Ritchie Blackmore leaves Deep Purple and takes over the band previously known as Elf. He kicks-out the unfortunate guitarist, renames the outfit as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, and establishes a strong song-writing partnership with one Ronnie James Dio on vocals.
Their debut album Rainbow is an uneven effort. It features excellent slower to mid-tempo tracks like Man On The Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow and The Temple Of The King, on which Blackmore's lyrical guitar matches up perfectly with Dio's mythical and medieval lyrics and image.
But Blackmore's search for radio-friendly commercial success has already begun, and the less powerful tracks like Self Portrait, Black Sheep Of The Family, and If You Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll are either cheesily aimless or outright failures.
Thankfully, right at the end of the album Blackmore signs off with a smile, thanks to the instrumental ironically titled Still I'm Sad: surely the ultimate metal salute to the cow bell, and a terrific track for good measure.
After the release of this album all the band members except Blackmore and Dio were fired or left: a new, more stable line-up would appear for Rainbow's follow-up, as the band moved steadily towards metal super-stardom and wider fan appeal.
Ritchie Blackmore - Guitar
Ronnie James Dio - Vocals
Gary Driscoll - Drums
Craig Gruber - Bass
Mickey Lee Soule - Keyboards
Songlist (ratings out of 10):
1. Man On The Silver Mountain - 8
2. Self Portrait - 6
3. Black Sheep Of The Family - 5
4. Catch The Rainbow - 9
5. Snake Charmer - 7
6. The Temple Of The King - 10
7. If You Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll - 6
8. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves - 7
9. Still I'm Sad - 10
Produced by Ritchie Blackmore, Martin Birch, Ronnie James Dio.
Mixed by Martin Birch.
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