310: RAINBOW

When Ritchie Blackmore had two songs rejected by Deep Purple he chose to record them with Elf frontman Ronnie James Dio. The experience had been such a positive one that they ultimately recorded a full album as Ritchie Blackmoreโ€™s Rainbow. This would ultimately lead to him leaving Deep Purple.

There are two specific elements of Rainbow that made them especially influential –

Firstly, Blackmore utilised classical music as an inspiration when writing music for Rainbow. He also used the cello as a unique way of writing the music. Through these methods, Blackmore helped spearhead the concept of neoclassical metal, as well as helping determine the sound of the power metal movement.

Secondly was Dioโ€™s lyrics. Rather than singing about either women and love, or the devil, Dioโ€™s focus was fantastical tales of wizards and dragons. This concept of high fantasy themes in metal became a staple of power metal that survives to this day.

After three albums, Dio left Rainbow in 1978 (we will talk more about him tomorrowโ€ฆ), and Blackmore would guide Rainbow through multiple lineup iterations until 1984 when they disbanded and he returned to Deep Purple.

Rainbow have returned a couple more times since then. Firstly in the mid-nineties, Blackmore put together an all new lineup to revive Rainbow after leaving Deep Purple again. They released an album – โ€˜Stranger In Us Allโ€˜ – and toured until 1997 before disbanding again.

Finally, after nearly 20 years, Blackmore revived Blackmore in 2016. They headlined multiple festivals and thrilled enormous crowds. Because at this point, such is the mystique surrounding the mighty Rainbow, that no matter how long he makes us wait, if Blackmore says heโ€™s coming back the faithful will gather.