Hard Rock / Heavy Metal • United Kingdom
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Rainbow was a British hard rock band formed by "Deep Purple" founder and former guitarist Ritchie Blackmore in 1975. In addition to Blackmore, the band originally consisted of former "Elf" lead singer Ronnie James Dio, bassist Craig Gruber, drummer Gary Driscoll, and keyboardist Micky Lee Soule. Over the years Rainbow went through many lineup changes.

The Dio Years

The name of the band Rainbow was inspired by the "Rainbow Bar and Grill" that catered to rock stars, groupies and rock enthusiasts. It was here that Ritchie spent some of his off time from Deep Purple and met Dio, whose band Elf had toured regularly as an opening act for Deep Purple. Rainbow's debut album, "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow", was released in 1975 and featured the minor hit "Man On The Silver Mountain".

Rainbow's music was different from Deep Purple's. The music was more directly inspired by classical music and Dio wrote lyrics about medieval
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RAINBOW Discography

RAINBOW albums / top albums

RAINBOW Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow album cover 3.95 | 73 ratings
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Hard Rock 1975
RAINBOW Rising album cover 4.47 | 151 ratings
Heavy Metal 1976
RAINBOW Long Live Rock 'n' Roll album cover 3.92 | 70 ratings
Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
Heavy Metal 1978
RAINBOW Down to Earth album cover 3.21 | 34 ratings
Down to Earth
Hard Rock 1979
RAINBOW Difficult to Cure album cover 3.04 | 37 ratings
Difficult to Cure
Hard Rock 1981
RAINBOW Straight Between the Eyes album cover 2.64 | 33 ratings
Straight Between the Eyes
Hard Rock 1982
RAINBOW Bent Out of Shape album cover 3.42 | 32 ratings
Bent Out of Shape
Hard Rock 1983
RAINBOW Stranger in Us All album cover 3.58 | 24 ratings
Stranger in Us All
Hard Rock 1995

RAINBOW EPs & splits

RAINBOW Monsters of Rock album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Monsters of Rock
Heavy Metal 1980
RAINBOW Jealous Lover album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
Jealous Lover
Hard Rock 1981

RAINBOW live albums

RAINBOW On Stage album cover 4.11 | 20 ratings
On Stage
Hard Rock 1977
RAINBOW Live in Germany 1976 album cover 4.06 | 9 ratings
Live in Germany 1976
Hard Rock 1990
RAINBOW Live in Munich 1977 album cover 4.62 | 8 ratings
Live in Munich 1977
Hard Rock 2006
RAINBOW Deutschland Tournee 1976 album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Deutschland Tournee 1976
Heavy Metal 2006
RAINBOW Deutschland Tournee 1976: Kölner Sporthalle, 25.9.1976 album cover 4.10 | 5 ratings
Deutschland Tournee 1976: Kölner Sporthalle, 25.9.1976
Hard Rock 2006
RAINBOW Deutschland Tournee 1976: Düsseldorf Philipshalle, 27.9.1976 album cover 4.25 | 4 ratings
Deutschland Tournee 1976: Düsseldorf Philipshalle, 27.9.1976
Hard Rock 2006
RAINBOW Deutschland Tournee 1976: Nurnberg Messezentrum Halle, 28.9.1976 album cover 4.25 | 4 ratings
Deutschland Tournee 1976: Nurnberg Messezentrum Halle, 28.9.1976
Hard Rock 2007
RAINBOW Boston 1981 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Boston 1981
Hard Rock 2016

RAINBOW demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

RAINBOW re-issues & compilations

RAINBOW The Best of Rainbow album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
The Best of Rainbow
Hard Rock 1981
RAINBOW Finyl Vinyl album cover 3.56 | 9 ratings
Finyl Vinyl
Hard Rock 1986
RAINBOW The Best album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best
Hard Rock 1990
RAINBOW The Very Best of Rainbow album cover 4.06 | 5 ratings
The Very Best of Rainbow
Hard Rock 1997
RAINBOW The Millenium Collection album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
The Millenium Collection
Hard Rock 2000
RAINBOW Classic Rainbow album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Classic Rainbow
Hard Rock 2001
RAINBOW Pot of Gold album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Pot of Gold
Hard Rock 2002
RAINBOW Catch the Rainbow: The Anthology album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Catch the Rainbow: The Anthology
Hard Rock 2003

RAINBOW singles (5)

.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
I Surrender
Hard Rock 1981
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
Stone Cold
Hard Rock 1982
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
Can't Let You Go
Hard Rock 1983
.. Album Cover
3.25 | 2 ratings
Street of Dreams
Hard Rock 1983
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Bad Girl
Hard Rock 1986

RAINBOW movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Final Cut
Hard Rock 1985
.. Album Cover
4.17 | 2 ratings
Live Between the Eyes
Hard Rock 1999
.. Album Cover
3.17 | 2 ratings
Live at Budokan, Tokyo
Hard Rock 2006
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live Between the Eyes / The Final Cut
Hard Rock 2006
.. Album Cover
4.12 | 4 ratings
Live in Munich 1977
Hard Rock 2006
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Black Masquerade
Hard Rock 2013



Album · 1976 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
‘Rising’ was not predestined to become the 70s metal monster it became. Hell, Rainbow wasn’t even supposed to be a band.

Ritchie Blackmore was in the process of leaving Deep Purple in the early months of 1975. Deep Purple seemed to have developed a revolving door line-up, attracting stray musicians like a black hole sucking in passing planets. His initial intention was to record a solo album. In the process, he recorded a song with Ronnie James Dio and his band Elf. The result so impressed Blackmore he decided to make a band of it. Combining forces into a band called Purple Elf would have been career suicide, so Rainbow was born, the name inspired by the legendary Rainbow Bar and Grill venue. The album ‘Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow’ followed.

Blackmore reckoned the band could be better, so he sacked all the elves except Ronnie, which turned out to be an inspired move. What to do for a rhythm section? Just pull in Cozy Powell and Jimmy Bain. And what about that 70s rock staple, the keyboards? Blackmore and bassist Bain were busy auditioning possible band members while a band called Blessings was rehearsing in the studio next door. Blackmore was impressed with Blessings’ keyboard player Tony Carey, so asked him to audition. Since his own band was going nowhere fast, he joined Rainbow, and the rest, as the hoary old cliché goes, was history!

So what did the Ritchie and Ronnie collaboration come up with? Six tracks of essential 70s metal, and one of the most iconic albums in all of metal and rock, that’s what. The mists of time may have faded the impact of this album somewhat. It’s not going to blow the socks off a teenage Bring Me The Horizon fan. However, anyone with an interest in the history of metal, a love for guitar wizardry, or an ear for soaring rock vocals will love ‘Rising’.

‘Rising’ may seem a bit short, at only six tracks, and just over the half hour mark, but there is a lot packed into that space. Carey’s keyboards swirl in from the silence as an intro to “Tarot Woman”. Blackmore offers a sharp, almost industrial reply, and then Powell and Bain thunder in, and the song takes off. Dio tells his tale of fairground witchcraft. There really isn’t much more to say. The recipe is made to sound simple, but there are hidden depths, proving the execution has been anything but simple. It is vintage metal, made for metal fans, while avoiding the worst excesses of 70s progressive rock.

The introduction to “Starstruck” has had air guitarists fiddling away at nothing, and real guitarists throwing their hands up in frustration, ever since 1976. The song has a groove which was once the exclusive preserve of Deep Purple, but had been commandeered by Rainbow, and put to great use.

“Run With The Wolf” and “Do You Close Your Eyes” both have memorable metallic riffs and almost pop-metal hooks, punctuated with guitar magic and sing-along choruses.

Powell’s intro to “Stargazer” would have had drummers the world over scratching their heads as to how he did it. The song has an epic main riff, like Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, only more mystical. Dio’s fantastical lyrics and clarion call vocals soar over the mythic miasma. Blackmore also lets rip, releasing all shackles, a six string maestro at the height of his powers. His solos are technically impressive, and seethe with vitality. The song takes on further dimensions still, with the backing of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.

And then to finally nail this album to the wall, closing track "A Light in the Black" basically wrote the blueprint for power metal. Up-tempo, and hard driving, the song is also a melodic masterpiece. Keyboardist Carey and Blackmore trade licks through the song. Cozy’s kickdrums underpin the whole thing.

The pairing of Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio sounds like a match made in heaven on paper (and a bit of a mangled metaphor!), and there was no better combo at the time. However, the age old problem of creative differences reared its ugly head, leaving “Rising” as a one-off for this line-up. Dio joined Black Sabbath, and the enjoyed a lengthy solo career. Blackmore and Rainbow found commercial success with the singles “Since You’ve Been Gone” and “I Surrender”, and headlined the first Donnington Monsters of Rock festival. However, Rainbow never maintained a steady line-up, and has had periods of hiatus when Blackmore’s interests have been elsewhere.

No matter. Just be thankful “Rising” exists, as a snapshot of one of the great combos of all time.

RAINBOW Bent Out of Shape

Album · 1983 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
Whoah. I feel so out of place in regards to Richie Blackmore’s RAINBOW. I’m supposed to go ga ga over the first two albums which are deemed the most inventive and revered but personally i just don’t find those two albums very interesting. I feel RAINBOW really started getting interesting with the third Dio fronted album “Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll” but i also find the vocals of the third vocalist Joe Lynn Turner to be the most captivating for this particular style of hard rock with pop musical sensibilities. BENT OUT OF SHAPE is my favorite of the three albums which grace Joe’s vocal talents. True he sounds a lot like Lou Gramm of Foreigner (another band i’m fond of) but this album isn’t a Foreigner clone album. Despite being a lot more based in the pop rock world than earlier RAINBOW albums, i just find this to be a really satisfying album.

It all started when i heard the single “Street Of Dreams” which just floored me with the vocal skills. The song is super catchy and has some interesting lyrics. After hearing that song i tracked down this album and found that i pretty much like every track on here. The only exception is the finale “Make Your Move” which totally seems out of place after the album makes its pop rock statement end with the ambient “Snowman” which should have ended the album on a somber note. The tracks are equally compelling from the most Foreigner inspired opening track “Stranded” to the more bad boy inspired “Drinking With The Devil” bringing an AC/DC vibe to mind. Yeah, the subject matter is contrived but the music really hits me where it counts. Blackmore’s solos are nothing to the level as his best works with Deep Purple but the composition of the music is what really wins me over on this one.

There are several aspects of this album that really sink deep. First of all are Joe Lynn Turner’s flawless vocal abilities. He is able to hit all those high notes with grace and dignity that behooves a male soprano. Secondly the compositions are addictive and vary enough to keep me enthralled throughout the album’s running time with the exception of the unneeded “Make Your Move.” Thirdly, the lyrics are fairly poetic and creative for a pop rock album. Fourthly, there is an unexplainable attraction that i can’t put my finger on. Intellectually i can find many flaws with this album in comparison to every other Blackmore offering to precede it, but emotionally this album gives me goosebumps for some reason! Beyond words and explanation but true. “Street Of Dreams” will remain a favorite single song in my world until i become a decomposing corpse. Seriously. This is an album that i am clearly on an opposite spin than most but it really does resonate with me on a profound level. Go figure. We’re all freaks of nature!


Album · 1976 · Heavy Metal
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Rising was my first Rainbow album (still on vinyl), and I loved it immediately. Though Jimmy Bain on bass and vocalist Ronnie James Dio have never been the most talented musicians, and Ritchie Blackmore has proven later that he is at his best with an acoustic guitar, they somehow managed to compensate this by something they never achieved again: playing as a real band.

The most dominant feature of Rising is the intensity of the songs. It is no wonder and quite fitting that Rising contains no ballad. The six songs, however, are nowhere near similar or even monotonous. Though it is evident that Ritchie Blackmore dominated the songwriting, of course letting Dio write the lyrics, similarities to Deep Purple are subtle. Blackmore's solos sound like they always did, but that's it basically. Drummer Cozy Powell and keyboarder Tony Carey prove that they are in the same league as Iain Paice and Jon Lord. Who would have thought that Carey would later become famous for a pop ballad like Room With A View?

It is not easy to point out single songs as better or weaker, although Dio once stated in an interview that he wished A Light In The Black had never been written. I strongly disagree, as it is my second favourite song of the album. It is only surpassed by Stargazer which is the reason why I didn't write impossible at the beginning of this paragraph. Stargazer is definitely a five and a half star song with tendencies to six stars, although it never made my personal Top 10. But this is not Stargazer's fault but simply due to the even higher quality of the other songs I rated above it.

The rating for Rising is simple: 5.0 stars.

RAINBOW Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

Album · 1975 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
After the conflicting personalities in Deep Purple could no longer function together Ritchie Blackmore had enough and jumped ship to form his own band RAINBOW which on this first album has his name attached as RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW. While still in Deep Purple he toured with the band Elf which had Ronnie James Dio as the lead singer,. Basically Blackmore hit it off with Dio and stole a bunch of members of Elf to create this album. This is one of those albums that I want to like but feel a little let down by. The sound is good and all but the music is a little hit and miss. The album cover is way cool with every guitarist's dream castle in the clouds and it hints at a slightly epic kind of power metal that would eventually be invented by much later groups like Rhapsody or Angra.

On this release we get a bunch of great songs and some mediocre ones that just don't seem to fit in. A loose collection offering no unifying theme or feel. Excellent songs include the opener “Man On The Silver Mountain” and “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” and the instrumental closer “Still I'm Sad.” Most are just in the OK department for me offering too little of the neoclassical guitar playing that Ritchie Blackmore so deftly exhibited in Deep Purple. Instead he tends to trade it off for a more Hendrix-ish bluesy hard rock sound. This is fine but he takes the influences way too far as on “Catch The Rainbow” and not exactly in an original and interesting way. “If You Don't Like Rock n' Roll” totally ruins the flow of the album. It sounds more like it should be on a Doobie Brothers album or some other blues rock band. An OK album but hardly the best of his RAINBOW years.

RAINBOW Long Live Rock 'n' Roll

Album · 1978 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

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