBOW album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.42 | 100 ratings

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Straight Between The Eyes
Rainbow Prog Related

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars I owned this on vinyl and did not play it that much as I was disappointed with the content after hearing the excellent "Rising" album among others. The vocals are thin and whispy with high register but nowhere near the power and passion of Ronnie James Dio. Blackmore is here in presence only, but his shredding style is rather flat and absent.

'Bring on the Night' is okay for a soft metal type song, with a good lead break and sing along anthemic chorus.

'Power' is not too bad with nice shimmering Hammond and jumpy guitar riff. It really is a commercial rock sound though.

I always liked the killer opener 'Death Alley Driver' but apart from that this one left me 'Stone Cold'.

A real waste from a legendary band. Mention has to be made too of that awful cover art which just looks ridiculous.

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