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Top 5 Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow Songs
When guitar virtuoso Ritchie Blackmore announced in 1975 that he was leaving rock group Deep Purple, it took the music world by storm. By the end of the year he was already starting a world tour with his new rock band Rainbow, featuring Ronnie James Dio on vocals (now regarded as one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time).
The first album featured members of Dio’s previous band “Elf” playing the backing instruments, but Blackmore quickly became tired of their musical style and instead hired other members, including Cozy Powell on drums and Tony Carey on keyboards. The line-up proved to be a huge success, with Rainbow going on to sell records all over the world.
Rainbow’s first few albums with Ronnie James Dio were “Rainbow” in 1975, “Rising” in 1976, and “Long Live Rock and Roll” in 1978. The next album “Down To Earth” (released in1979) featured Graham Bonnet on vocals and included the group’s first hit single, “Since You’ve Been Gone”. The question is: what are the best Rainbow songs of all time?
Throughout their many line-up changes Rainbow released a whole host of classic rock songs, from the fast, no-nonsense playing in “Kill the King” to the mellow, soft vocals in “Rainbow Eyes”. The versatility of the group combined with the classical theory knowledge of Blackmore made for a unique sound with many great songs.
The Top 5
5. Kill the King
With its dramatic introduction and soaring vocals, we couldn’t miss this song off the list. Starting out with a fast guitar passage from Blackmore and leading straight into a complex verse, it is a quintessential example of what Rainbow were all about. The lightning fast guitar solo and catchy chorus make this a staple of Blackmore’s song writing, with the heavy drum beat constantly driving the song forward. This song is a must-listen for any fan of classic rock.
4. Gates of Babylon
Featured on Long Live Rock and Roll (the same album as Kill the King), this song immediately conjures up images of the east. The exotic scales and harmonies used throughout make it unique and give it an exquisite feel that suits the lyrics perfectly, while the extended solo is a particular highlight of the song, giving Blackmore the chance to really show off what he can do. The song fades out with a small violin solo – the perfect ending to a wonderfully crafted piece.
3. Man on the Silver Mountain
Another great song with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, this one is a true classic. The bluesy guitar riff and driving drum beat help to make this a favourite with Rainbow fans, while the catchy, crunchy vocals make this one of the catchiest songs in Rainbow’s catalogue.
2. Since You’ve Been Gone
By far the best selling Rainbow song of all time, Since You’ve Been Gone features some great guitar work and an excellent chorus from Graham Bonnet. The song has a more commercial feel than the others on the list, but it’s still a must-listen for any Rainbow fan.
How could we create a list of rainbow songs and not include Stargazer? Coming in at a full eight and a half minutes long, Stargazer is the ultimate classic rock song. A blindingly fast drum intro leads into a catchy riff and great vocals from Dio, while an extended solo really lets the band member’s show off their skills. If you’ve never heard any Rainbow songs before, this is the perfect way to find out what they’re all about.