RAINBOW — Long Live Rock 'n' Roll

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RAINBOW - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll cover
3.98 | 71 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1978

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (4:21)
2. Lady of the Lake (3:39)
3. L.A. Connection (5:02)
4. Gates of Babylon (6:49)
5. Kill the King (4:29)
6. The Shed (Subtle) (4:47)
7. Sensitive to Light (3:07)
8. Rainbow Eyes (7:11)

Total Time: 39:29


- Ritchie Blackmore / guitars, bass
- Ronnie James Dio / lead vocals
- Cozy Powell / drums, percussion
- David Stone / keyboards
- Bob Daisley / bass on "Kill the King", "Sensitive to Light" and "Gates of Babylon"
- Tony Carey / keyboards on "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" and "Lady of the Lake" [uncredited]
- Bavarian String Ensemble conducted by Rainer Pietsch on "Gates of Babylon"
- Ferenc Kiss & Nico Nicolicv / viola on "Rainbow Eyes"
- Karl Heinz Feit / cello on "Rainbow Eyes"
- Rudi Risavy & Max Hecker / flute on "Rainbow Eyes"

About this release

Release date: 9th of April 1978.
Label: Polydor

Thanks to Pekka, diamondblack, 666sharon666, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
In many ways, i’m the electron that orbits the atom in the opposite way of all the others! Many classic albums i really don’t see the hubbub about and likewise other styles of music that make others bonkers rock my world! Well such is the case with RAINBOW’s final album with Ronnie James Dio. While many herald the band’s second album “Rising” as the cream of the crop of Ritchie Blackmore’s rotating cast of musical characters, i actually find the pinnacle of the band’s musical prowess to be in the form of the band’s third album LONG LIVE ROCK ’N’ ROLL which emerged two years later after the stunningly well received live album “On Stage” sandwiched in between.

Of the eight studio albums that Blackmore released under the RAINBOW moniker, not a single one had the same lineup and LONG LIVE ROCK ’N’ ROLL was certainly no exception. This one was a bit unique in that it found bassist Bob Daisley and keyboardist Tony Carey beginning the album and then leaving the band half way through thus only contributing a few tracks each. Unable to find satisfactory bassist, Blackmore himself recorded the bass parts although Mark Clarke of Colosseum, Uriah Heep and Tempest was chosen but Blackmore hated his playing style and fired him on the spot.

Continuing the style of the previous albums of early heavy metal with bluesy guitar riffing infused with classical elements, RAINBOW pretty much followed in the footsteps of “Rising” although the subject matter was less uniform and only certain tracks were based in the realms of fantasy. The rest were much more straight forward heavy rockers with lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio’s rock god status stealing the show once again. Why this third installment of the RAINBOW universe appeals to me more than the others is that every track is at the top of its game as the band was a perfectly oiled machine at this point and although new members came and went, Blackmore cracked the whip and made his boys perform exactly as he wanted.

The album opens with three perfectly fueled anthem rockers including the title track, “Lady Of The Lake” and “L.A. Connection” which all hit the high notes of catchy melodic connections, intense rhythmic drive and impeccable musicians playing perfectly in tandem but the album really takes off on the fourth track “Gates Of Babylon” which is one of my all time favorite songs from any musical genre. The track would’ve fit in perfectly on “Rising” with its exotic musical scales, epic nature, symphonic touches and sizzlingly hot guitar solos not to mention a hard charging bass and drum backing. Same goes for the track “Kill The King” which challenges the tyranny of the world and rouses the masses to pull out the pitchforks! The track first appeared on the live album “On Stage” but came to satisfying fruition on LONG LIVE ROCK ’N’ ROLL.

“The Shed (Subtle)” and “Sensitive To Light” continue the bluesy hard rock heft in perfect fashion and the album finishes off with the band’s first slow cooker, the “ballad” so to speak. “Rainbow Eyes” reminisces of a Jimi Hendrix song at first but slowly builds into a monster ballad that finds Blackmore keeping it cool playing clean arpeggios while Dio provides his most subdued performance in all the RAINBOW years. The track is highly symphonic with lots of contrapuntal keys and four guest musicians that provide violins, viola, cello and flute making it sound a bit like a Renaissance song brought to the modern world. In some ways it’s RAINBOW’s closest thing to a “Stairway To Heaven” but never drifts into heavy rock.

While still considered a classic early heavy metal album, most fans will point to LONG LIVE ROCK ’N’ ROLL as a step down in quality but for my tastes, i actually find it a step up since “Rising” didn’t sustain what it excelled at for its entirety. While the first three albums are considered classic by today’s standards, the band didn’t really experience commercial success on the level they had hoped therefore Blackmore decided to steer the band in a more accessible direction and ditch the fantasy themes altogether which ultimately convinced Dio that it was time to move on and as we all know he would soon join Black Sabbath and replace Ozzy Osbourne and give that band a resuscitating surge in popularity. Sure, “Rising” wins for better cover art and overall visual presentation but when it comes to the compositions themselves, i much prefer this one to the other Dio led albums. Yeah i’m spinning on a different trajectory than most of you other electrons out there but hey, i still produce electricity!
Coming off the very strong Rising album, Rainbow make a slightly more commercial album this time around. Most of the material here makes for strong single material: the title-track and “L.A. Connection” at least were chosen as appropriate singles. “Lady Of The Lake” is another solid hard rock track with Dio’s voice sounding very rich during the chorus I'd place in a similar category to the tracks it's sandwiched between. A pair of tracks on the second side, “The Shed (Subtle)” and “Sensitive To Light” (my least favorite song on the album), would even make for a decent singles. These may be a bit simpler and less exploratory than some of what’s on their previous album, but it is nonetheless still strong stuff.

The remaining 3 tracks are probably what I consider to be the main highlights:

The most musically elaborate track on the album is probably “Gates of Babylon”. While still an accessible track (it too was a single), this is one of the songs that helped unleash what is often called neo-classical metal. Starting with a David Stone keyboard intro, it goes into a rather symphonic-sounding track featuring the Bavarian String Ensemble. Though their inclusion is highly notable, the track would still be powerful with their omission, as all Rainbow musicians give an energetic performance.

The most metallic track of the lot, “Kill The King”, has a great deal of power and features some blazing Richie Blackmore leads and thundering drumming by Cozy Powell. Pure energy!

Dio’s voice sounds great on album closing ballad “Rainbow Eyes”. Most people are used to hearing his pipes project over heavier tunes, but I’m often just as delighted (if not more) to hear him sing delicately. The instrumentation is different here, with the keys and rhythm section being swapped for cello, viola and flute. A non-rocker on an album titled “Long Live Rock n Roll”? It makes for a nice touch.

Excellent work that is diverse enough to please a number of different rock or metal fans.

Members reviews

At the end of the Rainbow

With this, their third album, Rainbow reverted a little bit to the sound of their debut album after having introduced some more progressive sounds on the previous album, the classic Rising. Like on that debut, there are several generic Rock 'N' Roll numbers here that are rather unimaginative and not up to par with anything the band had done up to that point.

However, there are some excellent moments here too; the Far Eastern-influenced Metal song Gates Of Babylon, the energetic and powerful Kill The King as well as the beautiful, folky/symphonic ballad Rainbow Eyes. The two former tracks have very much the sound of Rainbow Rising while Rainbow Eyes reminds of Catch The Rainbow from the debut album. Rainbow Eyes is a great ballad featuring flute and a string section and an amazing vocal performance (once again!) from Ronnie James Dio. Sadly, this was to be the last Rainbow album featuring Dio on vocals (he later turned up in Black Sabbath for two albums) and they would never again produce something that can be considered great by any means. We are here at Rainbow's end, at least the classic Rainbow.

Overall, Long Live Rock 'N' Roll is a somewhat uneven album with some great moments and some not so great moments. Still, if you enjoyed the two first albums you will definitely like this one as well. But make sure you get Rising and the debut (in that order) before you buy this one.

Good, but not really essential despite a few fantastic songs
It was never going to be easy to follow up such an undisputed masterpiece as "Rising". Therefore, no wonder Rainbow's third studio album is widely considered as a sort of poor relation, or even a half-baked effort. Personally, though I have always had quite a liking for this record, I cannot fail to recognize it is nowhere as good as its predecessor, and much less cohesive to boot. On the other hand, it does contain some tracks that rank among the band's best-ever compositions. After that, the band took a definitely more radio-friendly direction, which alienated a lot of fans (including myself).

A well-known fact about Rainbow is that they hardly ever recorded two albums in a row with the same line-up (with the exception of live albums, of course). "Long Live Rock'n'Roll" is no exception to the rule: gone are two-fifths of the line-up that recorded Rising (keyboardist Tony Carey and bassist Jimmy Bain), to be replaced respectively with David Stone and Bob Daisley (later with Ozzy Osbourne). The core members of the band are still Blackmore and iron-lunged singer Ronnie James Dio, flanked by the late, great Cozy Powell on drums. This trio of musicians share also all songwriting credits.

As a matter of fact, the main problem of LLRnR lies exactly with the songwriting: when it is good, it is really great - but when it is not, then it can be somewhat hit-and-miss. This is clearly shown by tracks like "Lady of the Lake" or "Sensitive to Light" - pleasant enough to listen to, but not on a par with the best compositions of the album. Like "Do You Close Your Eyes" on "Rising", they are generic, nondescript hard rockers; while "LA Connection" and "The Shed" share the same nature of powerful mid-tempo songs dominated by Powell's sledgehammer drumming. Dio's voice is commanding as ever, but does not get the same opportunities to shine here as it did on "Rising". Both the anthemic title-track and the fast-paced slice of proto-thrash metal that is "Kill the King" foreshadow the development of Dio's vocal style with Black Sabbath - less melody, and more of an awesome roar. Blackmore's soloing is also not as inspired here as it was on the band's previous albums, though the various live albums recorded by the band in this period tell a different story.

This leaves us with the record's only two tracks to deviate from a straightforward, hard-rock style. The Middle Eastern-tinged "Gates of Babylon" (which some have unfairly called a "Kashmir" rip-off), a sinuous, keyboard- and orchestra-driven song features a dazzling guitar solo and epic, grandiloquent vocals, very much in the same mould as "Stargazer", even if not equally impressive. The orchestra also appears as the main backing of Dio's voice (this time, soft and almost understated) on the acoustic ballad "Rainbow Eyes" - a 7-minute-plus song that is quite uncharacteristic for the band (and therefore hated by many a fan), and harks back to "Stormbringer"'s beautiful "Soldier of Fortune".

After this album, Dio would leave Rainbow to join Black Sabbath and record the magnificent "Heaven and Hell". While Powell would stick for another album (the controversial "Down to Earth"), Stone and Daisley would be replaced by two veterans of the British rock scene, former Colosseum II keyboardist Don Airey, and none other than former Purple bassist Roger Glover. The band then embarked on a path which brought them commercial acclaim, but much less musical credibility. As to LLRnR, though it is indeed a more than pleasant listen, I would hesitate to give it more than 3.5 stars - though "Gates of Babylon" and "Kill the King" alone would be worth the price of admission.

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