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A potential supergroup

Another bit of history appearing in the venerable Music History for Those Who Are Able to Read blog. It is an article from Sounds magazine, originally published on April 17, 1976. The article is an overview of several hard rock bands that were “new” at the day, with Rainbow among them.

Ritchie Blackmore`s Rainbow

Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Ronnie James Dio (vocals), Tony Carey (keyboards), Jimmy Bain (bass), Cozy Powell (drums).

Ritchie Blackmore is guv’nor among modern day rock guitarists and his band Rainbow is a potential supergroup. No kid — for, bearing in mind Deep Purple’s recent poor displays in Britain, the path seems clear for Rainbow to take over as one of this country’s foremost rock bands.

Having become, over the years, increasingly disillusioned with life in Purple, in 1975 Blackmore went about laying down one or two solo tracks in Munich’s Musicland studios, adided and abetted by members of Elf (notably Ronnie James Dio), a young band who had played second on the bill to Purple on a number of occasions. However, what was originally one track, ‘Black Sheep Of The Family’, blossomed into a complete album and then, ultimately, heralded a break away from Purple altogether.

Dio had acted as a catalyst and Blackmore had regained his enthusiasm, his will to play. After the release of the amorphous first album ‘Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow’, Dio and Blackmore went about moulding a new band. Finally, they managed to quash rumours that Blackmore had left Purple to join Elf once and for all by recruiting an almost entirely new line-up from that which appeared on the first album.

With a second album due out in a month or so, Rainbow have yet to gig in Britain. They hope to visit later this year however, bringing with them their vast rainbow-shaped lightshow, which is so complex it has to be run by digital computer.

A potential super-group…

Recommended album: Second LP (as yet untitled, unreleased) (Oyster).

Thanks to Geir Myklebust for keeping the history alive.

14 Comments to “A potential supergroup”:

  1. 1
    MacGregor says:

    The Australian tour gig in Sydney that I missed & regret deeply. Why do I keep punishing myself with that thought? Because it is a scar on my history of witnessing great rock bands at their prime! Oh well as Ned Kelly the famous Bushranger allegedly said being led to the rope, ‘such is life’!
    Well it isn’t that bad surely, although in a musical sense it is! Cheers.

  2. 2
    Ivica says:

    Rainbow born in the twilight of British hard rock, Rainbow is not just Blackmore’s ‘child’.
    Given the circumstances in which hard rock found itself at the time, and they were extremely difficult, from the breakup of Deep Purple, through the not very creative releases of Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep and most others, to the increasingly loud shouts of punk pioneers, Rainbow got a historic the opportunity to either preserve it or – bury it. And he preserved British hard rock together Thin Lizzy, UFO..until the arrival of new forces “The new wave of British heavy metal” and the last waltz he had at the first Donington from 1980.Then Ritchie went the way AOR.And here he was successful. Rainbow because of its importance, commercialism should already be in The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

  3. 3
    francis says:

    well but?

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    And I was at that gig in Munich.

    Ritchie was not only fresh out of Austrian prison for kicking a bouncer from stage (plus had chased across the Autobahn from Vienna to Munich as it was too foggy for flights), he had also heavily invested in those (then) new bangs to counter his receding hairline. No doubt to look good for me! (But to tell the truth, I preferred his previous hair style – of course with those sideburns which made him look nastier/more outlaw.)

    He played great that night, very inspired & with loads of adrenaline, plus Bob Daisley was a real asset. In hindsight the best Rainbow gig I’ve been to, including the one of the Carey/Bain line-up a year before.

  5. 5
    Mark says:

    Sorry to say MacGregor, but you missed a great show at the Horden in Sydney. Rainbow were supported by Buffalo – an early 70’s version of Electric Mary. I can still feel the rattle of my skinny ribs by way of the volume that night.
    I must say MacGregor I know how you feel. I missed DP when they played Sydney in 84 (the only tour I’ve missed) and I’m still troubled by it!
    By the way, Ned Kelly didn’t know he was going to the gallows when he said that quote – he thought he was going to an ABBA show.

  6. 6
    MacGregor says:

    @ 4 – yes I remember you saying you were at that Munich filmed concert, lucky you indeed. Also to see the Carey & Bain lineup. I believe the only tour that they played Stargazer on, if I am correct that is. That rubs the salt even further into my wounds regarding missing November 1976 in Sydney. That & knowing back then that any band with Blackmore in it was not likely to last that long, well certain lineups that is. When I missed that ’76 gig, I was worried I would not get a second chance. You reside in a part of the world where all the great bands often toured Uwe, we often missed out here in Australia. Tull used to tour here regularly back in the 70’s, one of only a few of the great bands of that era that did. Trouble was I wasn’t into Tull during the 70’s, I did catch up with them a few times later on, but that mid to late 70’s lineup was the one to see, with John Glascock on bass. A few friends of mine did, lucky sods. Cheers.

  7. 7
    MacGregor says:

    @ 5 – my older brother went to that Rainbow gig, he had just moved to Sydney. He was quite dismissive of it in many ways, although his taste in music was changing at that time to the New York Dolls, Ramones etc. I couldn’t believe that at the time, he had only been living there a month or two. I still remember him saying that Blackmore wasn’t that fast a player as he was using heaps of delay etc. From being a DP, Sabbath fan to the ‘Punk’ style bands that I mentioned, was a big change. I think he also said something about a no encore & fans trashing the seats etc. But you were there so maybe you can elaborate on that perhaps. Unless my memory is thinking of some other Rainbow gig somewhere. I sort of made up for that missed Rainbow show by seeing DP in 1984, lucky to be at the George Harrison concert plus the concert the night before. Cheers.

  8. 8
    MacGregor says:

    @ 5- I do remember Buffalo, very heavy blues based band from my memory. I also forgot to mention poor young Ned Kelly going to the Abba show gallows. It could have been worse for him, going to an Ed Sheeran gig, or the Foo Fighters perhaps. Now, now, must not get picky. Cheers.

  9. 9
    Heepfan says:

    @MacGregor – You are not alone. I was born in 1982 so there was no chance of watching Rainbow with the classic line up, but in 1996, when I was only 14 years old, Rainbow did play in Sao Paulo (Brazil) and I did ask my family to take me to the concert. Obviously they said “no” and I ended up never watching Ritchie Blackmore playing live. I don’t even like to think about it ….

  10. 10
    Mark says:

    @MacGregor – the Sydney 76 show had a few technical issues with the sound early on but I don’t recall any crowd issues. The rainbow arc lights were setup lower to the stage (due to height restrictions at the Horden) compared to overseas photos. I still have several photos I took showing the band and Ritchie smashing his guitar. I took a 400mm zoom lens into the show – you could do it back then.
    Funny how I can remember stuff about a show in 76 but nothing about the calculus I was taught at school about the same time!!
    Merry xmas to all.

  11. 11
    stoffer says:

    I was fortunate enough to see Rainbow MKII opening up for REO Speedwagon in 1978! To “almost” 😏
    everyone’s surprise they blew REO away, no small feat in the US Mid-West!! No rainbow backdrop was used since they were not the closing act 🙁

  12. 12
    MacGregor says:

    Mark @ 10 -many thanks for the information regarding your Rainbow concert, much appreciated. The days of photography & recording on a bulky cassette recorder hidden under the jumper at concerts. I knew a guy who has a plethora of live recordings from the 70’s, he used to always record concerts, many at the Horden Pavillion, allegedly. Also, that was the era when an artist could play new material live without the ‘fear’ of it being recorded & released before they officially release it. Those certainly were the days & happy days at that. I have seen online a few photos from that gig, the setlist of course & also heard some of the songs, wonderful. All the best to you. Cheers.

  13. 13
    robert says:

    Saw the band in Burbank, ca. An incredible show, no technical issues with the “rainbow” either. They played side two of “Rising” back to back (stargazer/light in the black). Sadly LITB was dropped from their set after the U.S. tour, but brought back for a few shows in Japan. I remember the band was so loud you couldn’t hear the person next to you. My brother even got a piece of Blackmore’s guitar as a souvenir! After 45 years it ranks as one of my favorite concerts. Fortunately, this show has been bootlegged so I can listen to it anytime I want.

  14. 14
    Mark says:

    @ Robert – Yes, Rainbow were a loud band. I’ve got a bootleg of the Sydney ’76 show that I went to, but like most bootlegs the sound quality is poor, I’d rate it barely half a star out of 5. But still it’s a souvenir of a great night. One amusing highlight I remember is that Blackmore smashed his guitar, threw it into the audience still connected to it’s lead, then the roadies tried to pull it back without much success.

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