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Rainbow Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow album cover
3.76 | 362 ratings | 25 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Man on the Silver Mountain (4:37)
2. Self Portrait (3:12)
3. Black Sheep of the Family (3:19)
4. Catch the Rainbow (6:36)
5. Snake Charmer (4:30)
6. Temple of the King (4:42)
7. If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll (2:36)
8. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves (3:29)
9. Still I'm Sad (3:53)

Total Time 36:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Ronnie James Dio / lead vocals
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitar, arrangements
- Mickey Lee Soule / piano, Mellotron, organ, clavinet
- Craig Gruber / bass
- Gary Driscoll / drums

- Shoshana Feinstein / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: David Willardson

LP Oyster ‎- OYA 2001 (1975, UK)
LP Polydor ‎- 2490 141 (1975, UK)

CD Polydor ‎- 825 089-2 (1986, US) Remastered by Dennis M. Drake
CD Polydor ‎- 547 360-2 (1999, Europe) Remastered by Suha Gur

Thanks to Ghost Rider for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy RAINBOW Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow Music

RAINBOW Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow ratings distribution

(362 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

RAINBOW Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars After leaving Purple for musical difference, Blackmore (who could not stand Glenn Hughes's funk ideas, but probably could not fire him for contractual reasons - it most likely would've cost Purple an harm and a leg), took almost all of the US group Elf (which had opened for Purple in recent tours) and formed his own band. Clearly from listening to this album, Blackmore had taken away most of the Purple spirit with him as his old group would soon disintegrate from lack of strong leadership and deceiving the fans.

Clearly once you get on this album, you know that most Purple fans that were deceived by the awful Stormbringer (just two valid tracks), jumped for joy and from the very opening moments of this debut. Man On The Silver Mountain, Black Sheep Of The Family, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves and Snake Charmer are pure Purple nuggets, while Temple Of The King and Catch The Rainbow were the type of tracks Blackmore would've likely developed with Coverdale had he stayed in Purple. A very good album equalling with Purple's Machine Head and Burn, with only one tracks which is less enthralling: the basic If You Don't Like RnR. An excellent album, which closes on an absolute scorcher, the old Yardbirds track Still I'm Sad, which smokes and burns through the galaxy with that superb cowbell. Amazingly enough, this track was one of the Yardbirds' most progressive track with its Gregorian chants, this version is completely instrumental, shunning its previous highlights (the chants) and is completely rearranged. A small tour de force, really and a fantastic closer that will be one of the highlights of their concerts although this track will always provide Rainbow with much space for improvisations..

Yes Blackmood was set to build the group he dreamed of without any spoilers around. And of course he was not to do this over one album as his interest was in taking Dio, but not really the rest of the group and they would get fired soon after this album's promotion was over, replaced in some case with much better musos (Powell on drums) and also weaker ones (Carey was catastrophic in live improvs). But this album is very worthy of the four stars I give, not only from a Purple purist point of view, but also from a hard rocking proghead, even if there aren't many progressive moments throughout Rainbow's career.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars This is a very good album, IMO, despite Blackmore`s reputation as a "hard person to work with". He is a very good guitarist and composer but himself has admitted in interviews that "not many of the Rainbow former members have nice things to say about me". Leaving politics in the background, the most important thing in this album is the music, of course.

The songs:

"Man on the Silver Mountain": started with a guitar riff (which I think was played in a Fender Stratocaster guitar, because the very own sound of this guitar is clearly heard). The lyrics, written by very good singer Ronnie James Dio, are in this song and in most of the other original songs, about fantasy worlds maybe related to Medieval themes.

"Self-Portrait": another good song with very good guitar riffs.

"Black Sheep in the Family": a song originally recorded by Quatermass. I prefer this version more than the Quatermass`s version. It has funny lyrics. It seems that Blackmore wanted to record this song with Deep Purple, but they rejected it, so with the help of the members of Elf (Dio/Gruber/Driscoll, and Soule, but obviously without Elf`s guitarist) he recorded it for this album, and so good were the results that he formed Rainbow with these members of Elf, finishing that band`s history.

"Catch the Rainbow": the best song of this album, with very good Mellotron parts by Mickey Lee Soule, it is maybe the most Progressive. Drummer Gary Driscoll plays very good drums in all the songs, but particularly in this song he shines.

"Snake Charmer": also one of my favourites, still related in sound to the best music that Deep Purple recorded with Blackmore in their best years (1969-1973), IMO.

"Temple of the King": the song with lyrics more related to Medieval themes, played with Blackmore with acoustic and electric guitars. It is another very good song.

"If You Don`t Like Rock `n`Roll": a good Rock song with funny lyrics too.

"Sixteenth Century Greensleeves": another Rock song with Medieval themes in the lyrics.

"Still I`m Sad": an instrumental version of a song originally composed and recorded by the band called The Yardbirds. It is a very good version with all band members (except Dio who didn`t sing the lyrics) playing very well.

Blackmore and Dio did a very good mix of Hard Rock with lyrics with fantasy themes and they also added some Progressive influences for this band. I still don`t know why Blackmore fired Soule (who played for a short time with Ian Gillan after this), Driscoll (who was murdered in mysterious circunstances in 1987) and Gruber after recording this very good album. I think that they didn`t deserve to be fired.

In conclusion, I recommend this album very much, which I first listened in 1976.

This album was originally released by the Oyster Records label in August 1975. It seems that Oyster was a short lived label (distributed by EMI) owned by Deep Purple. Oyster also released other albums from the Ian Gillan Band in the seventies, and maybe other albums by other bands. This album was re-issued by Polydor Records also in the seventies. The copy that one of my brothers bought in 1976 was released on the Oyster Records label.

Review by Matti
2 stars Deep Purple guitarist R. Blackmore got his name on the title of the first Rainbow album. Rainbow was never very prog, as far as I know. Quite ordinary hard rock with heavy guitars and a ballsy singer, that's all (but of course a classic in that field). Not exactly my branch of music. but since I just recently ordered this to my library and gave it a listen, here's my modest review.

'Catch the Rainbow' has remained a favourite to me from some compilation long ago. I love melancholic hard rock ballads like this (Scorpions have some nice ones too). 'The Temple of the King' is the other highlight; Blackmore plays acoustic guitar in it and actually it has a clear relation to the minstrel style of Blackmore'ä Night two decades later. Unfortunately all the other rocking tracks don't appeal to me. I had an expectation of the closer, 'Still I'm Sad', which is a fine sad song by Yardbirds. But I'm not very interested of this fast instrumental version. (Now, excuse me all the fans, but two stars is quite generous from me for two great tracks.)

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars There's a Rainbow rising

For this their first album, the band were actually called Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, emphasising that this was very much his baby. Part of the reasoning behind this was that the album is essentially a Blackmore solo album, with the band Elf, lead by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, providing the backing band.

While Blackmore had not actually left Deep Purple when this album was recorded, the writing was very clearly on the wall. His dissatisfaction with the sub- standard "Stormbringer" left him seeking an alternative outlet for his own preferences, and the success of this album simply helped to accelerate his departure.

Blackmore and Dio hit it off straight away as a song-writing partnership, coming up with all but two of the tracks here. Dio's main contribution to that side was in the lyrics, which are based in fantasy and legend. While the opening "Man on the silver mountain" and other tracks such as "Snake charmer" (which has an uncanny resemblance to songs from the Coverdale/Hughes Deep Purple) are steeped in the power rock of Deep Purple, there is an admirable diversity to the tracks on this album.

The feature track "Catch the rainbow" is a reflective ballad which swims in mellotron (or mellotrom as the sleeve describes it) and features a superb vocal performance by Dio. Blackmore's guitar work here is notably restrained and low in the mix. Other highlights include "Sixteenth century Greensleeves", a hint lyrically of what was to come with Blackmore's Night, and an instrumental cover of the Yardbirds "Still I'm sad". "Temple of the king" also focuses on the acoustic side of the band, the story-telling lyrics painting a wonderful picture of mediaeval life. Blackmore adds a beautifully delicate lead guitar solo to the song.

Given the heavy rock backgrounds of the musicians, as a whole this is a surprisingly light album. It does have its heavier moments of course ("If you don't like rock'n'roll" is another), but the restrained subtlety on show is what differentiates this release from its successors.

I have to admit, I have loved this album since its release over 30 years ago. Even today, I find it as inspired and listenable as it was then. OK, so apart from "Catch the rainbow", there are not many hints of prog here, but the album set the standard for many bands who did subsequently explore prog territories.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A "very" memorable album for me ...!

WOW! Rainbow on Prog Archives! Any prog album created by Rainbow? Well, I do not really know. As far as a bit definition of prog that lays around my head and my heart, there has been no such thing as prog from Rainbow. Nevertheless, I love this album very much man! Even until more than 30 years since it was first released. This album is so memorable for me personally for some reasons:

First, it was AKTUIL - the most respected local magazine in my country which discussed in deep the processes of Ritchie Blackmore's divorce from legendary band Deep Purple. Almost in every issue this magazine discussed this topic tirelessly. Why Blackmore is leaving? Who's gonna replace him as Deep Purple's guitarist? How the new band named as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow would sound like? Would it sound like Deep Purple? Would it be radically different? Who would be Rainbow's members? Oh yeah .. finally the magazine discussed about Dio's previous band: ELF. Oh .. what a great news at that time. I think, the news about the shift of Deep Purple's line-up was LOUDER than any political or economics issues at that time. It was so BIG (I mean it!). It;s because Deep Purple was evryone's business at that glory days. When the band finally released its debut, AKTUIL provided its readers with bonus poster of Rainbow line up. In fact, I still have a photograph of my room (in 1975) where there was a wall. full of posters, including RAINBOW! ANd .. I was proud of it man!

Second, AKTUIL magz brought in Deep Purple to perform live in open stadium with 80.000 audience in December 1975. It was the first experience that Indonesians could see a ROCK CONCERT from one of the best bands. People were wondering about the capability of Tomy Bolin in replacing Ritchie's position in Deep Purple. At about the same time, people in my country adored the debut album of RAINBOW. "Temple of The King" had become a radio standard! It was a BIG thing, really. Third, when this album was released I was on holiday in Jakarta and my brother Jokky kept playing this album many times at his room where I also shared. He loved "Temple of The King" but I was so impressed with "Still I'm Sad" and "Snake Charmer" .. oh also "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" ... and "Catch The Rainbow" .. "Self Portrait" .. oh no ... to be honest with you .. I love each song in this album!!! Sorry for not being selective but .. it's a FACT!

Musically, I would say that this album is NOT the same or close to any album that Deep Purple had ever made. Bravo Ritchie! You are the man! In fact, I admired his capability to form a band which has different style and sound from Deep Purple. Look at his decision to hire Ronnie James Dio with his eerie vocal! He did not sound similar at all with Ian Gillan. This was a good decision to include Dio in the band.BRAVO Ritchie!

This is an EXCELLENT rock album!!!

Keep on rockin' ..!!!

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Dear old Ritchie (well not that old at the time of course) has quitted his "Deep Purple" band mates to form the "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow". A well-known prog-related band.

When you listen to the first three songs of this album, you really wonder where is the musical difference with an album as "Stormbringer". Same poor compositions, no feeling, no soli. They just fall flat. Boring. At least "DP" features two very vocalists. Not really the case here.

The first song which is a bit better is "Catch The Rainbow". Definitely Hughes oriented (a bit bluesy). A good rock ballad. But the other ones are so sub-standards that it stands out here.

Some PA colleagues might well compare this work with "Machine Head" (???) but IMHHO, it is just like the "Stormbringer" stuff as far as the overall quality is concerned. I really wonder where is all the fuss about this sort of music. Very average hard-rock. I also wonder where is the relation with prog in here ! No one in the sevenites would have dared to call this prog. Whatever related or anything else you would add to it. So ???

Just listen to the boring "Snake Charmer". Insipid and heavy my friend. All the hard-rock clichés are featured here. And these vocals really don't help. The songwritting here is also average. But Blackmore wasn't really productive any longer with "DP", so no wonder on this one since he is co-responsible for it.

The second good song of this album is "The Temple of the King". Another rock ballad. That's the major change compared with "Purple". We'll get some more melancholic ballads with here and there a nice guitar solo (this is still Blackmore on the guitar, right ?).

We'll get a revival tune with "If You Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll". I can't really tell that this is close to the masterpiece status. "Status Quo" wrote tons of these sort of tracks. One of the best song is the closing number. A good instrumental piece (at least we got rid of these vocals) with great drumming and finally some great guitar. A pleasant way to close this work.

I consider this debut album as a very average album. Wouldn't Ritchie be featured, it would have been totally ignored I guess. I will rate this with two stars, and I'm generous. To discover the prog side of the band, I guess that we'll have to wait for later releases.

Review by Gooner
4 stars Not much to add here other than this is my favourite Rainbow album(along with "Difficult To Cure" 1981). It combines a nice mixture of Mark-III era Deep Purple and the direction Ritchie Blackmore would take Rainbow on "Rising" - which IMHO wasn't entirely successful. It sits right in between both of them, really. "Temple Of The King" is a classic(Ritchie Blackmore on acoustic guitar), as is "Catch The Rainbow" which is one of Ronnie James Dio's all time best performances on vocals in ballad format(great mellotron on this track as well). Most of you have heard "Man On The Silver Mountain" which I tend to like more and more for its unique character when I hear it. Many have complained about "If You Don't Like Rock & Roll" which is really a throwaway track on par with ELP's "Are You Ready Eddy?" it doesn't take away from the album compared to the rest of the quality on "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow". Recommended.
Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In 1974, guitar wizard Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple, disgusted by the funk and soul influences that bassist Glenn Hughes had starting injecting in the band's sound. Then he teamed up with four-fifths of American band Elf (who had supported DP in their last tour of the US), changed their name in Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - just to make it clear that it was his band - and proceeded to record their first, self-titled album - an excellent example of mid-paced, melodic hard rock with the added punch of Blackmore's brilliant guitar work and Ronnie James Dio's awesome pipes.

While lacking the majestic, epic quality of its follow-up, the legendary "Rising", "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow" contains several songs that quickly became mainstays of the band's live performances. Opener "Man on the Silver Mountain" features a lazy, almost hypnotic guitar-over-keyboards riff, and introduces the listener to Dio's powerful, commanding vocal delivery, surprisingly melodic for those who only know him from his heavy metal days with Sabbath and his eponymous band. As this album shows, the iron-lunged frontman would have made a great prog vocalist, had he chosen to go that way. "Catch the Rainbow, a wistful, mellotron-soaked, bluesy ballad with a heartfelt vocal performance from Dio, is pure heaven for Blackmore fans, especially in the numerous, extended live versions currently available. In a similar vein is the laid-back, Oriental-themed "Temple of the King"; while the heavier "Sixteenth Century Greensleves" exemplifies Blackmore's love of anything Renaissance, as well as pointing the way to what was going to be the musical and lyrical content of "Rising".

While the remaining tracks are not on the same level, they nevertheless make for a satisfying listening experience - with the possible exception of the rather nondescript, run-of-the-mill rocker "If You Don't Like Rock'n'Roll". Interestingly, the album includes two covers, Quatermass' "Black Sheep of the Family" (remarkably close to the original, though further enhanced by Dio's vocals), and an instrumental version of The Yardbirds' "Still I'm Sad", which closes the album in style.

Though Rainbow has often been dismissed as a Deep Purple clone, there are very few (if any) hints of Blackmore's former band on this record. The strength and clarity of Ritchie's guitar is one of the most impressive features of the album, blending with the other instruments and complementing Dio's singing, instead of engaging in wild duels with the keyboards (or even the vocals) as it happened in Deep Purple. If I had to describe ".. Rainbow" in a few words, I would say it sounds amazingly disciplined in comparison to the almost unbridled fury of the likes of "Burn" or "Machine Head".

As the previous reviewers have duly noted, the prog quotient of this album is definitely not as high as its follow-up. "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow" is nevertheless a musically and vocally excellent effort that can easily appeal to most prog fans, especially those whose roots lie in the classic era of our beloved genre.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Catch The Rainbow!

This album is not as innovative and adventurous as its excellent follow up, Rainbow Rising. However, this debut album is more varied than that next album. Rainbow had a softer and sometimes more acoustic, folky side that is sadly absent on the otherwise brilliant Rainbow Rising album. And it is clearly the ballads that stand out on this debut; the bluesy Catch The Rainbow and the folky Temple Of The King are among the best songs on this album and of the band. On the latter song, Ritchie plays acoustic guitars and Ronnie James Dio's vocals are sublime. This song has a mystical, medieval kind of feel to it.

Because these two first Rainbow albums focus on different sides of the band, I like to think of these two albums as companions; you need them both in order to fully catch Rainbow, so to speak. So, don't think that you have all the Rainbow you need if you only have Rainbow Rising. There are some important songs here too; Man On The Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves and Still I'm Sad could all be considered Rock classics and they became live favourites for the band. Still I'm Sad is a cover song that is performed instrumentally on this album (but the band later did a vocal version of it).

The low points here are Snake Charmer and, especially, If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll. These are basic Rock 'N' Roll songs that bring this album down a bit. I cannot help thinking that they could have made a truly excellent album if they had only taken the best tracks from the present album and put it together with the best tracks from Rainbow Rising, making out a single cohesive album. This 'dream' album of mine would combine the classic songs Man On the Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves and the wonderful Temple Of The King from this album with the fantastic (and very progressive!) tracks Tarot Woman, Stargazer and Light In The Black from the Rainbow Rising album. This imaginative album, had it been a reality, would most probably have gotten the full five star rating from me!

However, as they now stand, Rainbow Rising is a four star album approaching five and Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is a three star album approaching four.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars After leaving Deep Purple, guitarrist and songwriter Ritchie Blackmore launched his own project Rainbow. Backed by singer extraordinaire Ronnie James Dio and the other members of Elf (minus the guitar player, of course). he proved he could do much better than his ex colleagues. While Come Taste The BAnd was a mediocre affair at ibest, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow drips with power, good ideas and conviction.

Maybe the most surprising aspect fo this album is the fact that this line up never played live, before or after the release of this LP. It was supposed to be an one off project, but Ritchie ended up talking Dio into joining in as a permanent member when he decided to play some live shows after the album was well received by fans and critics. And he never bothered to ask the other Elf musicians to join. But really the impression you get hearing this CD is one of a seasoned band, belive it or not. Very well recorded and played, this CD was a nice surprise and promised a bright career for the guitarrist (which, by the way was totally fulfilled).

The album as a whole is fantastic, but I should point out some classics: Man Of The Silver Mountain (a personal favorite), Catch The Rainbow (the most progressive track, just beautfiul), Temple Of The King (great acoustic ballad in the vein of Deep Purple's Soldier Of Fortune) and the closing number Still I'm Sad. This last track was an old Yardbirds song that Ritchie completely rearragend (making it an instrumental tune) and it's a great showcase for his absolute incredible technique and feeling. Any doubts this guy is a genius? Just hear Still I'm Sad.

With a great cover and the production on the hands of the legendary Martin Birch this is a truly classic rock gem. Although the prog elements here are few, the awesome musicanship, the tasteful arrangements and melodic sounds makes this CD a must have for any rock fan, prog or otherwise.

Review by The Quiet One
3 stars Ritchie Blackmore's Deep Purple...ermm...Rainbow...

This debut album is oddly enough, having ''long time'' professional musician Ritchie Blackmore on board from Deep Purple fame, sounds pretty much like a ''real'' debut album, similar to those amateurish debuts, which includ simple blues/rock & roll songs, cover songs, and when I say amateurish, it means the style of the band is yet un-defined and inmature.

This having been released the same year as Come Taste the Band by Deep Purple with Tommy Bolin on guitar duties, this sounds pretty flat and primitive. It's not bad, it just seems that Ritchie went backwards in time, with just making some cool riffs, and that's it. Of course, there's the other highlight, that is Ronnie James Dio, a very well-known singer, with a incredible, and unique voice, which is the main reason this album can be differenciated from those from Deep Purple. Though, there's another notable difference between Deep Purple and Rainbow, in Deep Purple there's the essential role of Jon Lord's Hammond-Organ, while Rainbow focus' in Ritchie's guitar.

However the album for the music itself, isn't really something innovative, nor fresh, yet enjoyable. Some classics hard rock tunes like the famous opener, Man of the Silver Mountain, which is in my opinion, Rainbow's Smoke on the Water, then there's Snake Charmer, with Ritchie using wah-wah once again!, and then there's Sixteenth Century Greensleeves, which features Rainbow trademark sound, the sort-of menacing and medieval style and the story-telling vocals type, even though it's pretty simple compared to their later more progressive stuff, it pretty much resembles the basic characteristics of Dio-era-Rainbow. Then there's the cover songs, Still I'm Sad by the Yardbirds, a good hard-rockin' instrumental, the rythm is very much in the style of You Fool No One; then there's the Quatermass cover, Black Sheep of the Family, which is decent rock, which shows the amateur sound and un-defined sound. Then, besides the hard rock songs, there are other 2 highlights, Catch the Rainbow and Temple of the King, the later being a folkish tune, with some nice mellotron, while Catch the Rainbow is the other song on the album which features Rainbow future trademark style, with Dio's marvellous vocals, and again the mellotron, giving a very melancholic climax, which should be desired by a lot of bands.

To conclude it's a fine rock album, with a bit of all. The down-fall is the already mentioned un-defined sound, which half of the album could have been really by any other decent rock band. However it's my favorite album, mainly because of that reason: not having Rainbow's trademark sound fully develope, while obviously it's better objectively, I've never liked how it sounded, too medieval and dark.

3 stars. Good album, though if you're looking for something unique, check Rising.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow who would later be dubbed just Rainbow released their debut album in 1975. As the name suggests this is former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's new band. Ritchie Blackmore hired Elf members Ronnie James Dio ( vocals), Gary Driscoll ( drums), Craig Gruber ( Bass) and Mickey Lee Soule ( Keyboards) to play on the album. Elf had supported Deep Purple on tour and Blackmore had been very impressed by the vocal skills of Dio and when the two of them found that there was a positive creative chemistry between them they decided to work together.

The music on Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is hard rock bordering metal. Dio is an exceptional vocalist IMO and his input on this album is of high class as usual. The music is blues rock based but a few neo-classical elements appear here and there. A feature which would be investigated further on subsequent albums by Rainbow. Ritchie Blackmore´s playing is also of high class throughout the album and there are some really intense soloing and great riffs that I find very enjoyable. All songs are good but not as exciting as later efforts by the band and ( this has probably been mentioned before) the opening riff in Catch the Rainbow is close to being a ripp-off of Henrix Little Wing. Blatant ripp-offs always drag my rating down.

The musicianship is excellent even though the three backing musicians here are not as accomplished as Blackmore and Dio. There´s no doubt who the stars are here.

The production is professional but not as good as on the next album by the band.

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is a good hard rock/ heavy metal album but it´s like it lacks the final finesse to reach the excellent mark. 3 big stars are deserved though.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rainbow's debut is a very charming affair where Ritchie Blackmore continued his fascination with medieval madrigals and symphonic melodies that had began on the latest Deep Purple albums. On vocals, he started his short, difficult but creatively thriving cooperation with Ronny James Dio. That little man's gigantic vocal chords have graced many landmark metal albums and have been endlessly emulated by many lesser gods.

The album mixes different styles, from forgettable rock 'n' roll to great hard rock tunes and moody ballads. It's maybe a bit uneven for 4 stars, but too good for just 3. If you're a lover for heavy-prog, hard rock, neo-prog you can't miss this album.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple and released his debut as "Ritchie's Blackmore Rainbow". In fact this album could be named as Ritchie Blackmore & The Elf, whenever Ritchie just took almost all US band for his new group.

I believe this album was one of last swan songs or hard rock "golden age". Deep Purple went down, and Blackmore bring big part of DP sound and atmosphere to his new band. I love Ronnie James Dio voice in all his projects, and this album is his real debut in big rock ( Elf popularity before Rainbow was very limited).

Music is very melodic and different, Blackmore plays his best guitar for years. Combination of Blackmore love to euro-classic and some British folk with Dio's world of dragons are very balanced there, but you can hear many elements of it in music. And in this album it still is more positive factor.

Ex-Elf musicians are almost all not of highest level, and it feels in some moments (technically), but the atmosphere is perfect. All songs are great, the only filler is "If You Don't Like Rock'n'Roll". Still sounding more as hard-rock album from early seventies, this work is very important (and is second best Rainbow studio album after next coming "Rising"). In later albums Blackmore will change musicians and will refresh the sound, but rare of them will have same atmosphere as this debut.

Not too much progressive, but hard rock classic album.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is the first of three significant Dio/Blackmore collaborations. Although this debut album might not be as great as Rising or Long Live Rock 'n' Roll it does offer a few nice moments.

The album opens with Man On The Silver Mountain which is one of Rainbow's most notorious stage numbers that sound fantastic in a live setting. The studio version offered here might not come close to the great energy of the live versions but at least this is the track's origin that should be respected in its own right. My personal favorite Rainbow gem off this album is known as Temple Of The King. This composition featuring some dual guitar action doesn't seem to get the appreciation it deserves among the fans who usually prefer Catch The Rainbow or Self Portrait and forget completely about masterpiece performance.

When I heard this album for the first time I was surprised to hear Black Sheep Of The Family which was originally written and recorded by Quatermass. I guess that it was hard to resist not to play this strongly Deep Purple flavored rocker especially since Rainbow does an excellent job of making a completely different take on this classic. Albums like these are not without their flaws and there are a couple of forgettable rock & roll performances that the listeners have to withstand in order to get to the good stuff. After all, this was still the early days of Hard Rock meaning that the bands needed to experiment with their sound in order to achieve greatness later on in their career.

"Richie Blackmore's Rainbow" is an interesting debut album since it features the powerful collaboration between Dio and Blackmore still in the developing stages of their career. I would recommend this album to fans of the two follow-up releases since this album comes close to the quality seen on Long Live Rock 'n' Roll while giving us an early indication of the band featured on Rising.

***** star songs: Temple Of The King (4:42)

**** star songs: Man On The Silver Mountain (4:37) Self Portrait (3:12) Black Sheep Of The Family (3:19) Catch The Rainbow (6:36) Sixteenth Century Greensleeves (3:29) Still I'm Sad (3:53)

*** star songs: Snake Charmer (4:30) If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll (2:36)

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars An enjoyable mix of classic hard rock and melodic creativity highlight this debut by Rainbow, feauting the iconic guitar of Blackmore and the even more iconic vocals of RJ Dio. RB's Rainbow is an excellent snap-shot of rock music at the time, graced with enough songwriting nuance and creativity to make it stand out.

The album opens with the legendary "Man on the Silver Mountain", chugging out a memorable riff with a vintage '70's feel. This song sets the stage for the powerful rockin' that follows, and the mystic lyrics by Dio are irresistable. The group shows range with the melodic "Catch the Rainbow" and "Temple of the King", two elegantly written songs with beautifully understated performances, classy mellotron work, and fine vocals. Toss in the exceptionally fun rocker "Snake Charmer" (with wah-wah pedal!) and the mighty "Greensleeves", and you've got a memorable hard rock experience.

Though RB's Rainbow is a far cry from anything progressive, the few artistic touches stand out enjoyably amid the thunderous bass and guitar work, and listeners craving a good dose of lamentably underplayed hard rock need look no further.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by lazland
4 stars 1975, and Blackmore had finally had a terminal fallout with Deep Purple, although it seemed to mainly be the funky direction set by Hughes & Coverdale that really lay at the heart of the problem. So, he formed a band with himself and Elf, led by the, well, elf-like Ronnie James Dio from the States.

Right from the word go, with the eternal classic Man On The Silver Mountain, Blackmore began to set his imprint of a band going back to basics, focusing on hard rock as an art form, with blues and folk based leanings. He also, of course, set the ultimately terminal course of his baby by beginning to sack anyone who he didn't like the look of first thing in the morning. By the time this rather good debut was released, only he and Dio remained, with the remainder of Elf probably feeling like the jilted bride at the alter after the promise of future riches being blown away.

This is a solid album, without ever really approaching true classic status. Rather, it should be regarded as the initial statement by two heavy rock gods laying down their initial template, from which great things would be built.

The aforementioned opener is a genuine classic, still sung by Dio on stage up until the point of his passing away. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves, with its medieval influence, is a very early foretaste of the direction Blackmore would take when he finally left Purple and hard rock forever and moved in with his missus. Temple Of The King is the one almost forgotten Rainbow track that every completionist should definitely own, a beautifully sung track with subtle backing by Blackmore, who makes his instrument sing with the vocalist.

My personal favourite is Catch The Rainbow, extended to ridiculous lengths on the classic On Stage live double album, but here a track of exceptional feeling, maturity, and heralding, to me, the onset of a writing partnership that was to define the maturation of hard rock in the late 1970's and influence a huge number of post rock bands in later years. Dio rarely sounded better, and the true musicianship of Blackmore is very much to the fore.

Elsewhere, the album closer, Still I'm Sad, a cover of a classic Yardbirds track, is poignant when one considers the split from Purple and extremely well performed. Much of the rest is simply high quality mid 1970's rock, nothing more, nothing less, no bad thing if, like me, you were awakening to the joys of such music at about this time.

This is a rather difficult album to rate. It is, in parts, excellent, but, in others, a template upon which to build greater things. I'll round up 3.5 to four stars simply because it is an important album that any fan of hard rock with progressive leanings should own, if only to see where one of the greatest exponents of the genre at that time started it all off.

Review by stefro
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
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.

Review by Kempokid
4 stars No matter how long I've listened to a wide range of music, with the array of incredible talents I've listened to, ranging from compositional prowess, to incredible technicality, to near inhuman vocal skill, one thing that has stayed very consistent, no matter how many other musicians I've listened to, is that Ronnie James Dio is, and likely always will be, my absolute favourite vocalist of all time. Out of the many appearances in various bands that he's had, I always go back to Rainbow's first 3 albums as some of my favourite of him, as I love the careful balance between the strong fantasy lyricism and powerful, riff-centric hard rock, giving the band its own identity while also not overdoing it on any front, which is an issue that I feel could sometimes pop up in his later solo career. The debut of the band, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, is the most straightforward, least bombastic and grandiose of the trio of albums with Dio, but that said, it definitely still displays a high level of compositional quality.

The album kicks off with one of their most popular hits of Man On The Silver Mountain, with the iconic main riff of the song immediately worming its way into the listener's head before the infectious vocal melody acts similarly. There's just something about this song that's incredibly uplifting to me, likely the combination of the way Dio belts out his voice, especially in the last minute or so, and the constant rising power that the song possesses, making this a song I often will find myself returning to. Both Self Portrait and Black Sheep of the Family are far more pedestrian tracks, but are still definitely enjoyable listens, especially Self Portrait, which is somewhat more laid back, providing nice contrast after the powerful opener. Catch The Rainbow stands out to me as not only the best song on this album, but one of my personal picks for best song that Dio was ever involved in, with the instrumentation being absolutely perfect, using the mellotron to give the song incredible atmosphere. This combined with the sublme vocal performance and the impossibly dreamy melody makes the song give the feeling of floating on a cloud, being lightly swept along by the wind, all of this comfortably making this my second favourite Rainbow song. After this utterly beautiful masterpiece, Snake Charmer seems somewhat underwhelming, although I don't put that up to the song as much as I do the track listing, as the song is definitely one of the better hard rockers here, especially with the awesome bass work. Temple of The King evokes some more beauty, but focuses on the narrative aspect more than the atmosphere of Catch The Rainbow, giving it a very different feel, while still being incredible, as the passion and power that Dio has while still being amazingly melodious and beautiful can be most clearly seen here. Unfortunately, after this comes If You Don't Like Rock N Roll, which is nothing short of awful with almost no redeeming qualities to be found, other than the fact that it is very short, but even so, the cheesiness is painful, and the piano is horrible. The final two songs definitely redeem this to some extent however, as Sixteenth Century Greensleeves is filled with excellent riffs and lyricism and the instrumental Still I'm Sad is just really fun all around.

This album is overall very high quality, with the majority of the lower points still being passable, and the highlights being absolutely breathtaking, providing a listening experience that is almost consantly an enjoyable one. While this is not the album I'd immediately go to when wanting to listen to some of Dio's work (that would be the followup album, Rising), it's still one that I do enjoy going back to. I do wish that If You Don't Like Rock N Roll was just completely cut out, as it both breaks the flow of the album and just sounds awful all around, but even with this, there are still plenty of songs which more than make up for it. The two thoughts that stick with me whenever I listen to this are "Wow, Dio had some serious talent", and "Catch The Rainbow should have closed off the album".

Best songs: Man On The SIlver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow, Temple Of The King, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves

Weakest songs: If You Don't Like Rock N Roll

Verdict: I would highly recommend this album to anyone who's a fan of 70s hard rock along the lines of Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin, as this definitely would fit that sort of taste. While the album has a couple of small flaws, it doesn't stop this from being a great listen.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I rarely succeed to find rock music with such convincing fantasy feel as it was Rainbow with Dio! Each of three albums are simply close to perfection to me. This album can offer some really memorable highlights. "Man on the silver mountain" is quite catchy and simplistic but the simplicity mak ... (read more)

Report this review (#528009) | Posted by Ragana | Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow ? 1975 Best (4.3/5) 12 ? Best Song: Man on the Silver Mountain True to the type of brazen egomaniac that Ritchie Blackmore is purported to be, he'd feel the need to slap his name on each product, three or four times for good measure. So the name of the band is RI ... (read more)

Report this review (#440508) | Posted by Alitare | Friday, April 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After quitting Deep Purple, tired of the musical direction under the Coverdale/Hughes leadership, rooted in funky influences, after recording the bad "Stormbringer", Ritchie Blackmore formed a brand new band called Rainbow, determined to keep on writing heavy sounding material. The band's debut a ... (read more)

Report this review (#284582) | Posted by Malve87 | Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If it wasn't for Ronnie James Dio,early Rainbow could be considered a solo project from Ritchie Blackmore after he left Deep Purple.The team of musicians hired to play on this record(all ex-members of Dio's old band,Elf)would be fired right after the release of this debut and the follownig tour.H ... (read more)

Report this review (#191400) | Posted by Gustavo Froes | Monday, December 1, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Following the departure of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover from Deep Purple in 1973, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore soon jumped ship too. Blackmore decided to form his own band with former Elf vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Their debut album was released in 1975 and retains the hard rock roots of Deep Pu ... (read more)

Report this review (#102828) | Posted by East of Lyra | Tuesday, December 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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