RAINBOW — Down to Earth

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RAINBOW - Down to Earth cover
3.26 | 36 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1979

Filed under Hard Rock
By RAINBOW

Tracklist

1. All Night Long (3:52)
2. Eyes of the World (6:42)
3. No Time to Lose (3:44)
4. Makin' Love (4:40)
5. Since You Been Gone (3:20)
6. Love's No Friend (4:54)
7. Danger Zone (4:31)
8. Lost in Hollywood (4:50)

Total Time: 36:36

2011 Bonus Tracks on Disc 1:
9. Bad Girl (4:51) (7" single b-side)
10. Weiss Heim (5:15) (7" single b-side)

2011 Bonus Disc 2:
1. All Night Long (Instrumental Outtake) (4:43)
2. Eyes of the World (Instrumental Outtake) (6:52)
3. Spark Don't Mean a Fire (3:52)
4. Makin' Love (Instrumental Outtake) (4:46)
5. Since You Been Gone (Instrumental Outtake) (4:02)
6. Ain't a Lot of Love in the Heart of Me (5:00)
7. Danger Zone (Instrumental Outtake) (5:31)
8. Lost in Hollywood (Instrumental Outtake) (4:03)
9. Bad Girl (Instrumental Outtake) (5:04)
10. Ain't a Lot of Love in the Heart of Me (Alternate Outtake) (5:23)
11. Eyes of the World (Instrumental Outtake) (6:11)
12. All Night Long (Cozy Powell Mix) (3:54)

Total Time: 59:21

Line-up/Musicians

- Graham Bonnet / vocals
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitar
- Don Airey / keyboards
- Roger Glover / bass
- Cozy Powell / drums

About this release

Full length, Polydor, 1979.

An expanded deluxe edition released by Polydor in 2011.

Thanks to Pekka, Unitron for the updates

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RAINBOW DOWN TO EARTH reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
It’s amazing to think how quickly things moved in the 1970s in comparison to the first two decades of the 21st century. It’s nothing for bands to wait five years between albums these days but back then things were set to jet speed. Ritchie Blackmore started the 1970s with Deep Purple rising to the top and then going through several changes in the band before going solo with RAINBOW in 1975 but even with his own band never managed to keep the same lineup for any album. Luckily his prize vocalist Ronnie James Dio stuck around for the first three albums but then one day Blackmore decided to drop the swords and sorcery themes and steer the band into a more commercial arena and Dio jumped ship.

While a true blow to the band’s overall sound, Blackmore was accustomed to auditioning new members and it seems in retrospect that half of RAINBOW’s time was spent recruiting new members rather than actually playing! Before Dio split, both bassist Bob Daisley and keyboardist David Stone were fired and replaced by Clive Chaman and Don Airey but soon after Chaman didn’t workout and former Deep Purple bandmate, bassist and producer of the previous albums finally stepped up to fill in as an actual musician. The task of replacing Dio was met sensibly by finding somebody would fit in with the band’s new slicker hard rock style that was more akin to bands like Styx, Foreigner and Whitesnake. Graham Bonnet formerly of The Marbles was chosen to fit the bill and while he did a remarkable job on the band’s fourth album DOWN TO EARTH, he wouldn’t last long. This was also the last album to feature drummer Cozy Powell.

DOWN TO EARTH is very much a product of the late 1970s timeline when fantasy infused prog had all but surrendered to more immediate hard rock with more DOWN TO EARTH themes and less subterfuge in interpretation. While heavy metal would soon regain all those dark fantasy and occult themes, this speed bump in history favored songs about love, life and other banalities that resulted in partying and having a great time with your friends. For the hardcore Dio fans, this move was a slap in the face and RAINBOW lost much of its devoted fanbase but where one door closes another opens and DOWN TO EARTH did indeed to prove to be the ticket to more radio airplay and charting singles which led to the expected uptick in sales. The group’s popularity was also boosted by RAINBOW headlining the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in England.

Stylisitcally, DOWN TO EARTH fit right in with the nascent New Wave of British Heavy Metal with catchy bass grooves, infectious guitar riffs and melodic sing-along lyrics. The opening track and single “All Night Long” sounded somewhat like KISS meets Bad Company with a more pounding bass and drum drive but addictively composed with lots of catchy twists and turns. Bonnet’s vocal style proved to be the perfect answer to this new pop infused heavy rock. The other single was a cover of Russ Ballard’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” and proved to be one of RAINBOW’s biggest hits hitting the top 10 in England. Same with “All Night Long.” While no other singles were released, DOWN TO EARTH doesn’t really have any bad tracks. The diverse tracks includes a reprise of the dramatic keyboard symphonic opening on “Eyes Of The World” which also is quality single material as well as the familiar boogie shuffle on “No Time To Lose” although without Dio sounding a bit more like AC/DC or Foreigner.

“Makin’ Love” also featured exotic music scales in the vein of earlier songs like “Gates Of Babylon” only eschewing the arcane subject matter. The final three tracks are also of equal caliber thus making DOWN TO EARTH a really good specimen of heavy bluesy rock with classical crossover elements. Yeah Dio was gone but so what. Those first three albums were already about 85% the same as what is presented here only without dungeons and dragons themes and more focused on blue collar worker subject matter. Whatever the case i’m in it for the music not the poetry recitals and DOWN TO EARTH delivers the goods in the vein of many of the contemporary hard rock bands from Aerosmith and Thin Lizzy to Uriah Heep and the Scorpions only with the extra touches of keyboards. While RAINBOW may not have been reinventing the wheel in any way, Blackmore sure knew how to craft a competent collection of hard rockers that ticked off all of the boxes that made hard rock so popular during this era and while many may disagree, i really like Graham Bonnet’s vocal contributions. This is one of those i find under-appreciated by the majority.

Members reviews

SouthSideoftheSky
In the danger zone!

The career of Ritchie Blackmore was always a turbulent one, especially so in Rainbow which suffered constant line-up changes throughout its relatively short life time (though it was briefly resurrected in the 90's). For this album the line up changed once again and this time the change would have serious implications for the sound of the band. The most significant change is, of course, the loss of the great Ronnie James Dio behind the microphonewho is replaced here by Graham Bonnet. Another, perhaps surprising, change is the addition of Ritchie's old Deep Purple band mate Roger Glover to the line-up. Glover contributes not only his bass guitar skills but he also (co-)writes much of the material here as well as produces the album!

Down To Earth could be seen as something of a transitional album from the Dio-era to the Joe Lynn Turner-era. This often forgotten album falls somewhere between the two, both chronologically and in terms of value. There are still more than a few traces here of the brilliance displayed on the previous albums, and in terms of progressive nuances, Down To Earth is clearly much richer than the disastrous Joe Lynn Turner-era albums.

As is often the case, the longest track of the album is the best here. The six and a half minute Eyes Of The World features some tasteful instrumental bits and great guitar and keyboard work. The keyboards are here played by Don Airey (who also played with Colosseum II, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne and many others. He is nowadays a full time member of Deep Purple). Despite having some extremely uninspired and generic lyrics, Makin' Love also features some nice bits here and there. The same is true of Danger Zone and Lost In Hollywood which both feature inspired, but all too short instrumental breaks.

The vocals of Bonnet are far behind Dio's, but I certainly prefer Bonnet over Turner. The problem I have with this album lies in the sometimes uninspired song writing and particularly the lyrics are often really bad and full of Rock 'N' Roll clichés and cheesy lines. They even included a cover song here with Russ Ballard's Since You Been Gone, a song I absolutely cannot stand! The similar sounding All Night Long is almost equally off-putting. I usually skip these two songs on every listen and the presence of these drags the album down (to earth!) considerably. But then again, the debut and the Long Live Rock 'N' Roll albums also had some pure Rock 'N' Roll moments that were less than successful.

Still, there are enough good moments here for this to be an acceptable album. They are clearly in the "danger zone" here, but I'm giving this only two and a half stars. It would soon go horribly, horribly wrong over the subsequent couple of albums.

This one is recommended only for fans of Ritchie Blackmore in general and Rainbow in particular. But for such fans (including this reviewer) this album offers some very enjoyable moments. Beginners should, however, start with the first three albums.

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