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Flight of the bumblebee

Darker Than Blue has an article with recollections of one Rob Munton. In the 60s he was a guitar player in a semi-pro English band called Force Five, and in 1966 they happened to open for Neil Christian and the Crusaders. At the time, Ritchie Blackmore was the Crusaders’ guitar player:

The guitarist sounded pretty good as well. They did a second run through number, an instrumental, which was pretty unusual in the mid ‘60’s. The Shadows were definitely not cool any more, but this Dude was playing a piece I recognised as Rimsky Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble Bee. Ritchie had the 335 feed-backing on high gain and he played the whole piece with left hand only, using hammer-ons and pull-offs. His technique was awe inspiring, the fastest playing I had ever seen, and note perfect. I remember feeling very deflated when we went on a few minutes later to do our sound check.

Read more in Darker Than Blue.

6 Comments to “Flight of the bumblebee”:

  1. 1
    Deeperpurps says:

    Ritchie Blackmore was the best guitarist of all, even way back then. He was miles ahead of Clapton, Hendrix, Page et al in terms of technique and rawness. Those 3 were certainly very good, but not in the same league as Blackmore. Too bad that Ritchie has been so underrated all these years.

  2. 2
    al says:

    very good story about Pre Deep Purple/Rainbow about Ritchie! that shows about the genius of the man and how good that guy is.I hope for more rock music at some point

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    Classic Blackmore, tearing it up way back then as a youngster! Love it, the maestro! Cheers.

  4. 4
    kraatzy says:

    Yeah … thats our Ritchie how we love him …

    Did he ever play the “Flight of the bumblebee” later with Purple or Rainbow ?
    Do anybody know this ???



  5. 5
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Yet another example of how Deep Purple (and the individual players) were somehow overlooked as far as recognition for their “place in line” with other more known and popular musicians. Each musician in Deep Purple were and are superior performers over the ‘competition’ but they apparently wore and still wear cloaks that make them invisible to the public eye. For me a perfect and frustrating example is the song “Hey Joe”. The Jimi Hendrix version is all you ever hear or heard on the radio. Yes it was released on his debut album a year prior to Purple’s rendition which came onto the scene with it’s release on their debut album ‘Shades of Deep Purple’ in 1968 but….. The Purple version is much more powerful and dimensional. Go ahead and play the two versions back to back beginning with the Hendrix version. Ritchie wipes the floor with Hendrix on this and the rest of the band do the same in relation to their respective players. The Purple version has so much more depth and emotion yet all you ever here is how great Hendrix’s version is. Yes JH was an amazing guitarist and performer and even The Man in Black has stated how impressed he was when he saw him play way back then. That being said, Ritchie definitely took his own ability to another level and beyond and sadly never got his due recognition. Sadly Hendrix died just a couple of years after coming on to the scene and we will never know how he would have progressed down the road. Sure would have been great to have him around today as we do Blackmore. I seriously doubt that he would have left Rock for some lame twiddling in the forest with a pointy hat…..

    Anyway, check the links below for yourself and see if you concur….

    Hendrix version:

    Purple version:


  6. 6
    nupsi59 says:

    “You’re simply the best
    Better than all the rest”
    (Tina Turner)

    Have a nice Day!

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