RAINBOW — Long Live Rock 'n' Roll

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RAINBOW - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll cover
3.92 | 70 ratings | 3 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

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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